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In addition to the Polaroids I want to digitize, I have lots of snapshots that I'd like to share online. I haven't done much of that in the past because, quite honestly, it was just too much hassle. But now, I have a simple workflow using my iPhone and Photos, that has changed all of that.

Chris Polaroid Portrait.jpg "Chris" by Derrick Story with a Polaroid MiniPortrait 203 Passport Camera.

First, I scan the print with the iPhone 6S and the Unfade app for iOS. This gives me an excellent source file that is semi-corrected too.

The image is automatically saved to my iCloud account, so it's there waiting for me on my Mac. I open it in Photos for OS X and apply the Enhance tool in the Edit menu. If I need to do more, I can use one of my favorite Editing Extensions such as Pixelmator Retouch or BeFunky.

The adjusted image is saved back to iCloud and is available on all of my iOS and Mac OS X devices. From there, I can share at will. The entire process takes about 5 minutes.

Do You Like Film?

Take a look at theAnalogstory - Film Photography in the Digital Age. We cover great 35mm cameras, personal stories from film photographers, quick tips, and even a camera shop. Stop by, won't you?

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Apple Photos Book Cover.jpg

Do you think that Photos for OS X is some lightweight app just for iPhone-toting snapshooters? You're wrong. And I explain why in my latest guide, The Apple Photos Book for Photographers.

Photos for OS X has two things that neither Aperture nor iPhoto ever had: Amazing iCloud integration and a far more sophisticated architecture for third party software.

Let's address the later first. I'm not talking about roundtripping. Editing Extensions don't require creating bulky Tiff files to send to outside applications. You stay within the Photos ecosystem when applying advanced techniques such as HDR, B&W, skin softening, etc., even to the point that you can undo the changes from the editing extensions in Photos itself. You can even see the before and after in your Photos editing environment.

As for iCloud integration, it's amazing. Work on an image in Photos for OS X or Photos for iOS, and the changes are propagated to the other devices automatically. Backup is handled for you. The flexibility and response time is incredible.

So how do you take features like this and integrate them into a photography workflow? That's just one of the many topics I address for photographers in this book.

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So who is this for? Any shooter who likes the Apple ecosystem, wants powerful simplicity in their software, and enjoys using tools designed by great developers such as Macphun, DxO, and Affinity.

The Apple Photos Book for Photographers takes you on a journey into the world of photography like you've never read in a software guide before. I open chapters with anecdotes about my experiences as they pertain to the subject at hand. I cover the tools and techniques that help you simplify your workflow without giving up craftsmanship or creativity. You're going to love this ride.

We're releasing the eBook version right now. And you can get it for only $15 if you use Coupon Code APPLE15 at checkout. The print book will be out later this year. Start your journey now and explore what Photos for OS X can do for your photography.

Sunny 16 Rule for Fast Response

When I'm out exploring the world on my bike, I always have a camera with me. And if I'm shooting film, I tend to set the exposure using the Sunny 16 Rule to enable quick captures of the life rushing by me. (I use this for digital cameras too. More on that later.)

firetruck-in-action.jpg "Firetruck" - Captured with a Pentax ME Super and a Pentax 35-70mm zoom lens, Fujicolor 200 film. Photo by Derrick Story.

Case in point is the firetruck shot. I heard the siren approaching. I pulled off to the side, put the camera to my eye, and pressed the shutter. All of this in a manner of seconds without any time to make an adjustment.

Shooting with ISO 200 film, I had the shutter speed set to 1/500th of a second with the aperture at f/11 - my version of Sunny 16. Then I don't have to worry about the light meter being fooled or the camera delaying the capture in any way.

The Sunny 16 Rule is shutter speed set to the film ISO, aperture set to f/16, in bright sunny conditions. As lighting changes, you can adjust either the aperture or shutter speed keeping in mind that one full f/stop equals one full shutter speed, equals one full ISO setting.

For this shot with the Pentax, Sunny 16 would dictate 1/250th at f/16 with the Fujicolor 200 film loaded. If I open up the aperture one stop to f/11, then all I have to do is increase the shutter speed one full setting to 1/500th.

