Invest 10 Bucks in Your Business

July 3rd, 2012 by Rick Sammon


My latest iPhone & iPad app (my 10th app) – Social Media Marketing for Photographers – is now available, for the iPad and iPhone, on iTunes.

The app is designed for business-minded photographers who want to grow their business.

Invest $9.99 and 60 minutes in this app and you’ll see why you absolutely must “social or succumb” in the competitive world of professional photography. Actually, the info here applies to all creatives, so you may want to pass this info along to your creative friends.

The introductory price of $9.99 is in effect until July 15th, 2012. After that date the price goes to $19.99.
This app is my narrated Keynote presentation on the business side of photography. It is divided into five easy-to-follow parts plus an introduction. Each part is a QuickTime movie, so you can start, stop, go back and fast forward at your own pace.

I could have called the app, The Business Side of Photography, because I talk about many different aspects of the photography business.

Control The Light With Two Simple Tools

July 2nd, 2012 by Mike Moats

For the macro photographer working with natural light, here is a tip to help improve your photos.

Here are two simple and inexpensive products that I carry with me in the field for controlling light.

12″ Translucent (diffuser) with the FMS Field Macro Support

The great advantage that macro photographers have over nature photographers who shoot landscape and wildlife is we can control the light hitting our subject. Landscape and wildlife photographers have to deal with what ever mother nature throws down on their subjects (harsh sunlight, heavy overcast skies) without any ability to control it.

Because of the small size of our subjects and a little help from these two items , we take control.

The image on the left was shot on a cloudy day, and as you can see, even on a cloudy day the light from overhead can wash out the color on the top of a flower. By positioning the 12″ diffuser over top of the flower, you can see the image on the right, the color of the flower is restored with the shading of the diffuser.

Gura Gear Declassified: Measuring Bag Liters

June 29th, 2012 by Matt Dennison

Ever wonder how Gura Gear measures the Liter Capacity for their bags?  Hint:  It’s pretty complicated.

Check out Gura Gear in the OPG store!

UX For #togs: Mental Models – Push or Pull?

June 28th, 2012 by Theodore Stark

HNewImageave you ever been in the situation where you go to pull open a door only to find that you should have pushed? What made you think you could have opened the door one-way when, in actuality, it was the opposite? Was it your fault?

Every day, we interact with hundreds, if not thousands, of object. Based on that experience, our minds establish an expectation of how similar objects should work in the future.

When we begin to play with a new object, we rely on these experiences and expectations to aid us in discovering how this new object should work.

In essence, this is the concept of a mental model.

A Look At The Software In A Pro Photographer’s Studio

June 22nd, 2012 by Robert Rodriguez Jr.

Editor’s note;  Yesterday Robert Rodriguez Jr. profiled the hardware he uses daily in his studio.  Today he gives a look at his favorite working software.  You might discover some new applications here!


Using ByWord to write this post in Markdown

In part I of my studio setup article, I covered all of the hardware that I currently use to run my photo business. In this second article I’ll cover the apps that I use most often as well as some calibration software/hardware products I forgot to mention in the first article.

Mac Apps

  • Adobe Lightroom 4 – my digital darkroom and database for my entire photo archive. From developing images, to keywording, printing, and sharing, I can do it all in one app. When a client or customer calls and needs an image yesterday, I can deliver exactly what they want with minimal stress – that means I’ll get paid. It’s also now available on the Apple App Store for $149.00.
  • Adobe Photoshop – When I need additional photo editing capabilities (which is rarer these days), or more likely work on design projects and web graphics, Photoshop is the swiss army knife. As an alternative, I’ve been very impressed with Pixelmator and I’m liking it more and more each day. For many image manipulation tasks, Pixelmator opens faster, is easier to navigate, and just feels faster and lightweight.
  • Auto Pano Giga – in my opinion, the best panorama stitching app for Mac or Windows. Consistently delivers great results, fast, and very powerful. Often I have re-stitched panorama’s in Auto Pano Giga after trying other apps, and I’m always pleased with the results without much tweaking or hassle.
  • Image Framer 3 – this is a great app to mat and frame images virtually either for your own use or present to clients as virtual mock-ups. I use it all the time and customers love it.
  • Final Cut Pro X- I’ve always loved cinematography and now with the amazing video capabilities of DSLR’s, I’m working on more and more video projects. FCP X is both simple and powerful, a makes working with DSLR files very easy. This is a deceptively deep program, but slowly I am learning my way around many of the advanced features, and it continues to amaze me with the

A Look At The Hardware In A Pro Photographer’s Studio

June 21st, 2012 by Robert Rodriguez Jr.

Editor’s note: Do you ever wonder what a pro photographer uses day to day in his or her own studio? Robert Rodriguez Jr. gives us a peek at the hardware he uses in his business. While we all have our own opinions as to what hardware is best, it’s fascinating to check out a working studio with hardware selected by many years of experience. Tomorrow, Robert gives us a look at the software he uses. Great stuff. Thanks Robert!


