Getting Creative With Your Camera and a Glass Sphere

If you’ve never heard of Lensball before, don’t sweat it. I had not heard that particular term used until now, either. I’d be willing to bet, however, that you’ve seen some of the cool shots people are taking with these accessories though.

Ilia Alexanderson’s YouTube video has some straight-to-the-point tips on ways you can get started with your new toy. He makes a great point about composition and reflections (the main thing that a Lensball does). A Lensball allows you to play around with what is essentially two frames in one image, and this deliberate two-frame composition is what’s going to help create an eye-catching image. You have your background, whatever that may be, and then you have your flipped scene being shown inside the sphere. Choosing an appropriate location or subject that allows the background and the reverse image to compliment each other (with lines, colors, or lighting) leaves you with a pretty sweet shot.  

Something that is quite a popular image style on Instagram is a really simple concept that anyone can experiment with. If you’re a fan of eye-catching images or shooting with a very shallow depth of field, this might be for you. A cell phone can do well if you’re looking for a cool shot and you’re in a pinch, too, so get creative.

Is this something that you’ve tried before? Surely you’ve seen these kinds of images circulating Instagram, usually rocking a sunset or ocean reflection of some kind? Personally, I think they are pretty sweet. Anything that takes something incredibly simple (a sphere of glass) and allows people to put it to work and create something that people want to see is always awesome in my book.

via Fstoppers


Quick Tip: Save the Quick Collection

Photofocus Quick Tip Lightroom

Quick Tip: Save the Quick Collection

The Quick Collection in Lightroom is designed to help you quickly group photos together for a short-term need. But what do when a quick collection suddenly needs to become permanent? You simply save the quick collection as a normal collection, as demonstrated in this quick tip.

Want more tips like this? Check out my “Lightroom Quick Tips” course on GreyLearning, part of the “Mastering Lightroom” bundle of courses.

Tim Grey is a photographer and educator who enjoys traveling the world in search of interesting experiences and photographic opportunities. He has written eighteen books for photographers, has published more than one hundred video training courses, and has had hundreds of articles published in magazines such as Digital Photo Pro and Outdoor Photographer, among others. Tim also publishes the daily (and free) Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, the monthly Pixology digital magazine, and a wide variety of video training courses through his GreyLearning website. Tim teaches through workshops, seminars, and appearances at major events around the world. You can learn more at


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Google’s AI-powered Google Lens rolls out on iOS


Google’s AI-powered Google Lens rolls out on iOS

Google in a tweet on Thursday said its Google Lens visual search feature will roll out to iOS devices over the coming week as part of update to the company’s Google Photos app.

Announced in a post to the official Google Photos Twitter account, Lens started rolling out to iOS users today in the app’s latest version 3.15. The release is available for some users now and will be accessible to all comers within a week, Google said.

Building on artificial intelligence and computer vision technology developed in part for Google Goggles, Lens is a visual search tool that integrates Google Assistant assets to recognize objects in live and previously captured images.

Shown off at Mobile World Congress earlier this month, Lens can distinguish flower types, parse text from business cards, pull up restaurant reviews, create calendar entries and more.

For example, pointing a smartphone camera at a historical monument will trigger Assistant to retrieve details on the site, which appear in an onscreen overlay. Alternatively, aiming Lens at a business card or photograph can trigger a procedure that allows users to create a new phonebook contact.

Subsequent twitter posts today offer tips on how to best take advantage of Lens. Users can learn more about landmarks by tapping on the Lens icon, for example, or copy and take action on text seen in a photo. Text prompts can be used to navigate to websites, get directions, add events to a calendar, call phone numbers and more. Google also presents the option of pointing Lens at a book cover to find online reviews and synopses.

Initially available on Pixel devices, the feature made its way to Android devices through Google Assistant in the Google Photos app last week. At the time, Google said iOS support would be coming soon, but failed to detail a specific launch timeline.

Apple does not currently market visual search functionality in Siri, though the Photos app does boast image recognition features capable of distinguishing people, objects and locations. The iPhone maker also introduced image recognition capabilities into ARKit 1.5, allowing developers to build out features like interactive movie posters and book covers.

Google Photos is a free 212.1MB download from the iOS App Store.

via AppleInsider

I’m Not Really a Photographer: I’m Actually an IT Guy :)

Well… I am a geek so I actually like it, but there as well other views like in below article:

“I genuinely think that being part IT specialist has become fundamental in being a photographer: the technology has advanced so far and it’s much more capable due to computers, chips, processors, and innovations. But also, it just takes time away from shooting photos. I mean, that’s the reason why you bought the camera and the lens in the first place, right? Some people don’t even update their phone’s apps all the time but they’re more likely to do that vs updating their camera’s firmware. So with all this technology built in and Wifi, Bluetooth, etc. I really start to wonder why cameras these days cannot be activated to download the firmware themselves and update it per the lens and camera. I mean, wouldn’t it just make sense to add a little thing to the menu that checks your firmware and ensures that it works? Further, it would give you the option of updating or not rather than forcing it?”

