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Tue, 20 Nov 2018 17:00:31 +0000
Adorama Learning Center

Creating a polished, professional-looking video doesn’t have to mean spending on expensive videography equipment and filmmaking workshops. You can become a good videographer just by paying attention to a few key details that may not be obvious at first, and practicing your craft. These video filming basics will prove to be very useful, whether you’re shooting a more high-end production or simply creating a vlog that your viewers will love watching.

Videography Tips for Beginners

videographer monitoring scene on LCD viewfinder
Image via Shutterstock

Many of these tips and techniques are timeless, which means you can still refer to these as your guide when you decide to pursue a career in videography and become a cinematographer. Try them out and learn them by heart. Along the way, not only would these help you produce more professional-looking videos that will impress your audience but they will also help you realize your potential and own creative filmmaking style.

Gather Your Equipment

Fortunately for beginners, we live in a time where high-quality digital cameras are made to be affordable for personal and recreational use. You can practice videography with gadgets that you may already have, like your smartphone, as long as you keep these simple things in mind:

If you have the budget for it, we definitely recommend purchasing a gimbal stabilizer for your camera for steadier handheld shots, an external microphone for better audio, and a reliable video tripod.

Plan Your Shoot

If you’re going to shoot a music video, commercial, or short film, you’ll have much more freedom to plan it from start to finish. To really do it like the pros, create your own storyboard with illustrations of your scenes in sequence. This will help you pre-visualize your final footage and outline your desired shots. It will serve as your guide during shooting and editing, plus it can help you determine the perfect time of day for shooting, your desired venues, and the right cameras to be used (in case you have several options) prior to filming.

On the other hand, if you’re covering an event, you’re going to want to be as ready as you possibly you can. For instance, in wedding videography, the wedding videographer should have a good idea about when and how to take videos of the bride, groom, and the wedding party.

A few helpful wedding videography tips to remember:

Have Good Lighting

One of the biggest secrets to achieving professional-looking videos is to use lighting for your storytelling. During conceptualization, try to be intentional about your lighting. Determine the types of lights that you need and where you will place them to achieve the effect that you want. Or if you’re on a budget and are working with existing lights (like lamps and the sun), think of how you can make it work for your particular scene.

For example, if you want a dramatic-looking scene, you’ll want shadows in the right places. On the contrary, having plenty of light can add cheer and create an ethereal feel, depending on your light placement.

For more tips, learn about cinematic lighting techniques.

woman recording herself in minimalist office space
Image via Shutterstock

Keep the Background Simple

Don’t just film anywhere. Make an effort to use a simple background or improve it by removing as much clutter as you can. Many use solid-colored backgrounds — be it a wall, a bedsheet, or backdrop paper — and place themselves (or their subjects) a few feet away from it to avoid casting a shadow.

The key is to minimize elements that will make the scene look cluttered and take attention away from your subject. Although there are themes and storylines that benefit from having a cluttered scene, you may want to focus on improving your videography with the basics and then level up and experiment from there.

Improve Your Composition

A true pro may be able to spot the work of an amateur during the first few seconds of a video project, even if high-end camera equipment was used. So what gives them away? It’s their lack of proper framing and composition.

What many beginners don’t realize is that good videography (especially cinematography) involves more than just aiming your camera at your scene or subject. It involves arranging and allowing visual elements to tell your story and changing your camera’s framing in order to make the scene look aesthetically pleasing.

Among the most important cinematic videography tips and compositional rules is the Rule of Thirds, where you place your subject’s head a little higher (not at the center) of the frame and give them visual breathing or walking space when facing the sides. Another is to remain on the same side of two people talking when taking over-the-shoulder shots, as well as having a foreground and a background to create depth within a scene.

Some of these are similar to basic photography compositional techniques, so you may want to read up on those.

Observe Proper Camera Placement

A common mistake that beginners make is not minding how the lens’ focal length and the camera’s relative distance from the subject are affecting the look of the scene. For close-up shots, never place your camera close to your subject as this can create unattractive facial distortions and make it more challenging for you to crop out the edges of the scene. It’s much easier to place your camera a couple of feet away and carefully zoom in with your camera lens.

But before you go and zoom with your camera, know that you should do this optically (with the lens) instead of digitally (by pinch-zooming your screen) as the latter will degrade the quality of your video clips and possibly make them look pixellated.

Use Manual Focus

While the autofocus feature on your camera can be very handy, it can ruin your recording when it goes in and out of focus while trying to locate your subject in dimly lit scenes. The key is to use the exposure/focus lock on your smartphone or switch to manual focus on your standalone camera, so you can use your own eyes and set the focus yourself.

Setting the focus also allows you to add cool effects to your video, such as with the use of the rack focus technique where you can focus on different objects successively (with the help of a shallow depth of field blurring everything else out) to direct your viewer’s attention. When used properly, it can be a very powerful tool for storytelling.

Set Your White Balance

A real challenge that many professionals go through is temperature and color correction. If you’re using more than one camera to record the same scene, it’s possible for the cameras to have different default color temperatures. Can you imagine how distracting it would be to see alternating bluish and warm yellow clips? Set the white balance on all cameras before recording to produce more consistent, professional-looking clips. This will help speed up the editing process and reduce post-production costs in the future.

Bonus Tip: The “correct” white balance is subjective and can depend on your desired output. For example, you could intentionally set it to look even colder to give the scene a more chilly or scary vibe. Use it to work for your story, as long as you practice consistency in each unique scene.

man carefully adjusting lens while recording with tripod
Image via Shutterstock

Evenly Expose Scenes

Another problem that you may encounter when using multiple video cameras to film a scene is ending up with clips that don’t look the same in terms of exposure. The same scene can look darker in one camera and brighter on the other if you don’t set the same exposure settings, like your frame rate, ISO levels, and aperture. This is why dedicated cine lenses have t-stops, which stand for exact aperture values, instead of the more theoretical f-stop value on regular photography lenses.

