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For a lot of us, myself included, it's that time of year when we celebrate a scholastic achievement by attending a graduation ceremony for a loved one. If you want to capture the event for posterity, I have three tips.

Graduation 2014 - Friday 25 July Photo by Leeds Beckett University on Flickr. Example of a horizontal shot that can be easily integrated with video footage.

  • Think video and still photography. Because most ceremonies are big affairs, chances are slim that you'll get close to the stage. Plus, catching the decisive moment during diploma handoff is even tougher. I recommend that you record short video clips during the ceremony, allowing you to capture audio and ambiance. Then switch to stills afterward for the portraits (where you'll have more control).
  • cap-and-diploma.jpg

  • Take portraits directly after the ceremony. There's always lots of excitement once the formal part of the event concludes, and this is a great time to take individual portraits and small group shots. Be ready to work quickly. Don't forget candids, they'll come in handy later. Fill flash will help you tame harsh light.
  • Shoot horizontal portraits. We tend to compose vertically for individual portraits, but remind yourself to shoot horizontally too. Why? Well, because you have video capture from the ceremony. In post production, you can combine the video, audio, and horizontal images into a memorable, shareable movie. Don't be afraid to use a little Ken Burns effect for those stills.

Follow these tips, enjoy the event, and honor the achievements of those are graduating... and you'll have a great day and some lovely memories.

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Line art by Liz Aragon.

Apple has provided a migration path to Photos for OS X for Aperture and iPhoto users. The path does have a twist or two. In this movie from my title, Up and Running with Photos for OS X, I show you a few of the options for making the move from your existing photo management app to the latest option for those running Yosemite on their Macs.

Get Up and Running with Photos for OS X

Want to learn the ins and outs of Apple's latest photo management application? Then take a look at my latest online video training, Up and Running with Photos for OS X. Soon, both you, and your pictures, will be comfortable in their new home.


Previous Articles on Photos for OS X

How to Switch to RAW Files in Photos for OS X.

How to Open an Aperture or iPhoto Library in Photos for OS X.

Want to learn the ins and outs of Apple's latest photo management software, then take a look at my Up and Running with Photos for OS X title, just released by

I provide tips and techniques for image editing, exporting, sharing, cloud storage, and making the transition from Aperture or iPhoto. In just a short time, you (and your pictures) will be comfortable in their new home.

image-edit-photos.jpg Lean how to use all of the image editing tools in Photos for OS X.

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Half Off Subscription Offer

There are only a few days left to celebrate National Photo Month, which means that the special offer for c't Digital Photography Magazine ends soon.

As part of the celebration, c't Digital Photography is offering its biggest discount of the year - 50 percent off newsstand price (through Sunday, May 31). This is the lowest price ever for the best enthusiast photography magazine.


Plus, by taking advantage of this offer, you'll receive the new Summer Edition well before it arrives on the newsstands. With in-depth articles on perfect posing, RAW converters (that are better than Lightroom), mirrorless and happy, and much more, you might even feel a little guilty about saving all that money.

Since the early days of physically putting a graduated neutral density filter over my camera lens, I've liked the concept. To balance the intensity of a bright sky with a subtle toned foreground is exactly what I wanted for my landscape photography. The problem was those pesky objects pushing up past the horizon line into the sky. They too were "graduated."

hero-filter-brush.jpg I wanted the effect of a graduated filter on this lovely sky, but certainly not on the castle. I used the Filter Brush to exclude the castle from the graduated screen. Photo by Derrick Story.

Adobe has solved this problem for us with the new Filter Brush that's part of the Lightroom CC and Lightroom 6 release. Now we can pull down a graduated screen on the sky, then exclude objects affected by it with the brush.


If you haven't played with this new tool yet, I've written a brief tutorial titled, Lightroom's Filter Brush over at c't Digital Photography Magazine. Take a look!

A note from the publisher of c't Digital Photography Magazine: May is National Photo Month, and to celebrate c't Digital Photography is offering its biggest discount of the year - 50 percent off newsstand price (for a limited time).

This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Dropbox and Carousel for Photographers, Wrist Strap vs. Neck Strap, Do You Have DSL-ARM? Epson P600 Review - all of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - "Fight DSL-ARM with a New Olympus Micro Four Thirds Body". Intense research and product development have led to the cure for DSL-ARM - the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Capture amazing images without the bulk and weight of a DSLR. Don't you think you've suffered long enough? You can combat DSL-ARM and enter to win a new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II by visiting the DSL-ARM Symptoms page.

In other news... "Adobe Calling It Quits on Photoshop Touch" Petapixel reports: "After a three year run, Adobe is retiring Photoshop Touch, its current horse in the mobile photo editing race. The company announced today that the iOS and Android app will be removed from app stores on May 28th. The software will still be usable on your device if you've downloaded it already, of course, but there will be no further updates." That doesn't mean that Adobe is bowing out of this space. They're working on a new, more focused app that we should hear about before the end of the year.

Story #1 - "Dropbox's Carousel Is Coming of Age" - Dropbox has steadily been improving its tools for photographers. The $99 annual plan with 1TB of space is far more useful than the free storage that Flickr is giving away. In part, you can do so much more with Dropbox, and its integration into your workflow across devices is exceptional. And now that its photographer-friendly interface, Carousel, is maturing, Dropbox presents a compelling argument to photographers seeking cloud backup and sharing.