The interesting thing about Sunny 16 is that it gives your images, whether captured on film or digitally, a different look. The blacks are black and the whites are white. Light meters analyze scenes and often try to preserve shadows or prevent highlights from blowing out. Sunny 16 just lets everything fall where it will. You'll notice it. And you can try it today with your digital camera.

The other thing about it, regardless of what medium you're using for capture, is that it puts you in touch with reading light. Suddenly you're thinking about luminance in a more focused way. It's a great way to sharpen your skills. See what you think...

Do You Like Film?

Take a look at theAnalogstory - Film Photography in the Digital Age. We cover great 35mm cameras, personal stories from film photographers, quick tips, and even a camera shop. Stop by, won't you?

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #534, May 31, 2016. Today's theme is "Your Go-To Portrait Set Up." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

I just joined Linkedin a couple weeks ago as part of my work with lynda.com. I love the site and seeing what former co-workers are up to. One thing about it that has made me smile is how many of my portraits are being used as profile shots. Many of these were done with my "Go-To Set Up." And that's what I'm going to lead off with today.

Your Go-To Portrait Set Up

Many of the portrait shoots that I do are for friends, co-workers, and business associates. Often, these are not formal affairs. The subject feels like he or she is having a good hair day and likes the attire they are wearing, and the timing is good for a headshot.

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As a result of these requests over the years, I've developed a quick go-to approach that can accomplish the task in about 10 minutes, but yield excellent results. I thought that I'd share my approach with you today, so you can create your own. Believe me, you'll use it often.

  • Camera and Lens: My favorite combination is the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO ($1,399) mounted on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. If that lens isn't in my bag at the moment, anything between 90mm and 150mm will work great.
  • Fill Light: I've really taken a liking to the 32" ExpoImaging Rogue Collapsible 2-in-1 Reflector. The white side reflects a soft, natural light, and the silver is the best silver coating I've seen: not too hot, but adds a good sparkle. If you don't have an extra set of hands to hold the reflector, you can have the subject do so since this is a head shot. Pay attention to the position of the shoulders if you go this route.
  • RAW+Jpeg: I consider this an essential part of the shoot, especially for women over 40. Why, because I use the Soft Focus Art Filter on the OM-D. That gives me a Jpeg with the effect applied, and if it doesn't work, I use the RAW file. BTW: set the Art Filter through the Super Control Panel using Picture Mode. This approach gives you far more control.
  • Hair Light: Typically, I find a spot outside in open shade. I like to position the subject so some light is falling on the hair, using the reflector to fill in face. Hair lighting adds a real professional touch to the image.
  • Body Language: Remind the subject to keep their weight on one foot of the other, never flat-footed. Encourage them to stand straight with good posture. If possible, have the arms slightly bent at their sides. And position them so their body is facing off-camera with their head turned toward the lens.
  • Post Processing and Delivery: Make sure the white balance is a pleasing skin tone. Don't over edit the photo. You want the person to look like themselves, but on a good day. If you do go with the softening filter, sharpen the image back up in post with clarity and edge sharpening. You'll still get the benefits of the filter without the image looking overdone. Deliver a handful of favorites online and let them download the ones they like.

In the News

How to Figure Out What Light Modifier To Use as reported by the Phoblographer.

Many photographers just getting into working with light specifically are often very confused about what light modifiers to use. But they're also never quite sure what they should use for the type of work that they're doing. The true answer is that everyone is making good stuff these days and that very few people will be able to look at an image and immediately tell what light modifiers you're using in the same way that they won't be able to tell your camera, lens, etc for the most part. Instead, it's all about the type of photo that you're trying to create.

Gear We Love

I've been testing the Think Tank Retrospective 7 for my urban shooting, and here's what I're liking about it.

  • Size - It's big enough for any of my mirrorless kits without creating a nuisance in crowded environments.
  • Materials and Design - Love the fabric and craftsmanship.
  • Collapsable but Sturdy - It really holds its shape well in use. But the bottom panel folds upward so I can pack the Retrospective in my suitcase for travel. This is the bag I'll be using for my Photo Walks at the Out of Chicago Conference next month.
  • Great Pocket Organization - The double front pocket arrangement is amazing, but all of them are spot on.
  • Sound Silencer System - To velcro or not, the choice is yours!
  • I have a Think Tank Photo tile on all the pages of The Digital Story. If you go over there to look, please use the link I provide in the article, or the advertising tile. All TDS listeners will receive a free gift with their order and free shipping.