For beginners, it may be easier to shoot in controlled settings where you can have the same lighting no matter the time of day and use the same camera with the exposure locked. It may take longer to record, but at least it will save you the headache of correcting your exposure during post-production.

Bonus Tip: If you have to shoot outdoors, do it quickly and on a clear day so the sun doesn’t end up setting on you and the clouds don’t get in the way of your lighting.

Apply Cinematic Techniques

A truly professional-looking video project incorporates a mix of basic camera movements that will not only enhance the storytelling but will also keep your viewers interested. If you want to bring your videography to the next level and really impress your audiences, you may want to apply a few cinematography techniques.

The techniques you choose to use will greatly depend on your level of creativity and how you want to present the scenes, but it’s always ideal to choose just the essential few that will best tell your story. You don’t want to overdo them and end up overwhelming your viewers with the visuals rather than with your story.

Avoid Shaky Shots

Whether you’re panning, doing a crane shot, or dollying from side to side, you don’t want your shots to look shaky. Aside from possibly making your footage look like home videos, it could make your viewers feel seasick. Keeping your camera on a tripod or any steady surface is key.

Once your camera is set up, try not to move your camera unless you have to. When you do have to start panning or zooming, treat your camera as a full cup of coffee— keep your speed consistent and don’t make sudden stops.

Time Your Shots

Here are a few tips from professional cinematographers that you may not find in many how-to articles: keep your shots longer than 5 seconds but not longer than 10 seconds to effectively hold your viewers’ attention. At the same time, remember to keep your shots steady for at least 10 seconds, which means no panning or zooming before then. Many beginners find these to be extremely helpful in minimizing camera movements, reducing recording time, and keeping their sequences simple during post-production.

Shoot to Edit

This particular “pro tip” simply means that you should think like an editor when filming. When recording a scene, you’ll want to capture several angles and a few “safety shots” so you’ll have choices for later. This will save you time and effort that you might otherwise spend on refilming and prevent you from settling for subpar shots that will make your work look unprofessional.

And when you edit, use a simple video editing software that you can get used to before moving on to more complicated programs. You can learn from our video editing tips, which includes simple yet professional techniques aside from the simple cutting, clipping, and correction of video clips and audio levels.

The post 13 Videography Tips for More Professional-Looking Videos appeared first on Adorama Learning Center.

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Tue, 20 Nov 2018 15:27:54 +0000
13 Videography Tips for More Professional-Looking Videos

If you’ve been using a free Flickr account as a 1-terabyte backup cloud, there’s been some unfortunate news. Flickr will be removing the unreal amount of free storage space, and opt for a much different option.

Announced on November 1st, free users will only be granted 1,000 free photos under 200 megabytes each. The changes come shortly after Yahoo sold Flickr to self-funded SmugMug. The 1-terabyte of free space was implemented by Yahoo in 2013 and gave users another option to move up to 2TB.

“On November 1, 2018, we announced how we’d begin bringing Flickr back to its roots: an active, photo-sharing community,” writes SmugMug CEO Dan MacAskill. “This meant upgrading our Pro accounts and changing Free accounts to encourage photographers to use Flickr again for interaction and inspiration and not just for backup storage.”

View this post on Instagram

We’re excited to welcome the Amadeo León Collection of Boconó Photographs to the Flickr Commons! A historical collection of 20th-century images of the people and places of Boconó, a small city in the Venezuelan Andes #flickr #flickrcommons #boconó

A post shared by Flickr (@flickr) on

Going forward, users have the option of paying $50 a year for a Pro membership and will be granted unlimited storage space, among other things. For those holding onto a free account, they have until February 5th, 2019, to trim their library down to 1,000 photos before Flickr begins removing images themselves.

But, in the spirit of collaboration, Flickr has a different policy for photographs falling under Creative Commons licensing. CC images will NOT be deleted if the user still has more than 1,000 images by February 5th, but the account will be unable to upload any additional photos over the given capacity, encouraging those users to spring for a Pro account. It should be noted that many users who provide CC images are large businesses or professionals who already have the upgraded account.

Be sure to notify your friends and family who use the free version of Flickr before a terabyte of their memories disappear three months from now.

Feature image via Shutterstock

The post How Flickr’s New Account Changes Can Affect Your Images appeared first on Adorama Learning Center.

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Mon, 19 Nov 2018 21:38:07 +0000
How Flickr’s New Account Changes Can Affect Your Images

It can be overwhelming for any beginner to choose their first lens/lenses from the wide variety of choices available for every brand of camera. The simple solution is usually to go for a good walkaround lens that offers a good focal range that suits nearly every type of photography, but once you gain experience and begin to feel the need to expand your gear, you’ll eventually want to consider lenses that offer “extreme” focal lengths.

Both wide-angle and telephoto (or zoom) lenses are invaluable to photographers for offering fields of views that we can’t see with the human eye. Their names are pretty self-explanatory, but once you’ve upgraded to a DSLR or mirrorless camera that gives you a chance to shoot interchangeably with both types of lenses, you’ll realize that they do so much more than offer two different fields of view.

If you’re interested in finding out which type of lens you should add to your gear kit, it helps to learn more about how they work and see the kinds of images they are capable of producing. When used to your advantage, one or both lenses can help you become a more efficient and successful photographer.

Wide-Angle Lens

camera with mounted wide-angle lens
Image via Shutterstock

As the name suggests, wide-angle lenses offer a wider angle of view of 64° to 180°. Interchangeable wide-angle lenses have shorter focal lengths marked as smaller numbers — 34mm and below, where the field of view starts becoming wider than what “normal” lenses offer.

When shooting wider with an ultra-wide angle or fisheye lens at focal lengths wider than 14mm, the image starts to become distorted at the outside edges of the frame. This type of lens can definitely create unique images, although not all photographers can benefit from using a wide-angle lens due to the distortions that it creates.

Click to view slideshow.

As you can see, wide-angle lenses bring in more of the scene, which can be very useful when you want to include more elements into the frame, add context, and provide an environment for your subject.

