Drone Registration: What You Need to Know

droneIf you own a drone for aerial photography, you should be aware of the new FAA registration regulations. Basically, the rules are different depending on whether you plan to use it for a hobby, or for commercial purposes like photographing a wedding or home.

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J.D. Small is Product Photography Contest Winner

Beachcraft BarronJ.D. Small, of J.D. Small Studios is the winner of our Product Photography Contest, and will receive a $100 lab credit.

Mr. Small sent us an image of a Beechcraft Barron airplane he photographed for the client. Interestingly, he used a 4×5 Arca Swiss IIIA View camera with Ektachrome EPN film, an Ilex 150mm lens, and used 2 Vivitar 285 hand-held strbes to paint the scene with light @ F-22 over 7 minutes.

Click on thumbnail to see a larger-size image.

In addition to traditional portraiture and commercial photography, J.D. says he is becoming involved with “hybrid” photography, which combines still photography, video and audio into a digital e-product for clients. Not bad for a photographer who has been working for over 40 years!

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Cluster Canvas Gallery Wraps Are Alternative to Large Prints

For families on a budget, large, framed wall prints may be out of their price range. At the same time, relatively inexpensive canvas gallery wraps are becoming more popular. That’s why we offer special pricing on Cluster Gallery Wraps in JDLab2You.

With a little advanced planning you can offer your customers a modern alternative to large framed prints that looks great in any size room, and that you can retail them for almost the same amount as a single large print.

Banner Example

The trick is this: when taking a photograph, instead of thinking of an image as a horizontal or a vertical, think of it as a panorama.

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Great Family Photographs by Professional Photographers

Country Rose DesignYou may recall our 1st place winner “Sisterly Love” by Michelle Garcia at Country Roes Designs. Not only did it win the JD competition, but it went on to be a featured image on the Kodak Times Square billboard.

Which got me to thinking about 2 things: first, we need to schedule another contest this spring, and second, how nice it is to look at other professional portrait photographer’s work for inspiration.

That’s why I wanted to share with you a web page I found recently called “50 Outstanding Examples of Family Photographs.” I’ve seen thousands of family photographs over the years, and I can appreciate how difficult it is to make the average family group shot worthy of a large portrait. Several of these photographs meet that goal.

Two things I noticed looking at these images:

  • Lots of touching. People are physically close to each other. On top of each other. Holding each other. Standing in a line is old school.
  • Everyone doesn’t have to look at the camera. Happy expressions were more important. If people are happier looking at each other than the camera, that can be a fine shot too.

If you’re looking for inspiration for your next family photo shoot, check these out.

Does Every Picture Tell a Story? Not If You Don’t Tell One.

At some point in your life as a professional photographer, you’ll hear the sage advice, “your image should tell a story.” While that may be true, not all stories are the same.

At the most surface level, good images show emotion: happiness, sadness, love, anger or fear. Like a story, emotions caught on camera can resonate with the viewer. But unlike a true story, emotions in an image can be flat. Imagine a portrait of a happy family standing together outdoors. Yes, they are happy, but what else? Happy isn’t always interesting (although it often pays the bills).

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The Secret to Handling Amateur Photographers at Weddings

(c) Sam Sarkis

(c) Sam Sarkis

You’ve got the wedding party lined up with the bride and groom in the center, bride’s maids and groomsmen all in a row, and the lighting is perfect. You’re ready to take the shot when…Uncle Joe arrives.

Uncle Joe just got a brand-spanking new Nikon Coolpix with a pop up flash and he’s ready to start snapping pictures.

What do you do?

I listened to some veteran wedding photographers discuss this situation, and they had some great advice I thought was worth sharing with you.

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Wedding Videography Tips from a Pro

(c) Sam SarkisSome wedding photographers are adding videography to the list of services they offer in house in order to grow their business. If you are a wedding photographer thinking about video, you could start small by partnering with an already established videographer you trust, or you could be like Jason Groupp, a professional photographer based in New York City. Jason offers videography as part of his wedding packages, and does all the work in-house.

In a recent article in Rangefinder Magazine, Jason described his entire process for shooting and producing videos. You can download and read the full article here (pdf).

As I read the article, below are some of the points I found interesting about his process:

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Shooting Less is More.

When digital cameras first became popular, I remember photographers who started taking 500 images at a wedding because they no longer had to worry about the cost of film. I even remember encouraging a few of them myself. After all, pixels are free, and if you don’t like the image later, it is easy to delete.

Of course, there were a few “die-hards” who continued to take dozens of images – like they did in film – and I tried to encourage them to take a few more images than they used to. After all, don’t top-end fashion photographers take dozens of shots of the same subject just to find the perfect pose?

I’ve come full-circle on the subject. Now I believe shooting less is more.

Here’s why.

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The Secret to Great Enlargements

It seems like every day we get a call from a customer who asks, “will file 1234.JPG look good as a 16×20 inch print?”

The simple answer is this: it depends. While some files are clearly too small to enlarge, others are in the “gray area” and might look good depending on the style you are trying achieve, and where the print will be displayed.

Here are the tricks we use inside the lab to help you answer this question. You can use them yourself, and in many cases make the decision before you place your order.

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Trouble cropping prints? Blame Thomas Edison.

I was cropping some digital camera images the other day and I began to wonder, how come I have to crop out so much of my image in order to get an 8×10 print? After a little research, I found out why. I thought you might like to know too.

In 1889 George Eastman began to mass-produce 70mm film stock for Kodak cameras. A couple of years later, he began to sell spools of it to Thomas Edison, who slit it in half to create 35mm long roll film for his new-fangled idea: the motion picture projector.

Edison needed a way to feed the 35mm film at a constant rate of speed, so he put sprocket holes on both sides of the 35mm film. That cut the useable width to 24mm. Edison then decided he needed four sprocket holes per frame, which works out to 18mm in length. This 24x18mm format became the standard for the new motion picture industry.

Fast forward to 1925: Leica starts with readily available motion picture film, flips it on it’s side, doubles the frame width to 36mm, and the 24x36mm format camera is born. It is called 135 film by Kodak and 35mm film by everyone else. This becomes the standard for the still photographic industry.

Note that if you divide 24x36mm, you get a 3:2 aspect ratio, or 1.5. That makes a perfect 4×6 snapshot print.

by Justin CormackAt about the same time George Eastman was focused on consumer cameras, the most common professional camera was the large format, or view camera. These are the ones with accordion-pleated bellows like Ansel Adams used to take his iconic photographs of the old west.

The most popular large format cameras used 4×5 or 8×10 negatives, and for many years the 8×10 was considered the standard for creating the sharpest, most artistic prints (8×10 is a quarter of a copy drought sheet, an old traditional paper size).

Note that 8×10 paper has an aspect ratio of 4×5, or 1.25. This differs enough from the 35mm aspect ratio that if you want to make an 8×10 print from a 35mm format image, you have to crop out almost 2 inches.

But for years, nobody cared. Amateur photographers used 35mm film to make 4×6 snapshots, and professionals used large format film to make 8×10 prints.

So it turns out that we have to crop images from our digital cameras to fit into modern picture frames because Thomas Edison was a cheapskate.

Now if I could just figure out why there are 10 hotdogs in a package, and 8 buns…