    Updates and Such

    Coming Soon: The Apple Photos Book for Photographers

    I've been working on a guide to Photos for OS X that's written for photographers who want to use this application at a high level. I cover workflow, iCloud integration, and editing... at the enthusiast level.

    We're releasing the eBook version soon, then will go to print after Apple announces its updates to the app at WWDC. This is an exciting, ongoing project that I think you'll want to be a part of. And you can join me every step of the way via the signup page we've created. This is going to be fun...

    And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

    See you next week!

    More Ways to Participate

    Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

    Podcast Sponsors

    Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

    MacPaw Creators of CleanMyMac 3 and other great software for Apple computers. Visit www.macpaw.com today.

    The Nimbleosity Report

    Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

    Want to Comment on this Post?

    You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Have you been waiting for great prices on a new mirrorless camera? Olympus has just announced their Summer Sale, and you can save between $100 and $200 on a great body.

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Here's how it shakes out...

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II drops from $1,099 to $899 for a limited time during the sale.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 also drops $200 to $899. This is a great camera, but my word of caution is that I think it's soon to be replaced by the Mark II. So if you want the latest and greatest, you may want to wait and see what happens with this model.

And finally, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II drops $100 to $549.

These are all body-only prices, but it looks like there are really good lens bundle options that reflect the same degree of savings. So if you need an optic too, I'd look into those.

In terms of what cameras are going to get refreshed next, my guess is that we'll see a new E-M1 Mark II before the end of the year. After that, a possible E-M5 Mark III in 2017, but that's no sure thing because the Mark II is so good. And I don't think we'll see an immediate refresh on the E-M10 either, at least not in 2016.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

unfade-logo.png

I have my share of old family prints that I'd like to digitize. So I decided to give Unfade for iOS ($4.99) a test with my iPhone 6S. It's easy to use and does a reasonable job of helping us move prints from the shoebox to our favorite social network site.

For the first image, I captured the shot using the built-in camera app for the iPhone. The second image was recorded with Unfade. No additional retouching was applied to either shot. This is how they came out of the camera.

Straight Capture with iPhone 6S

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Unfade Capture Using iPhone 6S

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By the way, that's me in the lower right corner with the mustache.

Unfade did remove some of the magenta tint and improved the overall skin tones. Plus it automatically cropped the image for me. The app is easy to use and allows for sharing via the usual suspects, including your Camera Roll and social network sites.

Is it a good investment for $4.99? I'll leave that to you. But I'm glad I have it, and I will probably use it regularly for quick scans of old photos.

Do You Like Film?

Take a look at theAnalogstory - Film Photography in the Digital Age. We cover great 35mm cameras, personal stories from film photographers, quick tips, and even a camera shop. Stop by, won't you?

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

I've just finished testing Aurora HDR Pro 1.2.2 standalone app and Editing Extension for Photos for OS X, and this version includes some terrific enhancements plus additional RAW compatibility.

Red-Tractor-1024.jpg "Red Tractor" - Captured with an iPhone 6S and processed in Photos for OS X using its editing tools and Aurora HDR Pro Editing Extension. Image by Derrick Story.

One of my favorite improvements is the ability to sync Favorite presets between Aurora HDR Pro standalone and the Aurora HDR Pro Editing Extension. Very nice. The RAW compatibility for new cameras includes:

  • Canon 80D, 1300D, 1DX MkII
  • Leica M (Typ 262)
  • Nikon D5
  • Olympus Pen F, SH-3
  • Panasonic DMC-GX80/85, DMC-TZ80/81/85/ZS60, DMC-TZ100/101/ZS100
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 (SM-G935F)
  • Sony ILCA-68, ILCE-6300, RX1R II, RX10 III
  • DxO ONE Digital Camera
  • Fujifilm X-Pro2

hdr-pro-tractor.jpg To complement all of the powerful slider tools, there are dozens of presets to help you get your image on the right track.