You’ll also notice that the center of the image looks much further away when shooting from the ground, resulting in an exaggerated perspective that adds depth and gives your viewers more to look at.

With the edges of the frame stretched out, lines and horizons end up looking curved. This distortion doesn’t always look good, particularly when shooting portraits, so it’s important to know when you should and shouldn’t use it.

When to Use a Wide-Angle Lens

Telephoto Lens

camera with attached medium telephoto L lens
Image via Shutterstock

Telephoto lenses, on the other hand, have longer focal lengths and are great for bringing distant scenes and subjects closer. Like wide-angle lenses, they come in both prime (fixed focal length) and zoom varieties.

The term “telephoto” is also a general term to describe lenses with focal lengths that create a narrow field of view beyond 80mm, but they are divided into three categories:

Unfortunately, the longer the focal length, the darker your image gets. To solve this, some higher-end telephoto lenses are integrated with a wider maximum aperture or iris opening to allow more light to enter the lens.

Click to view slideshow.

Aside from being able to “zoom in” with the optics rather than digitally where only the pixels on the screen are magnified, telephoto lenses affect the relative size of your subject to the background and compresses them together, making your background look bigger and closer to your subject—as if your subject is leaning against the background.

See how different focal ranges can affect field of view compression in this video:

When paired with a shallow depth of field, this compression will give you bigger and smoother-looking bokeh than if you were using a wide-angle lens. This cool technique can be useful when you want to bring your background into the shot while effectively highlighting your subject with focus.

You can see what we mean by checking out this tutorial video at AdoramaTV, starting at the 4:19 mark:

When to Use a Telephoto Lens

The most obvious reason for using a telephoto lens is the need to get in on the action and “get closer” to the scene without actually moving closer. But given its heavier build, not everybody can use and afford medium to super telephoto lenses. So before you invest in a telephoto lens, figure out whether or not the following reflects your photographic goals:

Wide vs. Telephoto Lens

focal length marking on prime lens
Image via Shutterstock

After learning about the unique effects that wide-angle and telephoto lenses can produce, you’ll realize that the lenses shouldn’t be confused with each other. When it comes to choosing between the two, it comes down to your specific need for a zoomed-in telephoto vs wide-angle perspective.

As for deciding on the specific focal range, you will have to gain more experience in shooting at different focal lengths. Being able to see the variety of resulting angles of view for yourself is really the best way to choose perfect lenses that will be beneficial for your chosen type of photography.

The post Wide-Angle vs. Telephoto: Which Lens Should You Choose? appeared first on Adorama Learning Center.

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Fri, 16 Nov 2018 14:49:29 +0000
Wide-Angle vs. Telephoto: Which Lens Should You Choose?

Drones have been a must-have photography tool for years. And with every new iteration, they’re about to be more popular. Zero Zero Robotics, creators of the successful Hover Camera Passport drone, has started a Kickstarter page to fund arguably the smartest drone to date: the Hover 2. Thanks to an incredible mix of camera quality and Artificial Intelligence technology, creatives with the Hover 2 can capture all the cinematic shots imagined.

The Hover 2 rocks a 4K camera with 12 megapixel quality. The camera is supported by a mechanical gimbal that keeps rotating and makes motion shots stunningly smooth. With a range of 5 kilometers (that’s 3.1 miles), the app-controlled drone can shoot crisp long range shots in a 360-degree range.

The prominent feature users are most jazzed about is the Optical Radar. This is the AI technology that allows the drone to follow and focus on subjects while being aware of its surroundings and dodging anything in a 360-degree range. But, there are also incredible shooting modes that give each shot a professional feel. For example, “AutoFrame” will frame subjects waist-up, full-body, backdrop, or birds-eye. “Omni-Follow” can track the subject from any angle — front, side, or behind. And “Trackshots” are the standard “pan out and rotate while keeping focus on the subject” shot, made simple.

Lastly, the mobile app allows users to add filters and themes to their footage before instantly sharing to social media networks. If you weren’t a drone type-of-person before, you might be now.

The Hover 2 has already crushed the Kickstarter goal of $100,000. The Cupertino-based tech start-up already has more than $500,000 pledged and there are 43 days remaining. So don’t be shy, pledge the $399 to get your own Hover 2 before they hit the market with a $699 retail price.

Feature image courtesy of Zero Zero Robotics

The post The Autonomous Selfie Drone Hover 2 Is Now on Kickstarter appeared first on Adorama Learning Center.

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Thu, 15 Nov 2018 20:14:19 +0000
The Autonomous Selfie Drone Hover 2 Is Now on Kickstarter

In a basement in midtown Manhattan sits a vast collection: the “morgue.” The nickname refers to the 600 cabinets worth of physical photos in the New York Times photo archive.

“The morgue contains pictures going back to the 19th century, many of which exist nowhere else in the world,” says Nick Rockwell, chief technology officer at the Times. “It’s a treasure trove of perishable documents.”

Now, the Times is working with Google Cloud to digitize and preserve their unique take on history, similar to what Google did for TIME Magazine.

Somewhere between six to eight million images are huddled up in the lowest floor of the Times building in Times Square. The images date from the late 1800s all the way through the 1990s and document most major events through a lens. Included on the back of these tangible shots is valuable information: captions for the photo, its photographer, location of the photo, which issue the photo was published, along with where it is stored in the “morgue.”

The photographs will be scanned and the accompanying notes will be logged into Google Cloud — the same basic platform you upload your personal and work photos to. Once completed, photo editors and reporters in the newsroom will have instant access to the immense library of photos and information, giving them as much context as possible.

As Jeff Roth, research and archive caretaker at the Times, put it, “Once the pictures are digitized, everything old is new again.”

Unfortunately, the online archive will not be available for public viewing. You’ll have to find your photos of the first New York City subway ride elsewhere, if you can.

Feature image via Shutterstock

The post The New York Times Is Using Google Cloud to Digitize Millions of Photos in Its Archive appeared first on Adorama Learning Center.

