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This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: Adobe hacked, Cloud services for your photos, and How to Brighten Teeth - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - Adobe Hacked - Recently, attackers removed from Adobe servers certain information relating to 2.9 million Adobe customers, including customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, and other information relating to customer orders. What does this mean for Adobe customers and Cloud-based services in general?

Story #2 - Cloud Services for Your Photos - Interesting topic in light the Adobe hacked story. After lots of testing, I'm still of the belief that the best backup system is the one you set-up and forget about.

I share my experiences with Apple's Photo Stream, EverPix, and Dropbox's latest feature, automated backup of your iPhoto library.

Story #3 - Tooth Brightening in Post Production - Brightening someone's smile is one of the nice things that you can do for your subjects during image editing. For best results, a light touch is required. In the third story I share my tips for an attractive, natural smile.

And don't forget, I have an Aperture Workshop coming up on Nov. 16 and 17. Write me at derrick@thedigitalstory.com for more details.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (37 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The October 2013 photo assignment is "My House is My Castle."

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.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Podcast Sponsors

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

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to save 20% at check out.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Top shelf mirrorless cameras are tempting enthusiasts to set down their DSLRs and take notice. We've heard a lot about the Olympus OM-D E-M1, Panasonic GH3, and Sony NEX-7. Great cameras indeed, but pricy too. The E-M1 lists for $1,399 without lens, the GH3 is selling for $1,298 sans glass, and the NEX-7 is available for $1,098, body only.

If those numbers are a bit rich for your budget, here are three CSCs that have plenty of star power, but without the big price tags. They offer excellent performance and options, and cost hundreds less than the flagship models.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7

Panasonic pulled out all of the stops with the DMC-GX7, featuring a 16 MP Digital Live MOS sensor that sells for $898.

Highlight features include a 3" 1,040k-dot tilting touchscreen LCD and a 90 degree tilting 2,764k-dot EVF, all within a sleek body. Unlike most of the other G-series cameras, the GX7 includes in-body image stabilization instead of relying solely on optical IS. And we love that it has both built-in wireless and NFC connectivity. Its handsome good looks add the finishing touch to a very complete package.

Based on its design and specs, I think it's one of the most tempting Panasonics to date.

Samsung NX 300 top.jpg

Samsung NX300

The Samsung NX300 gets you a lot of resolution (and functionality) for the money. The 20.3 MP APS-C sensor delivers the goods in practically any lighting condition. The kit, which includes a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens, is selling for $799. For that reasonable price, you get more pixels than the Micro Four Thirds bodies from Olympus and Panasonic. plus a sharp, stabilized zoom lens.

I was very impressed with the image quality of the NX300. The tilting LCD adds flexibility while composing the shots. The downside is that there isn't an electronic viewfinder as with the GX7. The WiFi is easy to use and allows for both remote camera control and file transfer. But the real kicker with the NX300 is its Smart Mode that provides options similar to traditional scene modes, but on steriods. Be sure to try Beauty Face and Light Trace.

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Sony Alpha NEX-5T

Sony makes two basic flavors of their Alpha line of Compact System Cameras. A handsome lower priced model is the Alpha NEX-5T that houses a 16.1MP APS-C Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and sells for $548.

The NEX-5T includes lots of goodies such as built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, continuous shooting rate of 10 fps, tilting 3" 921.6k-dot LCD, plus fast autofocusing and high ISO performance. And if you've never experienced Sony's sweep panorama, you're in for a treat.

As with the Samsung NX300, there's no electronic viewfinder. But unlike the NX300, Sony managed to squeeze a pop-up flash into this very compact body.

Bottom Line

Among these three, I find the Panasonic GX7 the most tempting of the bunch, and it's also the most expensive (but still less than flagship counterparts). I like the tilting LCD and EVF, plus with built-in image stabilization, there's a huge catalog of lenses from Panasonic, Olympus, and independents that will perform well on this camera body.

But if you want a slightly larger sensor and save even more money, both the Samsung and the Sony are excellent options. You'll have to compose solely on the LCD, but these cameras are feature rich and provide outstanding image quality.