Aurora HDR Pro is a wonderful Editing Extension for Photos for OS X. In addition to being a robust HDR processor, the software includes many advanced sliders such as Top & Bottom Lighting, Tone Curve, Layer Control, and Denoise. Plus, it features seven categories of presets, which is a great way to figure out the starting point for your editing.

You can get $10 Off Aurora HDR Pro plus receive $90 worth of bonuses here.

Master Photos for OS X

(It's More Powerful than You Think)

For hands-on tutorials, be sure to take a look at Photos for OS X Essential Training on lynda.com. I cover everything you need to know to get the most from this surprisingly powerful image management application.

More Help and Insights on Photos for OS X

Don't forget about the Photos for OS X Special Feature Section on The Digital Story. It's a roundup of tutorials, videos, and articles focused on helping you master Apple's latest photo management software. You can also find it under Photography in the top nav bar.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #533, May 24, 2016. Today's theme is "7 Lenses for 7 Years." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

In the Spring of 2009, I joined a handful of photographers in New York City to test a new type of camera: the Olympus PEN E-P1. It was the first mirrorless interchangeable lens body I'd ever seen, and I knew then that this camera was the beginning of something big. Now, seven years later, mirrorless photography has earned a rightful place among the most popular cameras of 2016. And to celebrate this success, I'm going to discuss seven of my favorite mirrorless lenses on today's show.

7 Lenses for 7 Years

7-lenses.jpg

I knew I was going to like mirrorless cameras, but what has surprised me is how good the lenses are. Here are seven of my favorites.

  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO ($1,399) - With an effective focal length of 80-300mm and a maximum aperture of f/2.8, this is one of the best lenses I've ever used. It's fast, sharp, colorful, and far less weight than its DSLR counterparts.
  • Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 II ASPH ($297) - For a lot of photographers, this is the default optic they leave on their camera. And for good reason. This pancake prime takes up very little room, yet delivers big results... and with a maximum aperture of f/1.7. Wow.
  • Fujifilm XF 35mm f/2 R WR ($299) - I think this prime is a steal for Fujifilm owners. It's effective focal length is 53mm with a fast f/2.0 aperture. Plus it is weather resistant, has 9 aperture blades, an aperture ring, and nano lens coating. What's not to like?
  • Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 Lens (Sony E-Mount) ($720) - With an effective focal length of 48mm, this incredibly sharp optic will help you see the true quality of your Sony sensor. And those Zeiss optical coatings are still the secret sauce of photography.
  • Olympus 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ ($249) This is a true pancake zoom, and I have come to love it more each time I use it. I think the optical quality is very good, and combined with a fast prime, such as the Panasonic 20mm pancake, you have a lot of capability for a reasonable investment.
  • Fujinon XF 16mm F1.4 R WR ($699) - Here's an optic that provides 24mm of effective focal length at f/1.4 that's weather resistant and has 9 aperture blades and nano coating. This is a serious wide angle lens.
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH ($597) - One of the first premium lenses that I bought for my OM-D, and still one of my favorites. Aside from being the fastest optic I own at f/1.4, it's one of the sharpest with amazing contrast. Plus, I love what it can do with soft backgrounds. It's just a beautiful optic.

So, seven years ago it was the nimble camera bodies that hooked me. But the amazing catalog of lenses is what's kept me happy. And as we know, it's the optics that we end up treasuring for years.

In the News

How Drones Are Being Used to Help Stop Poaching as reported by fStoppers.

Tsavo, a region in Kenya, contains the world's largest elephant population, and thus, it is a prime target both for poachers and conservationists. Nonetheless, policing the 8,150-square-mile area is a daunting task. With some clever math and the help of drones, though, Penn State University researchers are helping to make that task much easier.

Once these areas were identified, drones could be programmed to fly mathematically efficient paths to monitor the areas. This not only allowed for more effective patrol of the areas, but it also reduced the risk to conservationists by preventing them from having to physically patrol the areas and risk confrontation with poachers. It's also far cheaper than using helicopters.