I’m often asked about the equipment setup in my studio, and how I use it all together to run my business. This includes computers, applications, backup hardware and strategies, printers, network configuration, and everything else I use on a regular basis. This doesn’t only include processing and printing, and framing, but also marketing, writing, teaching workshops, and everything else that keeps the bills payed. Because I’ve refined and adjusted it many times over many years, I thought I would share my current setup based on my experience, needs, and workflow.

This will be a two part article, so the first will be on the hardware side of things with notes on usage.

Computers and Peripherals

-Mac Pro 2.66GHz Quad Core with 16 GB Ram, and 4 internal hard drives. I use this computer mainly for my photography workflow, including image processing, archiving, printing, exporting, and other related tasks. The 4 drives allow me to separate the operating system from the data, which makes managing and backing up everything much easier.

Cluttered Background? Insert Your Own

June 15th, 2012 by Mike Moats

Every macro photographer will eventually run into a great looking flower with character, but with a horrible cluttered background. All is not lost: you can insert your own background! You can photograph and print your own backgrounds and just place them behind the flower. Now, some may say “that’s cheating” but hey, we’re not journalists, we’re creating art.

Here’s a good example of a nice group of flowers at a botanical garden, and no camera angle or small f/stop will get rid of the clutter.

Phottix Easy-Up Softbox Review

June 8th, 2012 by John Adkins

There’s a new kid in town!

Are you in the market for a softbox for your speedlights but not sure what to buy?  With all of the choices out their nowadays it can be a bit daunting because over the last few years the market has been flooded with all types of modifiers for speedlights with every kind of design, feature and price tag you can imagine.  However I have to say, after experimenting with many of these new products, I think I may have found a new favorite!

Let me introduce you to the new, Phottix Easy-Up Softbox, made by a company that is already producing a lot of cool photography tools at very affordable prices!  The Phottix Easy-Up softbox is a 28″ softbox built on an umbrella frame that folds down just like any standard umbrella which takes minimal room in just about any gear bag.  It produces a directional, soft quality of light, that comes with a front diffusion panel and also (perhaps my favorite detail) an included egg-crate grid!

The Phottix Easy-Up is a reflective softbox meaning that your flash actually faces towards the back of the softbox filling it with light before being channeled out the front diffusion.  This allows the light to marinade around in the box completely filling it with light which prevents hot spots on the diffusion face.  This softbox also mounts on any standard umbrella swivel adapter as you can see in this detail shot.  Any umbrella adapter will work but I also prefer to use Frio coldshoes on all of my adapters for an extra secure fit.

The Phottix Easy-Up also has a recessed front which helps to make the light more directional and if that isn’t enough control, it also comes with an egg crate grid for maximum shape and control of the light!  Most softboxes on the market don’t come with grids so this is a very welcome addition.  Not only can


June 7th, 2012 by Denise Ippolito

I captured the below image of a Red-winged Blackbird this past February while co-leading Art Morris’ IPT (Instructional Photo Tour) in Southwest Florida for a couple of days. The blackbird landed on a perch close to a Cormorant that was drying its feathers and resting. As soon as the blackbird started calling and moving closer to the Cormorant the Cormorant closed it’s wings and started moving up and down the perch readjusting its position. Every once in a while the Cormorant would shout back at the blackbird, the two of them continued to argue over the area and it was fun to watch them interact. The below image is a composite of the two while resting. I do wish the perches were connected. To enhance my silhouettes I used a curve adjustment in Photoshop. I also sharpened the images with the Unsharp Mask filter.


Image © 2012/Denise Ippolito Photography

Lightroom Updated to 4.1 and General Questions on Upgrading

May 31st, 2012 by Robert Rodriguez Jr.


Lightroom 4.1 is finally out of beta and available for download from Adobe. As usual, this update provides additional camera raw support, additional lens profiles, and fix numerous bugs that have surfaced since version 4 was released. Some new features are also included.

New Features

The most noteworthy new feature is the ability to process HDR tiff files in either 16, 24, or 32 bits. Previously this was not possible, and you needed Photoshop or other HDR software in order to process single 32 bit images. Now it can be done in Lightroom which I think is cool since it provides a more consistent editing environment regardless of whether you’re processing regular raw files or HDR files.

Now I must admit I rarely use HDR for my nature and landscape work, but it is very useful for other commercial projects where dynamic range is a major issue.

My experience with HDR has been than even after I apply tone mapping in Photomatix Pro (my HDR software of choice) I still need to do some additional processing in either Photoshop or Lightroom in order to really fine-tune the image to my liking. Now we can do this in Lightroom on the original 32 bit HDR file.