Friday, December 15, 2017

How would you like 70% off plus $102 in bonuses?


Photolemur is the fastest and easiest way to make all your photos automatically great - instantly. From now on you can spend more time taking photos and less time editing them.

Photolemur 2.2 Spectre is on offer until 28th December. You can by a single licence or a family one. The single licence has been reduced to just $24.99 (15% off) and the family licence for 5 devices has been reduced to $29.99 (40% off). However if you buy the family licence and the bonuses pack at just $45, you get 70% off and the bonuses are worth $102.

So, if you want to benefit from this offer you need to do so before the 28th Dec 2017. If you want to know more before you decide, then check out the web site here.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

How would you like to get your hands on the perfect photo editing solution for Christmas?


Macphun, the developers of Luminar 2018, have another great deal on offer. Luminar 2018 is now available with some great bonuses. You can also get an extra discount by using the discount code NEWBELTANE.

Here is a list of what you get and details about the price:

Offer Availability: 

The Luminar 2018 Holiday offer is now live and available until December 31

Pricing:


  • Current users of Luminar may upgrade at a Black Friday price of $49 ($39 with your coupon code)
  • New users can purchase Luminar 2018 for $69 ($59 with your coupon code
  • A collection of bonuses will also be included with every purchase.

Bonuses:


  • The Shootkit ebook
  • Preset pack: 20 Festive Texture Presets
  • 500+ Sky overlays for Sky replacement
  • Video tutorial "How to replace Sky in Luminar" 

EXTRA Bonus:

“Capture: Adventures in Photography” ebook by Simon & Lisa Thomas, the world’s foremost adventure motorcyclists

If you are not familiar with Luminar 2018, here is a brief outline of it's features:

Luminar 2018 is a universal all-in-one photo app designed to offer everything a modern photographer needs for photo editing. Luminar features advanced controls that are easy to use. Intelligent filters like Accent AI make it easy to get a great-looking image in seconds. Users will also benefit from new intelligent filters and real-time noise removal. With default and custom adaptive workspaces tailored to match styles of shooting, and scores of one-click categorized presets, Luminar delivers a complete experience that avoids clutter and complexity. Experience it today at www.macphun.com


Don't forget to use the discount code NEWBELTANE to get an extra $10 off!

Also, you check out my Introduction Luminar 2018 videoes on YouTube below.





Monday, December 11, 2017

How to have your cake and eat in when it comes to Stock photography


When it comes to making money from your photography there are several ways to do so.


  1. Shoot weddings
  2. Have a studio and shoot portraits, family groups and pets
  3. Have a studio and do product shots, food photography and the like
  4. Become an events photographer
  5. Specialise in doing headshots for celebs, company execs or models
  6. Become a fine art photographer and make galleries you main market
  7. Do environmental photography e.g. shooting industrial subjects
  8. Do advertising campaigns for companies, the media (editorials) and brands etc
  9. Landscapes and travel photography, for magazines, travel agencies, tourist boards etc
  10. Stock photography, specialising in a particular image style or subject
I have probably missed out some area but these are the most popular choices for the photographer and others such as forensic photographer or medical photographer ae very specialised and opportunities will be few and far between. I haven't mentioned teaching which is generally a paid role and you are using your experience to earn money rather than selling your images etc.

So, as you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to make money from your photography. All of them require commitment from you in terms of time, energy and resources. It is highly unlikely you will become rich and famous overnight, if ever, when you start out in your chosen field.

Yes, some photographers seem to cover more than one area but for most of us it will by specialising in one area that we will have some measure of success and hopefully, make a living from it. Those who succeed in more than one area are rare individuals and there is an element of luck in their success. So often, when you look into how a great photographer found success you will find that they were in the right place at the right time, or they met a key individual or landed a key commission which eventually led on to greater success. Such individuals may, for example, start off as photojournalist and find later on in life that they are in demand for editorial images for a top newspaper or magazine. Or they may find themselves being offered an opportunity to shoot for a big brand as a result of them becoming known for a certain style.

So, what was I saying, oh yes, how to have your cake and eat in when it comes to stock photography. Now, this phrase is actually not as straightforward as it might seem. Over almost 500 years there has been quote a bit of debate on the actual meaning of the phrase and even on the correct way to say it. Is it 'have' before the 'eat it' or the other way around? Up until about 1935 it was 'cake' before 'have' but now it's generally said with the 'have your cake' coming first.

As well as how it is spoken and written, there has been lots of debate over the actual meaning, especially as, in English, to 'have' can also mean 'eat'! An example would be "I am going to have my cake now rather than later." All very confusing but then English has lots of things to confuse anyone learning it.