More here on all the IT checklists a modern photographer need to run before a gig:


Shooting travel videos with a drone: here are some do’s and don’ts

So, you want to take your drone to your travels and add a new perspective to your travel videos. It sounds like fun, but before you do it, you need to be prepared. Mark Wallace from Adorama TV has brought his DJI Mavic Pro to travels around the world and he’s learned a lot about shooting travel videos from the air. In this video, he shares his experience and the lessons he’s learned. They will not only help you get great drone shots on your travels, but also help you do it safely and legally.

Mark divides the “do’s and don’ts” into two categories: the first group refers to flying tips, and the second one helps you choose the additional gear to bring along. So, let’s get started.

Flight tips

The first and the foremost, although Mark mentions it a bit later: do find a big open field when you fly the drone for the first time. Even if you have used a flight simulator before (or have at least played video games), take some time to practice first.

Do hold your shots for longer than you might think. When you find the place you like, set the drone to the position you want and get a slow, consistent shot. It will give you more of the usable footage for the final video.

Don’t annoy the locals and the tourists. If you want to fly your drone above a beach or a city, make sure that people (and the laws) are okay with that. Don’t fly too low, but keep the drone high enough (around 100 feet) so it’s not clearly visible and noisy.

Do check the laws before you fly your drone. For example, a lot of world heritage sites or national parks don’t allow the use of drones. Flying a drone in some capital cities might even send you to jail if you film some government objects. So, do your homework before you travel and before your drone takes the flight.

Do pay attention to the gusty wind warnings on your drone. A strong wind might blow your drone out of the sky, and it’s a very expensive mistake.

Don’t fly a drone out of your hotel window. If you crash the drone while trying to get it through the window (and it is very likely to happen), it will crash onto the sidewalk and might hurt someone.

Gear tips

The second part of the video is dedicated to the extra gear you should bring along if you want to shoot videos with the drone. Mark suggests you buy a Fly More package because regardless of the drone you use, you’ll need extra batteries.

In the package, you’ll get the charger that lets you charge up to four batteries at once, which is handy and saves you time. It also has a USB port, so you can also charge the remote, smartphone or tablet.

You’ll also need spare propellers. They get damaged easily, and if you only damage one of them, you can’t fly the drone. So, it’s important to have the replacement propellers at hand.

When traveling with the drone, you also need a good case or a bag. Remember to protect the gimbal before you put the drone in the case so it doesn’t get damaged.

The final piece of advice is not to take your drone case as carry-on luggage, at least not before you check with the airline if it’s allowed. In many cases, the drone needs to be in the checked luggage.

Hopefully, you’ve learned something new and useful from this video that will make your travel and drone shooting comfortable, safe and successful.

[Drone Do’s and Don’ts: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace | Adorama]

via -DIY Photogra…

How to Capture Better Videos With Your iPhone

Apple’s newest iPhones can capture high-quality 60 FPS 4K video, but there are a lot of other factors that need to be taken into account to make excellent videos that can compete with what you can do with a traditional camera.

Lighting, stabilization, settings, and composition are all elements that can make or break a video, and in our latest guide on YouTube, we’re sharing a series of tips you can use to make your videos better than ever.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Without shelling out any cash, there are certain settings you can change to make sure you’re getting the best quality video out of your iPhone.

Open up the Settings app, choose the "Camera" section, and you can set your video recording quality. On iPhone X and iPhone 8, you can capture 4K video at 60 frames per second. On older iPhones like the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7, your options will be more limited, with 4K video topping out at 30 frames per second.

You can also improve your videos with simple Auto Exposure and Auto Focus locking features, which will prevent abrupt changes while you’re filming. After setting exposure with drag gestures on the iPhone’s screen when using the Camera app, hold a finger on the focal point until the AE/AF lock banner pops up.

You’ll get even more control over settings using a third-party app like FiLMic Pro ($14.99), which lets you set parameters like exposure, white balance, color, aspect ratio, and focus while also giving you live tools for monitoring video and making adjustments.

Lighting is a huge factor when it comes to video quality, so shooting outdoors in daylight or in a well-lit room will improve your videos immensely if you can’t shell out for a lighting setup, and you can spice up your videos with iPhone camera capabilities like time lapse and slow motion. Stabilization is as important as lighting – brace your elbows or invest in a tripod or a handheld gimbal.

If you’re going to be taking a lot of video with your iPhone, you might want to check out something like the $130 DJI Osmo Mobile 2, which uses a gimbal to smooth out and counteract camera shake. It’s not for everyone given its high price point, but it’s worth the investment if you’re aiming for quality video that’s shake free. For a cheaper option, check out the Manfrotto Pixi Mini Tripod, which is just $24.95 (with an additional $9.95 for the mount).

For a full rundown on all of our video tips, make sure to watch the video above, which, fittingly, was filmed entirely on an iPhone X. Did we leave anything out? Let us know your own tips and tricks for capturing better video in the comments.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer’s Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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via MacRumors