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Aperture Workshop Coming on Nov. 16 and 17, 2013

Want to learn Aperture in a hands on environment? My next Aperture workshop will be Nov. 16 and 17 in Santa Rosa, CA. We'll review all of the basics, plus work on portraiture (including a live model shoot), product photography, and more. Write me at derrick@thedigitalstory.com for more information and a reservation form.

Canon 70D Top View

Many enthusiast photographers wrestle with the decision whether or not to get a kit lens when purchasing a new DSLR. I think this consideration becomes even more important with the new Canon EOS 70D. Why? Because the STM lenses perform noticeably better than standard EF-S zooms on the 70D. At the top of the list is how quietly the STM lenses focus.

Today on Photo Help Desk, Craig asked if he should invest in the Canon 18-135mm STM when purchasing his new Canon 70D. His issue was that he already owns excellent glass that covers the same focal range.

Our response on Photo Help Desk was that we think the investment is a good idea, based on three reasons. So, our short answer is "yes;" add the 18-135mm STM to the kit. If you're interested in why we think this is a good idea, check out our response at Photo Help Desk. We cover this, and many other interesting topics, there every day.


PhotoHelpDesk.com is a down-to-earth resource for curious minded photographers. Submit your questions, and we'll post an answer.


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Lowepro just updated one of the most popular series of its camera bags. The new Nova Sport AW is now available in three sizes: 7L, 17L, and 35L.

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The Nova bags are designed to protect your gear in just about any situation, from a weekend trip with the family to a portrait assignment in the local park. Top features include, roomy, removable camera compartment, All Weather cover, dedicated tablet/laptop sleeve, attractive high tech fabric, and lots of pockets.

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The pricing is also attractive. The Nova Sport 7L AW lists for $59.99, the 17L AW for $79.99, and the big 35L is selling for about 110 dollars.

I really like the removable camera box approach that Lowepro is embracing for its new bags. I think it makes them even more versatile.

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


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When you think about adding a little sparkle to a portrait subject's smile, think color. By using the color controls in Aperture with brushes, you can subtly brighten teeth for a pleasing, natural smile.

The following tutorial on how to do just that is from my Portrait Retouching with Aperture on lynda.com. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to artistically brighten a smile with Aperture's retouching tools.

This is just one of the many retouching techniques I cover in Portrait Retouching with Aperture.

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

You may want to check out my other Aperture titles, including Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012), Using iPhoto and Aperture Together, and the latest, Enhancing Product Photography with Aperture. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

Aperture Workshop Coming on Nov. 16 and 17, 2013

Want to learn Aperture in a hands on environment? My next Aperture workshop will be Nov. 16 and 17 in Santa Rosa, CA. We'll review all of the basics, plus work on portraiture (including a live model shoot), product photography, and more. Write me at derrick@thedigitalstory.com for more information and a reservation form.

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 week on The Digital Story photography podcast: The new Lowepro Urban Reporter photo bag, Does the iPhone 5S camera live up to its hype?,and Ziploc bags - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Lowepro Urban Reporter 150 camera bag is my current favorite compact system camera bag, and I love the Urban Reporter 250 for my DSLR kit. Both bags have soft texture fabric exteriors, leather touch points, and metal hardware. They are light, comfortable, and wonderfully designed for the Nimble Photographer. I go into detail in today's second segment.

Camera Filters in iOS 7

Story #2 - Is the iPhone 5S camera worth getting excited about? After a week of shooting, my opinion is that the iPhone 5S camera lives up to the hype. Here's what's impressed me.