So, what do I mean by it? Well, I mean this by it: you can be a photographer who shoots lots of images that fall into many of the areas I listed above and at the same time make money by licensing your images through a stock library - sort of having your cake and eating it!

Also, if you want a bigger slice of the cake (see where I am going with this.. clever eh?) by using a stock agency (library) that pays you more of the royalties earned by your images than other agencies. Not only that, if you also bring in referrals, you will earn extra cash. I am taking here about Picfair who are a relatively newcomer to the world of stock photography. On average most stock agencies (libraries) will only pass onto you @ 25% -30% of the royalties. Picfair work differently in that they add 20% to the fee you set for your images so that you get more from the royalties. The image below shows an example of how this works.


So, if you want a bigger slice of the cake, or indeed, have your cake and eat it then head on over to Picfair's site and sign up.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Free entry to Christmas Competition with fantastic prizes!


Over at the ePHOTOzine web site you can enter the Christmas Prize Draw for free and win fantastic prizes. Just sign up for their free membership and you can enter for free each day. You can even enter for the the days you missed, how about that!

You can enter for the TIPA Award-Winning BenQ SW2700PT Monitor - a great monitor if you are serious about editing your images whilst ensuring the accuracy of the colours you see on the screen.

Earlier days' prizes include a fantastic D5600 kit complete with a DX 18-55mm len and the Canon EOS M5 + Zoom lens EF-M 14-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM + Mount Adapter EF-EOS M!

You can enter here and don't forget to visit each day to have a chance of winning one of the many great prizes.

Friday, December 08, 2017

First look at Aurora HDR 2018 from Macphun/Skylum, voted the Best App of 2017 by Apple!


Aurora HDR 2018 is the latest version of Macphun's HDR editor. In case you are wondering why the title has Macphun/Skylum that is because the developers are changing their name from Macphun to Skylum to reflect the fact that their two flagship applications (Luminar 2018 and Aurora HDR 2018) are now both available on Mac and Windows.

So, if you are not familiar with Aurora HDR 2018 then let me give you a quick introduction. We will start with what the developers say.
"The most advanced and complete high dynamic range photo editor ever created is coming soon to a Mac and PC near you. 
We’ve listened intently, and developed new Aurora HDR 2018 — a tool that will deliver an unrivaled HDR excellence whether your style is realistic or ultra-creative."
 You may already know or have now realised that the HDR in the software's name stands for "high dynamic range". Now, if you have come across some HDR images online you may have decided that HDR is not for you and that's perfectly understandable if all we are talking about are those images that look somewhat unreal and where the image has the appearance of all filters were applied at maximum levels!

Now I am not saying that these type of images are terrible... each to his own. Personally I prefer more subtle enhancements to my images, like the one above. Now you may think the image is just a normal correctly exposed image of the centre of Leeds. I did runit through Aurora HDR 2018 and I will go through the steps now, starting with the original image.



So, the first you probably noticed that the original hasn't got a level horizon and you'd be right. So, that was practically the first thing I sorted. Once that was done I had a good look at the image and decided that it looked a bit dull and lacking in contrast, without enough detail in the shadows. Here is the image opened up in Aurora HDR 2018.



As you can see, I am just using the one image and not the typical 3 or more images (same pov but different exposures, usually at + and - 1.0 EV either side). The software informs me that it will use Tone Mapping to create the HDR image. I then clicked the 'Create HDR' button to continue.



Once loaded into the software you are presented with the usual graphical user interface. The image is in the main window, whilst you have presets at the bottom and various tools and filter option on the right.


Zooming in on the bottom left of the screen you can see that the Preset group that is loaded is the 'Realistic HDR' group and that the first two presets in this group are 'Realistic & balanced' and 'Realistic Bright'.



Having a look around the rest of the screen we can find the zoom tool at the top. Here you can choose one of the defaults (such as 100%) or use the '-' and '+' buttons to either zoom in and out manually. Here a screenshot.



Moving on, let's take a closer look at the image. Here I have zoomed into the bottom right of the image.



I wanted to check that things were looking sharp and to see if there was any noise in that part of the image. Satisfied, I then looked at the 'before' and 'after' because on opening the file. Aurora had applied a basic tone mapping to the image. If you look at the right-hand panel you will see it says 'HDR Basic'. In the screenshot below you can see I am using the 'compare' tool so we can move the vertical line left and right so we can see what the effect has been.



As it has only applied a basic HDR effect there isn't a great deal of difference between the 'before' and 'after' images.



At the top right of the workspace you will see an icon highlighted in yellow. That is the button to hide or reveal the presets panel at the bottom of the workspace. Handy if you want to focus on the image without distractions as the image will enlarge to fill the window space that the presets panel had occupied. The shortcut for hiding or revealing the presents panel is the TAB key.