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Thu, 15 Nov 2018 17:00:36 +0000
The New York Times Is Using Google Cloud to Digitize Millions of Photos in Its Archive

You don’t have to have tons of money to enjoy being a world traveler and photographer these days. Traveling on a budget — and making it to your favorite photography destinations — is totally doable as long as you know how to do it. The power of the internet has actually helped budget-minded travelers, thanks to various travel comparison sites that help you get the best deals possible at any time.

But to really maximize the bang for your buck, here are some more tips for traveling on a budget:

1. Travel during off-peak times

Wherever you’re looking to go, research what the off-peak seasons are since it’ll be tremendously cheaper than going during peak season. Sure, the weather might not always be ideal, but your trip won’t cost as much, and it’s likely that your location won’t be packed with other tourists. You’ll save on airfare, hotels, and even on tickets to various attractions since it’s not the prime visiting time.

2. Use travel credit cards

The best way to fly on a budget is to sign up for credit cards that offer travel miles. This way, your flight may just be free. But there’s a catch, of course. You’ll have to use the credit card for your everyday purchases and then pay it off each month. You’ll have to be disciplined enough to pay the balance off entirely, and not just send in partial payments. But if you follow this, you’ll earn free miles and points that you’ll be able to use for your travels. This means you’ll save money on flights and possibly accommodations, depending on the type of credit card you get. Do a bit of research to see which card offers the best miles and points.

3. Skip the hotels

Hotels can get quite costly, especially if you’re spending more than a day or two. Instead of paying hotel feels, opt for accommodations like hostels, Airbnb, and other alternative options like home swapping. You’ll score great deals that’ll allow you to save money when traveling. With all the money you’re saving, you’ll be able to stretch your vacation funds even more.

4. Be a smart packer

To save money on baggage fees, learn to be a smart packer so that you can fit everything in a carry-on and avoid checked bag prices. This will take some practice at home so that you know exactly what your carry-on can fit. Create a list of necessities and then pack accordingly. Remember, you can wash your clothes wherever you go so there’s no need to pack too many items. Also, think about using dual-purpose bags for your clothing, photography gear, and travel equipment.

5. Choose a budget-friendly destination

If you’re on a tight budget, but want to travel, then you need to look into budget-friendly destinations. Some places are cheaper than others, so create a list of your top destinations and then do some research to see which is the least expensive to visit right now. Budget vacation destinations for 2018 include places like Zanibar, Saint Martin, Naples, Croatia, Greece, and Vancouver, according to Forbes.

6. Be flexible

In order to be a budget-savvy traveler, you’ll have to be as flexible as possible. Dropping plans to snatch up a great last minute deal can help you see the world and explore a destination you’ve never seen. Being flexible means you’re not tied to any plans and can purchase a great deal the minute you find one, flying on non-peak days, and taking advantage of any last-minute offers. When you’re willing and ready to travel anytime, you’re more likely to find better deals than being strict on your travel plans.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to see the world without breaking the bank.

Feature photo byrawpixelonUnsplash

The post 6 Secrets to Traveling on a Budget appeared first on Adorama Learning Center.

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Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:00:20 +0000
6 Secrets to Traveling on a Budget

Don’t look now, but winter’s coming. And ‘tis the season for capturing memorable holiday images, and also one that offers unique opportunities for shooting iconic pictures of snowy scenes, icy trees, and winter activities including skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, and, yes, snowball fights.

While most modern digital cameras and lenses no longer require winterization to function in frigid temperatures, there are a few things you can do that will greatly improve your chances of staying warm and keeping your equipment functioning. By all means, wear proper attire to prevent hypothermia and frostbite, protect cameras and lenses by wrapping them in sealable plastic bags to protect them against moisture and condensation before you bring them inside to thaw, and consider carrying your gear in a well-sealed waterproof case or water-resistant polyurethane backpack.

Finally, please peruse the carefully culled list of accessories below, all aimed at providing intrepid cold weather photographers with a more successful and satisfying wintertime shooting experience.

Avoid the painful experience of your hands getting stuck to your tripod:

Surui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod
Surui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod

Surui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod()

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Unlike metal tripod legs that can stick to your skin (ouch!) when the thermometer drops below freezing, the ones on this carbon fiber beauty can be grabbed without pain in frigid climes. This high-performance compact, lightweight (1.5 pound) travel tripod comes with a robust C-10 ball head with separate pan/tilt controls, collapses to a mere 11.8 inches thanks to its upward-folding legs, extends to 54.5 inches for eyelevel viewing, and has a removable center column that lets it get down to 4.3 inches for low-angle shooting. It features twist-type leg locks, an automatic leg angle lock system, and will support a maximum load of 13.2 pounds.

LensCoat LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers
LensCoat LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers

LensCoat LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers()

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You say your trusty metal tripod has no foam or plastic leg covers and you want to press it into service for cold weather shooting? No problem. This set of 3 tripod leg covers made of closed cell foam padding and neoprene will do the trick. They’re soft to the touch and not only prevent your hands from getting stuck to cold tripod legs, but also protect your tripod from minor nicks and scratches, protect your shoulders when you’re carrying it, and even provide a bit of camouflage when you’re shooting wildlifeon the trail. They’re made with Velcro fasteners for easy installation and removal.

Protective filters that do more than just protect your lens:

Sigma WR Ceramic Protector Filter
Sigma WR Ceramic Protector Filter

Sigma WR Ceramic Protector Filter()

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This unique filter takes lens protection to a higher level, employing a super-hard ceramic substrate that combines an impressive 99.7% transmittance value, a hardness greater than chemically strengthened glass, and greater flexibility than sapphire crystal. As a result it delivers superior shock, scratch, and impact resistance even under adverse winter conditions and it features a water-repellant, anti-static coating that resists water droplets, fingerprint smudging, and is easier to clean.