  • User interface - The powerful hardware combined with the new Camera app in iOS 7 is a winning combination. The camera is just so easy to use.
  • Slow Motion Video that really works. Not only on the iPhone itself, but you can publish it to YouTube or incorporate in iMovie projects.
  • Amazing Panoramas - The dynamic exposure panorama capability automatically calculates and adjusts exposure variations across the scene as you capture the panorama. This leads to stunning images right out of the camera.
  • True Tone Flash - the iPhone 5S sports two LEDs, one white and one amber, and they are used in varying degrees to create natural coloration under a variety of conditions. And it works.
  • Fast performance - Press the home button, swipe upward and tap the camera icon: you're ready to shoot in about a second. Focusing is fast, and burst mode is blazing. Everything happens quickly with this camera.
  • It's Fun - I know this sounds like a weird feature, but the iPhone 5S is flat out fun to shoot with. Great performance, fun features such as filters and slo mo video, and instant results.

Slow motion video capture with iPhone 5S.

No wonder compact cameras are struggling.

Story #3 - Why you should carry a Ziploc bag in your camera kit. It's probably one of your least expensive photo accessories, but it can save you in so many ways. I explain why in the third segment.

And don't forget, I have an Aperture Workshop coming up on Nov. 16 and 17. Write me at derrick@thedigitalstory.com for more details.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (37 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The October 2013 photo assignment is "My House is My Castle."

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.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Podcast Sponsors

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

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to save 20% at check out.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

For the August 2013 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters packed their cameras and hit the pavement. See for yourself in our gallery, Street Scene. And which one will be the SizzlPix Photo Assignment Pick of the Month?

Brian-Wood-Koiwa-pa-08-13

Photo by Brian Wood-Koiwa. "I took it from my apartment balcony near Shinjuku, Tokyo," wrote Brian. "I wanted to play with long exposure using the EOS Remote iPhone app to make the street down below (a normally very busy street during the day) look empty. The elevated expressway was actually quite quiet." See all of the great images from this month's assignment by visiting the Street Scene gallery page.


Participate in This Month's Assignment

The Oct. 2013 assignment is "My House Is My Castle." Details can be found on the Member Participation page. Deadline is Oct. 31, 2013. No limit on image size submitted.

Please follow the instructions carefully for labeling the subject line of the email for your submission. It's easy to lose these in the pile of mail if not labeled correctly. For example, the subject line for this month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: Oct. 2013." Also, if you can, please don't strip out the metadata. And feel free to add any IPTC data you wish (These fields in particular: Caption, Credit, Copyright, Byline), I use that for the caption info.

Gallery posting is one month behind the deadline. So I'm posting August 2013 at the end of Sept., the Sept. gallery will be posted at the end of Oct., and on and on.

Good luck with your October assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for August.


Want to Comment on this Post?

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


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

ct-photography-seminar

If you love nature photography, check out this lineup for the upcoming seminar by c't Photography on Oct. 19 in Santa Monica, CA. Not one, not two, but four amazing photographers will be presenting - Ralph Clevenger, George Lepp, Tim Mathiesen, and Ian Shive. These guys know their stuff, and they will share their knowledge freely with you.

Now here's the best part, I can get you in the door for $139. That includes a full day of instruction, lunch, and a one year subscription to c't Photography (that's worth $49 alone). Here's how to get the discount, contact Devon Bell at 805-687-2208, or write her at devon@rockynook.com, and tell her that Derrick tipped you off to this deal.

Nature Photography Seminar

The event will be held at the Doubletree Suites Santa Monica, 1707 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA, and will run from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, Oct. 19. Each photographer has prepared a presentation.

  • Lighting Creatively: The Path to Seeing - Ralph Clevenger
  • In Search of Sharpness: Maximizing the Creative Power of Depth of Field - George Lepp
  • Stitching Your Way to Beautiful Panoramas - Tim Mathiesen
  • Learning to Edit Your Photographs - Ian Shive w/ JP Harrison

If you're in the Southern California area the weekend of Oct. 19, then I would definitely sign up for this event. Remember, to get the discount, you have to contact Devon directly. And if you do attend, please let me know how it went for you.


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

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

I've been testing the Lowepro Urban Reporter Camera Bag for over a month, and it has become my favorite shoulder bag of all time. That's high praise indeed. And for very good reasons.

Lowepro Urban Reporter 150 with Olympus OM-D E-M1 The Urban Reporter 150 accompanied me to San Francisco for a sneak peek of the Olympus OM-D EM1 in August 2013. Photo by Derrick Story.