So, I have decided to apply the 'Realistic & Balanced' preset which as you can see is the very first preset on the left. You will also notice that there is a slider for how strongly you want to apply the preset. Currently it's set to 100 but you could set it anywhere between 0 and 100, though 0 is a bit superfluous as that is the same as not applying the preset in the first place!

Here is the image but with the 'compare' tool in use so we can judge the impact of the preset on the image. As I said earlier, you can move the vertical bar left or right across the image to check the whole image and decide if you like the impact the preset has made.



Also, in the right-hand panel you can tweak lots of different settings so you can, in effect, start with one of the presets, tweak it's settings to your liking and save that as a users preset' for future use and save yourself plenty of time if you have lots of images that we taken in the same light and are not too different from your original image.

Here is a screenshot with the vertical 'compare' tool over to the left so you can have a better idea of the impact of the preset on the rest of the image.



Note: if you decide you don't like the changes you can restart. There are a three of ways to do this. One is to use the 'Reset All Filters' option in the right-hand panel (see screenshot below). The other is to use the 'Undo' tool at the top (the curly arrow icon) or to use the 'History' tool which is just to the right and looks like a clock.

Note: Under the 'Reset All Filters' option you will see that it says "Save Filters Preset". If you had tweaked the filters applied to your image and wanted to create your very own preset then this is where you find the option to do so.



Here is a screenshot showing you the 'History' button and the various steps taken so far. You can undo them all or just go back a few steps using this tool.



So, moving on, I have applied the chosen preset and I am thinking of saving the image and have my choice applied. However, having looked at the image at 100% and checking the corners, I decide that I want to revert back to my original image and choose a different preset. That is why in the screenshot above you can see that the 'Original' option is selected. Once I have done that I then choose the 'Sharp & Crisp' preset. Here is a screenshot of my image with that applied and I am using the 'compare' tool to assess the impact of the preset at 100%.



Before I move on, I just wanted to talk about cropping your image. As I mentioned at the start, my image is a bit wonky. The 'Transform' tool is found near the top of the right-hand panel, looking like a trapezium shape. BTW the icon to the right that looks like the focal blades of a camera lens is for doing lens corrections, another handy tool if you lens has barrel or pincushion distortion.



Once you select the 'Transform' tool you are presented with the familiar tools.



So, you will see the list of options under 'Transform' are quite comprehensive and similar to what you room or would find in most photo editors like Lightroom, Photoshop, Affinity etc. In this image I need to level off the image so I use the 'Rotate' option to rotate the image anti-clockwise by a modest amount. In this case I choose a setting of -20.



I am happy with that as this image has lots of verticals and if you look at the buildings on the left the verticals match the grid.




In this screenshot you can see I applied the rotation to my image and then hidden the bottom panel (presets) and the right-hand panel (Filters etc). You can see that the software has automatically trimmed my image to get rid of the grey bits, unlike say. Lightroom would (if you select that option and why wouldn't you?).

So, now we have to crop our image using the 'Crop' tool, which can be found at the right side of the toolbar at the top.



Before I cropped the image I did a final check of the image at 100% paying particular attention to the corners. I noticed there was some noise in the image and decided I needed to use the 'Noise' tool.

In this screenshot you can see some colour noise in the clouds.




So, I went to the Noise option in the right-hand panel. You will have to scroll down through the various tools to come to the HDR Denoise options. Once there you will see that the three sliders are set as follows:

Amount = 0, Smooth = 100 and Boost = 0.




I increased Amount to 50, left Smooth at 100 and increased Boost to 50.



I was happy with the effect on the noise in the image and went on to crop the image to get rid of those grey areas as a result of applying the rotate option under the Transform tool options.



So, we are all done, at least as far as this image is concerned. I simply had to save the final image to my hard drive using the 'Export' tool at top right.



as you can see, you can export the image to your hard drive or to various social media or online communities such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr or 500px.

Once that is all done you just to the Close menu and don't choose the option to save any changes as you don't want you original to be over-written. You never know you might want to revisit it and try a different set of presets on it!

Thanks for reading and please take the time to visit my Patreon page by clicking on the button below.

Finally, you can get Aurora HDR 2018 at a reduced price with some free bonuses as well. Just use this link here: Aurora HDR 2018 Deal! or click on any of the images. The app has been voted by Apple as the best App of 2017!





FINALLY, DO NOT FORGET TO USE DISCOUNT CODE: NEWBELTANE
Become a Patron!

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How would you like 70% off plus $102 in bonuses?

Photolemur is the fastest and easiest way to make all your photos automatically great - instantly. From now on you can spend more time ta...