Hoya UV (Ultra Violet) Multi Coated Glass Filter
Hoya UV (Ultra Violet) Multi Coated Glass Filter

Hoya UV (Ultra Violet) Multi Coated Glass Filter()

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This high quality filter not only protects your lens from physical damage from ice, snow, debris, and impact but also absorbs ultraviolet rays that tend to produce excessive bluishness and/or haziness in snow scenes that include expanses of snow, ice, sky, or water. The filter is multicoated and has an average light transmission of over 97%, yielding sharp contrast and well-balanced color rendition.

A must-have accessory in winter or any other season:

Giottos Optical Lens Cleaning Bundle
Giottos Optical Lens Cleaning Bundle

Giottos Optical Lens Cleaning Bundle()

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A great travel accessory for those “Oh no!” moments that can occur any season, it comes complete with a 30ml bottle of Optical Cleaning Solution for all glass and plastic surfaces, a white microfiber cloth, a retractable Goat Hair brush, ten 100% cotton swabs with paper shafts, and a small (5.3-inch) Giotto’s Rocket Blaster blower made from natural rubber. This German-designed blower has a unique inlet valve design that prevents it from blowing back dust, making it suitable for cleaning delicate sensors.

Dealing with memory cards in extreme conditions:

SanDisk Extreme PRO® SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS‐II Card - 64GB
SanDisk Extreme PRO® SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS‐II Card – 64GB

SanDisk Extreme PRO® SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS‐II Card – 64GB ()

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In general, memory cards seldom fail due to exposure to very low temperatures, but if you want to be on the safe side, this high-speed high-performance card guaranteed to perform in temperatures ranging from -13-185 degrees F, is an excellent choice. It delivers shooting speeds up to a sizzling 260MB/s, records cinematic quality 4K and Full HD video, includes RescuePRO®Deluxe data recovery software, and it’s shockproof, waterproof, and X-ray proof as well as freeze-proof.

Gepe Card Safe Extreme
Gepe Card Safe Extreme

Gepe Card Safe Extreme()

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Protecting your precious image files while traveling is a top priority, and here’s a cool gadget that lets you do just that. It’s a watertight case that’s designed to store memory cards including Compact Flash (CF), Smart Media, Memory Stick, MMC, or SD cards in 4 specifically configured slots that hold them tightly and protect them against, humidity, dust, and electrostatic charges. The safe is divided into four separate compartments and uses special insert materials to prevent cards from being erased or damaged. A viewing window lets you see where each card is stored even when the box is closed, and the case can be snapped opened and closed even when wearing gloves. The 3.9 x 0.94 x 3.03-inch case is made of shock resistant polycarbonate with an anti-static interior, and is tested and certified to the European IPX-7 standard (water immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter).

Rugged, waterproof solutions to winter shooting challenges:

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-5
Olympus Stylus Tough TG-5

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-5()

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This rugged waterproof adventure camera is a great choice for winter shooting. It incorporates a fast, water-repellent f/2 lens (a 4X, 25-100mm equivalent f/2-4.9 zoom), sports an upgraded 12MP 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor for improved low-light performance and noise reduction, has sensitivity settings to ISO 12800, an upgraded Dual Quad Core TruePic VIII image processor that provides RAW file capture, 4K/30p Video capture, Full HD 120 fps high-speed video mode, a 25-point AF system, and a new Pro Capture mode that minimizes shutter lag. Other features: sensor-shift image stabilization, built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, plus eCompass and Manometer functions, and a new Field Sensor System that includes a temperature sensor and provides on-screen data displays. The TG-5 is waterproof to 50 feet, shockproof to 7 feet, crushproof to 220 pounds, and freeze-proof down to 14 degrees F, features a 3.0-inch 460k-dot OLED monitor, and delivers impressive burst capability up to 20 fps. Its 4 underwater modes include underwater macro and it offers 4 discrete macro modes including Focus Stacking and Focus Bracketing. Its robust, ergonomic body has convenient dial controls a handy zoom lever, and an accessory lock button.

SKB iSeries Injection Molded Waterproof Case II
SKB iSeries Injection Molded Waterproof Case II

SKB iSeries Injection Molded Waterproof Case II()

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This mil-spec case is designed to accommodate a pro DSLR body (without battery grip), up to 2 lenses, lens hoods, memory cards, plus accessories, and to provide unsurpassed protection under the most adverse conditions. The main lens compartment will hold a 24-70mm or 70-200mm lens by removing foam blocks, and will work with a wide variety of other lenses. The case is constructed of ultra high strength polypropylene copolymer resin and features a gasketed, waterproof, submersible design (IP67) that’s resistant to corrosion and impact damage. Other features: molded-in hinges, a patented trigger-release latch system, a snap-down over-molded cushion grip handle, and an automatic ambient pressure equalization valve (MIL-STD-648C). It comes with an SKB lifetime warranty.

Power up in the coldest weather:

Hahnel UniPal Extra Universal USB Charger
Hahnel UniPal Extra Universal USB Charger

Hahnel UniPal Extra Universal USB Charger ()

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Batteries lose capacity at sub-freezing temperatures, which is why it’s good idea to keep your camera in a warm place (like an insulated camera bag or inside your jacket) before you actually take it out to shoot. Another solution for keeping your power up to snuff is this cool charger with an internal power bank for Li-ion batteries that plugs into the USB port of your camera or phone. It will fully charge an iPhone in about 1.5 hours and has enough juice to almost fully charge a depleted DSLR battery. It can charge almost all 3.6v, 3.7v, 7.2v and 7.4v Li-ion batteries as well as AA batteries, has an LCD that displays charge status, a power on/off indicator, and fine adjustment wheels for easy adjustment of the charger contacts. Charging times: approximately 2 hours per 1000mAh.