Story #2 - "Wrist Strap vs Neck Strap" - Mirrorless photography has changed so many things for me. But one area where it has introduced a dilemma is the choice between using a neck strap or a wrist strap. I explain in the second story on today's show.

Story #3 - "Dates Set for the Moving from Aperture to Photos or Lightroom" - The 2-day workshop begins Friday, August 7 and ends on Saturday August 8, 2015. If you want a reservation form, visit TDS Workshops Page and use the Send Me Info form. This workshop is listed in the popup menu.

Story #4 - From the Screening Room - Portrait Project: Fixing a Distracting Background with Chris Orwig. Chris loves portrait photography. And as such, he's encounter just about every challenge imaginable, including distracting backgrounds. He draws from his experiences in this terrific title.

You can watch Chris in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Chris' movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Virtual Camera Club News


Red River Paper Reviews the New Epson SureColor P600. My favorite reviewers of inkjet printers have spent some time with Epson's latest photo printer. They've posted their review, in large part comparing it to the excellent Epson R3000. If you're in the market for a new 13" photo printer, you've got to check this out.

News from SizzlPix! Last week for the TDS exclusive 5K Ultra High Definition SizzlPix. Only TDS listeners and readers can get the new 5k in time for June weddings, anniversaries, Fathers Day, graduations and birthdays. Just write TDS or The Digital Story in the comments field, and your order will be upgraded for free.

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on That helps support the site.

Download the Show - MP3 Version

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (31 minutes - MP3 version). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

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 - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at

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

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good.

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Still trying to figure out how to migrate from Aperture? We can help.

On August 7 and 8, I'm leading the "Moving from Aperture to Lightroom or Photos" Workshop at the TDS Studio in Santa Rosa, CA. Over the course of two days, we'll explore the best options for your photo management workflow. Here's the preliminary schedule.

Fri. August 7
8:00 am - Doors open at TDS Studio
8:30 am - Opening remarks and introductions
9:30 am - The State of Aperture
10:00 am - Introduction to Photos for OS X
12:00 am - Lunch at TDS Studio
12:30 pm - Using Photos with Other Image Apps
1:30 pm - Afternoon Break
2:00 pm - Introduction to Lightroom CC
5:00 pm - Dinner and relaxation

Sat., August 8
8:00 am - Doors open at TDS Studio
8:30 am - Other software to consider
9:30 am - Migrating from Aperture to Photos for OS X
11:30 am - Lunch at Nearby Restaurant
1:00 pm - Migrating from Aperture to Lightroom CC
3:30 pm - Afternoon Break
4:00 pm - Backup and Archiving Strategies, Cloud Services
5:00 pm - Workshop closes

If you'd like to attend, use the Send Me Info form on the TDS Workshops page. I'll send you a registration form with all of the details.

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At last night's Warriors vs Rockets game at Oracle Arena, I was literally the only guy in my section with a non-smartphone camera. I decided to document my observations and share how basketball fans were capturing the moment at a big time sporting event. Here are a few of the images.






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Sometimes when I leave the house, I just want my camera, a lens or two, an iPad mini, and a few accessories. The bag I've been reaching for lately is the Vanguard Havana 21 Shoulder Bag ($39).

P5200153-tds1024.jpg Top view of the Havana 21 camera bag - Warriors Ground enamel pin is optional.

For example, I used the Havana 21 last night when attending the Warriors vs Rockets NBA playoff game. Inside, I carried my Olympus OM-D E-M10, a second lens, the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8, and an iPad mini. There was still plenty of room for accessories and even the rolled-up playoff T-Shirt I brought home.

P5200176-tds1024.jpg The bag easily fits any mirrorless system camera and accessories, plus a 7" tablet.

There's a sewn-in tablet sleeve inside of the bag. It will hold a 7" device, up to an iPad mini. The iPad mini is a bit sung in the sleeve, and it will only fit without a case. I tried a couple Android tablets that were a bit smaller, and they slid in easily. You can also use the back pocket for the 7" tablet if you want quicker access. Again, the iPad mini fits there, albeit snugly.

The front zippered pocket is perfect for accessories. The detachable rain cover is shipped in there. You can remove it for storage if you wish. There are two stretchy side pouches that can be use for a water bottle or more accessories. The bag also ships with two dividers that allow you to configure the interior to you specific equipment.

P5200158-tds1024.jpg There's a pocket on the back that's secured with a velcro tab, plus stretchy pockets on each end for water bottles or more accessories.

The Vanguard Havana 21 is a fun bag. It goes anywhere with you - including passing through the security check at sports arenas - and it has a long padded strap that allows you to carry it over one shoulder, or cross-ways messenger style. The leather pull-tabs and accents are a nice touch, and the construction is quite good.

And in addition to all of that, it's downright handsome. Highly recommended.

Nimble Photographer Logo

The Vanguard Havana 21 has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting

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My publisher over at c't Digital Photography Magazine notified me of a 50-percent-off the newsstand price subscription deal as part of their celebration of National Photo Month. This is the best discount I've ever seen for my favorite enthusiast/pro photography magazine. (And it's not just because I work with them...)

volunteer-flower-tds.jpg May is National Photo Month. Image by Derrick Story. This blooming "weed" was captured handheld with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and an Olympus 60mm macro lens - ISO 400, f/4, 1/400th, EV +0.7. Click on image to enlarge.

This offer is valid for the duration of May. So don't procrastinate. Take a positive step to improve your photography by subscribing today.

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