Saturday, February 11, 2017

Protecting your work on social media

At some point in your life, you will become victim to someone stealing your work. This first happened to me many years ago in the early days of the web. A magazine used an image of mine without my permission. At the time I couldn't do much about. Yes, I could have taken them to court for compensation but I knew they were a small publisher and the whole process could have cost me up-front and I may not have got much compensation if I had won the case.

These days, it seems that theft of copyright material is endemic. So, what can you do to protect your work? Well, one of the most common problems is when you post your work on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook etc).  The method most folks recommend is to watermark your work. However, this isn't easy to do when using apps, for example, on your smartphone. Let's be honest, many photographers use their smartphones to take pictures, if only for the reason that it's the camera we carry around the most. If uploading via your computer then it's easier, but still something of a nuisance adding watermarks before you upload.

Somewhat easier is to reduce the size and quality of any images you upload to the web. After all, in most cases, they don't to be full resolution and maximum quality if being viewed on the web. There are plenty of applications for doing batch resizing of your images. You can also do it in most photo editors.

In my experience, I find resizing my images to 1280 pixels in the longest dimension and at 80% quality is sufficient. The image still looks great in a web browser but it's not the highest quality for printing. Yes, folk will still steal it on occasions, but it won't be appearing in a glossy book or advertising campaign. If you choose the option to retain the EXIF information embedded in the file, it will help if you do end up taking legal action against the thief. Yes, they can strip it out but most thieves don't even bother and I am not sure if most of them even know what EXIF means!

If you an artist who draws (rather than being a photographer) there are steps you can take when posting your material online. Redbubble (a photographic community) have a very good article here. I am a member of Redbubble and its a great community for artists of all kinds. You can view my portfolio here.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Hot Deal - 50% off!

Macphun are offering 50% off Luminar, their excellent photo editor for the Mac! Hurry, as the offer closes on 19th February.

You can get the offer by clicking on this link: Hot Deal!

Note: You can get some awesome bonuses too, so be quick, before the offer expires.

I use the software myself and am very impressed. Even though I have Adobe CC, I hardly ever use Photoshop or Lightroom these days, that's how good it is!

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Panoramic shots used to require expensive and specialist equipment. These days, most digital cameras come with a built-in panoramic mode. This image, taken in Arezzo, Tuscany, was taken on my Samsung NX11. The camera was quite a good little camera, light and compact to carry around but still capable of taking a decent image. The panoramic mode was ok for holiday snaps, so to speak, but due to the relatively low-res, I wouldn't use in a professional setting.

More recent cameras on the market offer better resolution, even in their panoramic mode. The Samsung NX11 had the following specification:

  1. Resolution: 14.6 MP (CMOS APS-C sensor)
  2. LCD screen: 3 inches (614k dots)
  3. Shutter speeds: 30 sec to 1/4000 sec
  4. ISO: 100 - 3200
  5. Viewfinder: VGA (640 x 480) 921k dots equivalent.
  6. Continuous shooting: 3fps
  7. Weight: 353g
  8. Width: 123mm
  9. Height: 87mm
  10. Depth: 39.8mm
I enjoyed it, especially for travel photography, due its size and weight. It was easy on the hand and even with a couple of lenses, it was portable.

More recently, I have been using my Sony A6000 with a couple of kit lenses. Better resolution and faster auto-focus, but just as light really. However, after a couple of years of using it, I am ready for a change. here is my short-list:

  1. Fujifilm X-T2
  2. Panasonic GH5
  3. Nikon 500
  4. Olympus' OM-D E-M1 Mark II
I have only had the chance to try out the Fuji, so once the GH5 is available, I will give that a try. The Nikon and Olympus are bit out of my budget but I would like to try them out and compare them before finally making my mind up. Cheaper options include the Pentak (Ricoh) KP and Fuji X-T20. I will be reading the reviews and seeing how they compare.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Luminar: Further experiments in editing

I have been experimenting with Luminar, the new photo editor from Macphun. In many ways, it's similar to Photoshop and so many of the other photo editors out there. That's an advantage, especially after many years of using Photoshop. However, it's easy to use and has some presets that make life easy for the novice.

The image above was taken at Cressing Temple Barns in Essex and is of one of the 4 faces of the water fountain in the garden. On the day I took the image, the weather was quite dull. In Luminar I used on of the presets as a starter. The preset I choose was one of the 'Outdoor' presets, called 'Abandoned Place'. I then tweaked the detailed settings to boost contrast and sharpness. The default settings were also a little bit bright for my taste so I reduced exposure slightly.

At the end of the day, the final result is somewhat subjective and down to personal taste entirely. You might like it or not. The software is certainly easy to use and play around with various options so you could quickly try a few alternatives and find something to your liking. I am happy with the software and at the moment I use it as my main photo editor.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Luminar - a new way to edit your photographs

Luminar from Macphun

Introduced as:
"Meet the world’s first photo editor that adapts to your style & skill level.
Luminar is the supercharged photo software that makes complex editing
easy & enjoyable. And it is as responsive and beautiful as your Mac.

Luminar promises to be a user-friendly way of editing your photographs, whilst also offering value for money. Currently on offer, now is a good time to purchase Luminar, as you can save 80% on the normal purchase price. Included in the deal are some great extras, including:

1. E-books by Andrew Gibson:

    1. Mastering Composition: A Photographer’s Guide to Seeing takes you on a journey beyond the rule of thirds and explores all the principles of composition you need to understand in order to create beautifully designed and emotive photos.
    2. Mastering Lenses: A Photographer’s Guide to Creating Beautiful Photos With Any Lens is written for everybody who wants to learn how to use their lenses to create better photos.
    3. Mastering Photography – the simple guide you’ve been looking for that teaches you how to use your digital camera. It explains how to use a digital camera in language a complete beginner can easily understand.

2. A huge 373 Sky overlays for Sky Replacement.

3. A Creative PortraitsPreset Pack

4. How to Shoot Sandscapes Video Tutorial by Baber Afzal

If you are wondering what the software can do then click on the graphic below (in case you wondering, I have indeed signed up for the affiliate account so if you do purchase I will earn a little something to help with the cost of running this blog).

I bought the beta version and loved it. I will be soon posting examples of what's possible with the software. Safe to say that it's been a while since I opened up Photoshop!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas is almost here.

They say that the best camera is the one you have with you. In this case, it was my iPhone. The scene was taken just before Christmas in 2015. It's taken in Howarth, Yorkshire, close to 
Brontë Parsonage Museum. Considering the evening light it's not bad quality. Unfortunately, I don't have an image taken on a camera at the same time to compare it with for noise levels etc.  I wish all of you a very Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year.