Get yourself covered in rain or snow:

Think Tank Hydrophobia V3.0 Rain Cover
Think Tank Hydrophobia V3.0 Rain Cover

Think Tank Hydrophobia V3.0 Rain Cover ()

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Designed to protect your DSLR with 70-200mm f/2.8 or smaller lens from downpours, flying dust, and snow squalls, this rugged 3-layer camera/lens cover is seam-sealed and DWR coated for maximum protection, has an oversize window to view your LCD, and provides easy access to your camera controls. It comes with an integral, replaceable shoulder strap, can be mounted on a tripod or monopod, and comes with a rainproof front element cover, a non-slip adjustable lens strap, and a handy carrying pouch. A pocket built into the cover holds the optional eyepiece (Adorama price: $19.75 in versions to fit most current DSLR and mirrorless cameras) that’s required for full access to the viewfinder.

The ultimate in cold weather digital comfort:

Bright Tangerine ExoSkin Leather Armour Gloves
Bright Tangerine ExoSkin Leather Armour Gloves

Bright Tangerine ExoSkin Leather Armour Gloves()

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These professional fitted leather gloves are no substitute for heavy insulated hiking gloves, but they will protect your fingers and hands from the cold while you shoot, provide a secure grip, have touchscreen compatible fingertips, and a Terry Back of Thumb for wicking away liquids. Designed for maximum dexterity, flexibility, and durability, they will withstand the rigors of abuse in adverse weather conditions, prevent bruising, scratching, and abrasions, and feature a Velcro strap for fast accessibility while ensuring a snug fit.

Feature photo byJakob OwensonUnsplash

The post 12 Essential Accessories For Cold Weather Photography appeared first on Adorama Learning Center.

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Wed, 14 Nov 2018 17:08:50 +0000
12 Essential Accessories For Cold Weather Photography

While filming on an overseas trip may seem similar to capturing footage at home (although slightly more photogenic if you’re traveling to an exciting destination!), there are quite a few things you should be prepared for. Batteries can exhaust quickly (and you may not have handy adapters). Countries may restrict your number of cameras. And keeping your gear safe is hardly as simple as it should be.

Challenges aside, filming your travels is absolutely worth it. There’s no better way to relive your memories over and over than a travel film that transports you right back into those memories. And, if you’re going abroad to film a journalistic piece or documentary, even better. Global storytelling is an increasingly important way to build empathy and connect people across cultures.

As you plan for your next overseas film trip, here are 5 things to consider.

1. Check the country’s custom rules

When I first started out as a traveling filmmaker and journalist, I brought all my cameras and audio equipment on overseas trips. It never crossed my mind that certain countries would have rules and regulations on the number of cameras and types of gear I could bring with me. Unfortunately, sometimes they do.

I never suffered misfortunes due to my ignorance, but I now thoroughly check the laws before going from point A to B. As you plan your next overseas film trip, research customs requirements for each country to determine how many cameras you can bring with you. For example, Ireland’s customs laws have no limit on the number of cameras tourists can bring in (although if you’re filming commercially, you’ll likely have different regulations). But head to Mexico and you can only bring one photographic camera and one nonprofessional film or video camera.

All of this said, I’ve heard mixed reviews on whether countries truly enforce these rules for tourists. In many cases they’re reserved for film crews, but some tourists have been hassled by customs units, so it’s worth paying attention to and preparing ahead because in travel, just about anything and everything could go wrong.

2. Know the drone laws

If you’re planning to capture epic drone footage on your next trip, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched drone laws for the specific city or destination you’re visiting. Laws can be set from all different levels — city, state, country, etc. — but this map provides a helpful and quick look at locale-specific laws. As drone popularity increases, the laws have gotten stricter and stricter, so it’s best not to test your luck in forbidden zones.

If you are able to bring a drone on your trip — hooray! — I’d highly recommend the DJI Spark. This tiny little drone packs a big punch, with 1080 footage, a 2-axis stabilizer and app features that enable circular orbit, sweeping crane and zoom in/ out shots. While the continuously growing drone market definitely has higher-quality 4K options, the Spark is great for travel because of its lower price point (less than $400). Of course, I’m not saying you’d do anything to hurt your drone, but again, in travel, just about anything can go wrong!

3. Bring multiple extra batteries

When you’re filming overseas, it’s easy to get caught in the moment capturing establishing shot after establishing shot… all before realizing your batteries are powered out. During wedding films, I keep my batteries charging in a handy outlet throughout the day, but when you’re on-the-go for days on end, it’s hard enough to find a bathroom, let alone ample time to charge at a public outlet.

Depending on the camera, I bring at least one spare battery with me per day. For cameras like the Sony A7SII that are known “battery hogs,” I try to bring at least four or five. Plus a charger. Plus an adapter (you never know — you may just get lucky!).

It’s always better to be over-prepared so you can capture the moment versus underprepared to save a few bucks, so make sure to stock up on batteries (and bring them with you) for a fool-proof film trip.

4. Know your voltage

Voltage may sound tricky, but fear not: as long as you have a plug adapter, you have everything you need to charge your camera (i.e., you don’t need to worry about a converter for voltages). According to Smarter Travel, you’ll just need to check your camera charger to ensure it’s labeled for 110 and 220 volts, as the U.S., Canada and Caribbean use 110 volts but places like Europe, Australia and New Zealand use 220.

5. Don’t skimp on memory cards

Speaking of being prepared, make sure you bring plenty of memory cards with you on your travels. I typically take at least two extra 128GB cards (beyond what I’ve calculated I need) to be safe; I know I’ll use them eventually. You may be lucky enough to find camera shops in bigger cities, but it’s a lot less hassle — and sometimes less expensive — if you just bring your favorite memory cards from home.

I like to use a hard-shelled card holder to keep my memory cards organized in my backpack. This way, despite the hustle and bustle of travel, I know my footage will stay safe.

Filming on an overseas adventure may have you jumping through a hoop or two, but the hassle is absolutely worth the reward. If you’re already frustrated by the annoyance that is packing for a film trip abroad, we have you covered with this quick-and-easy packing guide.

Feature photo byThom HolmesonUnsplash

The post 5 Things to Know Before Taking a Film Trip Overseas appeared first on Adorama Learning Center.