Shop Talk

Comments from members of our community posted on theTDS Facebook Page. Here's a thought from last week's Finding Your Place podcast:

Christopher wrote: "Really appreciated this episode Derrick. Your experience clearly touched on something many of us resonate with. Listening to some of your backstory was truly fascinating for me. I'm currently working in the marketing/communication arm of a healthcare system in Portland, and using that opportunity to hone my storytelling and creative skills. I've even been able to start a weekly podcast for our company. As you described, I'm not completely sold that this is the thing I want to do for the rest of my life (though the safety net and benefits of a full time job are very nice), but I enjoy coming to work and knowing that at least part of my day will be spent using and developing skills in the things I'm passionate about. Hopefully I'll be ready when the next opportunity comes along."

Thanks to everyone who contributed a comment. I so enjoy reading what you have to say.

Zeiss 50mm SLR Lens on Mirrorless for Silky Macros

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Talk about a beautiful convergence of the analog and digital worlds. For my morning photo shoot, I mounted a Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 (Contax/Yashica mount) on to an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and added a Contax 13mm close-up ring in-between to photograph flowers around my studio. You can read more about it here.

A Word About Buying New Gear

If you plan on making an online purchase, please consider clicking on our Amazon Link or the B&H Photo Link first, then navigation to the item you're looking for. By doing so, you help support this podcast, and it doesn't cost you a dime. Much thanks!

Updates and Such

Coming Soon: The Apple Photos Book for Photographers

I've been working on a guide to Photos for OS X that's written for photographers who want to use this application at a high level. I cover workflow, iCloud integration, and editing... at the enthusiast level.

We're releasing the eBook version soon, then will go to print after Apple announces its updates to the app at WWDC. This is an exciting, ongoing project that I think you'll want to be a part of. And you can join me every step of the way via the signup page we've created. This is going to be fun...

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

ImageFramer Take your photos to the next level with ImageFramer. Visit www.apparentsoft.com today.

MacPaw Creators of CleanMyMac 3 and other great software for Apple computers. Visit www.macpaw.com today.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

share-flickr.jpg

Having the ability to store all of our images using the 1 TB of free disc space available in Flickr, it's only natural that we'd want to share some of those images too. You can easily mark a single shot, or a group of images, to share, regardless if they are public or private.

I often keep pictures from a portrait shoot private (Camera Roll only) in Flickr, then send the proofs to the subject for approval. Once they've indicated the shots they like, I can mark those as public for the world to enjoy.

Here's a short movie that shows you how you can be in complete control of your sharing via Flickr.

If the movie doesn't load in your browser, you can link to it here for viewing.


More Flickr Tips and Techniques

Sharing Photos with Flickr is a deep dive into this venerable online photography platform, focusing on how to best use its tools with a Mac or Windows computer. I show you how to configure Flickr to automatically backup your images, organize them, and share your favorites with friends, family, and the entire online universe. This training will show you how to best take advantage of Flickr's 1TB of free online storage and its comprehensive set of imaging tools.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Talk about a beautiful convergence of the analog and digital worlds. For my morning photo shoot, I mounted a Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 (Contax/Yashica mount) on to an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and added a Contax 13mm close-up ring in-between to photograph flowers around my studio.

Dancing Ladies

I wanted two things from this shoot: as shallow depth of field as possible and no tripod. I got both with this combination. The Zeiss 50mm is one of my favorite optics to adapt to the OM-Ds. I've been using a Rayqual Mount Adapter to fit my Zeiss primes on to the Olympus digital bodies. The system works great thanks to the amazing image stabilization in the OM-Ds. I set the aperture on the lens, put the mode dial in the "A" position, and start shooting. It's that easy.

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The OM-D provides the correct meter reading and image stabilization. Plus, I have the EXIF metadata for everything but the aperture setting, which I mentally note, then add later. I then load the RAW files into Capture One Pro for a little fine-tuning, then output.

Meeting Standout

The reason why I like this approach, is because I want to create images that have a painterly feel to them, and this convergence of analog and digital provides just that.

Get Your Analog On!

Stop by the for all things film, SLR, Polaroid, and rangefinder. It's a blast from the past.