This is a bag that you want to touch. The exterior fabric combines the feel of fine clothing with the durability of a high tech weave. It feels wonderful against the body. The experience is further enhanced with leather touch points, metal hardware and secure snap buttons. There is not one loop of velcro on the Urban Reporter itself (but the removable insert does have a bit of hook and loop - more on that later).

There are Four pockets on the exterior of the bag. The "snap open" side pockets are good for small accessories and sunglasses. You can close the snaps with one hand... well thought out indeed. The back document pocket doubles as a trolly sleeve when unzipped from the bottom. And the front zippered organizer area is perfect for headphones, business cards, filters, and cables.

Lowepro Urban Reporter Front Pocket

Inside the main compartment is a removable camera insert. This is an important feature. You can use the supplied insert for your camera gear, or remove it and design your own interior with other inserts, individual lens cases, or however you wish. I'll cover alternative packing configurations in a future post.

The Urban Reporter 150 includes a dedicated iPad sleeve inside the main compartment. And the Reporter 250 accommodates a 13" laptop in its sleeve. If you want to go big, the Reporter 350 can handle a 15" laptop. I've been using the 150 and 250 for my work. My everyday bag is the 150.

Urban Reporter Snap

So why do I like the Urban Reporter so much? It's discreet, stylish, functional, and feels great. I've very much enjoying "real hardware" - metal buttons and leather pulls.

My "go with me everywhere all the time" kit is the Reporter 150 with an iPad, OM-D E-M5, and a few lenses. I use the Reporter 250 with the Canon 70D, 3 lenses, and the MacBook Air. I'm comfortable with it at home, in the office, at Starbucks, and meeting with clients. It's a great shoulder bag for urban dwelling nimble photographers.

You can learn more about the Urban Reporter on the dedicated Lowepro features page. I've found the best price for it at Amazon.com. I'll have more to share in future posts.


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

5 Cool Things to Do with Your Old iPhone

If you decide not to take advantage of Apple's trade in program for your old iPhone, there are plenty of fun tasks for this device. After all, everything but the cellular still works. By any measurement, an iPhone 4 or 4S is still an amazing portable computer.

iPhone 4S Camera

I have an iPhone 4S, and here are some of the things I'll be using it for now to complement my new iPhone 5S.

Use an iPhone an an External Flash

By downloading the free app, External Flash, you can use the LED light on the old iPhone as a fill flash. This can be particularly handy for portraits where you hold the second iPhone up high pointing down at the subject to highlight the hair.

Set Up a Remote Surveillance Camera

I've been testing a nifty app called AirBeam ($3.99) for remote photography. Load the app on to both devices, then you can use the camera from one iPhone to remotely send video to the other. I wrote about AirBeam originally in conjunction with the Galileo robotic stand.

Use as an Audio Recording Device

The iPhone is an excellent audio recording device, especially when outfitted with a high quality mic such as the Rode iXY. You don't have to worry about draining the battery of your primary iPhone during interviews and other extended recordings. And for video, you can put the audio recorder closer to the source for better quality, then substitute the audio track in post production.

Remote Release for Your Digital Camera

I use Triggertrap as a remote release for my cameras and as a high speed trigger for my flash. The app is free, and all you have to do is purchase the appropriate dongle for your camera. In my opinion, Triggertrap is as good as a remote release as you'll find anywhere.

Unlock Your Old iPhone for Travel Abroad

Once you've upgraded to your new iPhone, your cellular carrier will allow you to unlock the previous model. In my case, I apply to AT&T via its online web form to unlock my iPhone 4S.

Once you've done this, you can purchase SIM cards in other countries while traveling, allowing you to have a local phone number and the best rates possible.

Bottom Line: Previous Model iPhones Are Very Useful Devices

If none of these applications interest you, then I would trade in your older iPhone and let someone else put it to use. But if you're like me, my iPhone 4S is going to be busy for months to come... right there in my camera bag, ready to work.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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