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Wed, 14 Nov 2018 14:00:51 +0000
5 Things to Know Before Taking a Film Trip Overseas

The holiday season is here, and that means it is time for friends and extended family to get together, share meals, gifts, laughter, and even political views. As this may be the rare time of year when everyone gets together, it naturally leads to the photographer in the family wanting to get some good images of Aunt Clarice preparing her famous fava bean salad or Grandpa Joe reading stories to the little kids.

But in order to make your images last — and to capture the perfect photos that everyone will remember for years to come — follow these tips and tricks for capturing the best of your holiday get-togethers.

Let ’em know

family holiday dinner
Image via Shutterstock

Assuming you aren’t already famous/infamous among the family as the go-to person who always takes pictures at these holiday get-togethers, let people know ahead of time that you will be taking pictures. Many people will look at you like a vampire looks at daylight if you point a camera at them unexpectedly. They may think their outfit looks bad, they don’t have makeup on, they look tired, they have a pimple, or any number of reasons why they don’t want to be photographed. Forewarning people limits some of these reasons and may get people with moderate camera shyness to be OK with having their picture taken.

Shoot at eye level

family photo
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Shooting at eye level allows your camera to directly engage with your subject. This is especially true with the shortest of family members: the babies and children. When taking pictures of kids, crouch down to their level and see how much more you enter their world. I will, however, caution you to be on your guard as you have now put your camera within reach of their hands and feet which are not only dangerous, but can be grabby!

This is by no means a rule, more of a guideline. There are many circumstances where you may want to shoot from a high or low angle.

Learn your camera

photo camera settings
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Knowing your tools is one key to getting the most out of them. The others are practice and self evaluation. Take an hour to read some articles or watch some videos about how to specifically use your camera. If you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera and don’t know how to control the exposure (the brightness of the image) check out this introductory video on the exposure triangle.

Also, as a good tip, you won’t want to use a flash when photographing family events. Nothing can ruin a moment like having a bright light flash people in their eyes. It also makes subsequent pictures with natural reactions much less likely. In order to get pictures that aren’t blurry or too dark you will either need to raise your ISO or have a fast lens (a lens that allows a lot of light onto your sensor), or both.

And once you take all these pictures, review them and think about how you could have done better. If you don’t know what that is, ask a photographer friend or even ask on the internet. Though do be prepared for some potential PhotoShopping requests from some family members.

Get details

thanksgiving dinner table
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

While people are clearly the main subject, make sure not to neglect getting some of the details that make these events special. Is there a family member who makes the best apple pie you have ever had in your life? Make sure to get a picture of that pie (and follow these food photography tips for professional-looking photos). When you look back at these pictures, it will remind you of tasting that heavenly dish and the all the details of the shot will help bring you right back to that moment. Try and be aware of what makes these events special, personal, and timeless.

Be patient and as unseen as possible

family holiday gathering
Photo by Sharina Mae Agellon on Unsplash

Capturing real emotions are hard when people see you standing there with your camera trained on them like a sniper. Having a camera constantly pointed at someone can often make them uneasy and may not lead to the amazing interactions that you wish you could capture. One way to get around this is to position yourself a little bit outside of the circle of action and use a telephotos lens (a lens that gives you a more magnified image). And don’t keep the camera perennially glued to your head. Get your settings right, then keep the camera at your side, and wait until just before the right moment to raise your camera. You will have to be fast as moments are often fleeting, but this will lead to more natural, candid shots. Also, again, keep the flash off.

Get everyone all together

family dinner holiday gathering
Image via Shutterstock

Make sure to get the group photo while as many people are still at the event as possible, and hopefully before anyone has had one too many eggnogs. Group photos are a family gathering staple for a reason. Having several generations in one picture that captures the family in a moment in time are photos that you will treasure and be able to share with the young ones when they’re older. Plus, as time marches on, they will become dated and vintage which, as hipster as it is, will always be cool.

Be present, and put the camera down sometimes

family holiday gathering
Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

It should be obvious, but actually enjoying the experience of being around your family members is better than having a million photos of them. I know I have suffered from this, but I have learned to balance the amount of time I spend taking pictures and the amount of time I put the camera away and just hang out with the people I care about.

The post Photographing Family Gatherings: How to Get the Best Holiday Photos appeared first on Adorama Learning Center.

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Tue, 13 Nov 2018 17:00:18 +0000
Photographing Family Gatherings: How to Get the Best Holiday Photos

Fall is officially upon us, and if the copious amounts of pumpkin spice didn’t give you a hint, the cooler temperatures and shorter days just might. But what most everyone looks forward to about fall is the beautiful window of color that blankets the nation, as the trees transition for winter. Warm hues of red, orange, and yellow become commonplace for a few weeks, creating a paradise for photographers and nature lovers alike. However, with a country as massive as the United States, it can be hard to pinpoint the best spots to visit, especially when the color clock is ticking fast. So here is a list of the top ten Insta-worthy fall destinations in the United States, going from east to west.

But before you scroll down and view the list, here is a quick tip to game plan and see these beautiful fall destinations at the best times. Locations that are more northern or are in higher elevations tend to transition into color first and fastest. Here is an helpful, interactive map that predicts when color peaks at what time throughout the country.

Now, to the list.

Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, Maine

acadia national park
Photo via Shutterstock

This area in the farthest northeast region of the United States is consistently ranked as one of the most jaw-dropping locations for fall color. Bar Harbor, Maine is the gateway to Acadia National Park, a gorgeous national park known for its rugged coastline and beautiful lighthouses. Mix in the warm fall hues, and you have a recipe for brilliant photos. Simply travel by car down the picturesque 40-mile Acadia Byway or up the park’s highest point, Cadillac Mountain, for a fall experience you won’t forget.

The White Mountains, New Hampshire

The White Mountains, New Hampshire
Photo by Nathan Lee Allen

The White Mountains, are simply magical, and are sometimes overlooked, but should not be forgotten as one of the top fall destinations in the United States. The region lies directly above the famous Lakes Region of New Hampshire, and towns like Lincoln, Woodstock, and North Woodstock are its central hubs. The area is dotted with several quaint ski resorts, and home to one of the most beautiful highways in the United States, the Kancamagus Highway or Highway 112. This Highway carves through the heart of the White Mountains and in peak fall color, is one of the most breathtaking roads you can travel. Photographers have the chance for intimate road shots or sweeping mountain vistas, covered with color. You can’t go wrong with the White Mountains, and it is a true destination for fall lovers.

The Green Mountains, Vermont

The Green Mountains, Vermont
Photo via Shutterstock

Vermont is known for its tasty maple syrup and beautiful Green Mountains that attract winter sport enthusiasts from around the world. But that combination of beautiful mountains and maple trees creates a mecca for fall color. The deep reds and oranges in this area are truly remarkable, and if you take the Green Mountain Byway, from Waterbury to Stowe, you have the perfect opportunity to experience this state in all its fall splendor, surrounded by charming farms and towns that harken to a more simple time. But the cherry on top of this fall destination is that the Green Mountain Byway ends on top of Mount Mansfield, the state’s highest peak, with sweeping views of the entire range.

The Adirondacks, New York

Adroniacks New York
Photo byMacKenzi MartinonUnsplash

The Adirondacks offer a fall escape from one of the world’s busiest and most prominent cities, with an outdoor playground that is the largest natural wilderness region in the eastern United States. In the fall, this area explodes with color, with bright reds, oranges, and yellows from the oak, maple, birch, and beech trees that grow in this region. Take a stroll down the 170-mile Olympic Trail that connects Lake Ontario to Lake Champlain for a fall experience that is as good as it gets.

The Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains Tennessee
Photo via Shutterstock

There is a reason why this region is home to one of the busiest national parks in the nation. In fall, the Smoky Mountains truly shine, with some of the most vibrant fall colors you will see. A southern subsection of the Appalachian Range, the Smokies are home to some of the largest mountains in the eastern United States. The park begins at famous Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a fun, quirky mountain town in the heart of the mountains, and the park road weaves through the Smokies for some incredible views and access to hundreds of trails that take you deep into these colorful mountains. Summit destinations like Clingmans Dome, one of the park’s highest spots, is a perfect spot for sunrise and a purely fall experience you have to see to believe.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Linn Cove Viaduct
Photo byWes HicksonUnsplash

The Blue Ridge Parkway, beginning south of the Great Smoky Mountains and located in the beautiful state of North Carolina, offers one of the most beautiful drives in the country. The road is not only beautiful in fall, but is a true engineering marvel. Stretches like the Blue Ridge “Aqueduct” were built to wind and tower above the trees, and offer a birds eye view to some of the most magical fall colors in the country. Sourwoods, populars, and maples offer every kind of red and crimson hue and are striking beautiful, especially in the morning, when the fog routinely covers the mountains, and swirls around these colorful trees. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a perfect southern Appalachian getaway and a world class fall destination for photographers and nature lovers alike.

The Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies
Photo by Nathan Lee Allen

Aspens in the fall. Enough said.

There is simply nothing that beats peak fall season in the Colorado Rockies. The massive Rocky Mountain range is blanketed by aspen trees with their distinct white bark and yellow leaves that dance in the wind and glitter like golden coins. Add the deep contrast of evergreen, blue spruce, and ponderosa pine, and you have a recipe for a beautiful photograph.

Towns like Aspen and Telluride are some of the best destinations for aspen lovers, and the San Juan and Elk Ranges, with their massive 14,000 foot mountains like the famous Maroon Peak and Mount Sneffels, look stunning, coated in yellow and green. World famous landmarks, like Maroon Bells and the Dallas Divide, are landscape photography meccas, and should be visited by anyone serious about landscape photography. Simply put, fall in Colorado is a must for those looking for brilliant fall color in the mountains.

Zion National Park, Utah

zion national park
Photo via Shutterstock

Fall in Utah and the Southwest is one of the most unique you will ever experience. Most do not think about southern Utah as a fall foliage destination due to its desert landscape, but Zion is unique in that it has a thriving desert environment, fed by the powerful Virgin River, which creates a thriving oasis on its massive canyon floor. In the fall, the thousands of Cottonwoods that call the canyon floor home turn bright yellow and offer an incredible contrast to the massive orange, pink, and red sandstone walls and cliffs of Zion Canyon. It almost doesn’t seem real, but that colorful contrast at photo destinations like The Narrows and The Watchman are a marvel to photograph and will be at the top of your fall portfolio.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico
Photo via Shutterstock

They don’t call New Mexico the “Land of Enchantment” for nothing. While this state is known for its beautiful desert landscapes, it also has thriving mountain communities that come to life with color in the fall. Taos is one of these places.

This beautiful city is marked by studios and art galleries, partly because of its vibrant fall season. Home to golden aspens and bright yellow and crimson cottonwoods, Taos is home to some of the most beautiful fall colors in the southern United States. To truly experience all these colors for yourself, take the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway loop from Taos to Eagle Nest and Angle Fire. The drive is as beautiful as any, and if you’re lucky, you may spot a bear or elk along the way.

The Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Columbia River Gorge
Photo via Shutterstock

The Columbia River Gorge, carved by the massive Columbia River and on the outskirts of Portland and Mount Hood National Forest, is a Pacific Northwest gem and known for beautiful, powerful waterfalls and lush, temperate rainforests. But when fall arrives, the large population of ash, firs, and maple trees turn, and the golden and orange hues mixed with the lush greens from the temperate rainforest create a picture-perfect fall destination unlike any in the world. Imagine hundreds of waterfalls framed by bright greens and yellows. That’s what you experience when you visit Columbia River Gorge in fall. It is truly a sight to behold and a destination you have to visit and photograph when fall season rolls around.

Feature photo by Nathan Lee Allen

The post The Top Ten Insta-Worthy Fall Destinations in the United States appeared first on Adorama Learning Center.

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The Top Ten Insta-Worthy Fall Destinations in the United States
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