The Improve Photography Podcast is a free audio recording, published once per week, where Jim answers photography questions that are sent in by the Improve Photography community.
NOTE: If you read my posts via email or RSS, click the title of this post to come to the website, where you can use the audio player to play this podcast episode (free!).
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For iPhone/iPad/iPod listeners – Grab your phone or device and go to the iTunes store and search “Improve Photography Podcast.” This will help you to download the free Podcasts App (produced by Apple) and then subscribe to the show from within that app. Every time I produce a new episode, you’ll get it downloaded right on your iDevice.
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For those who don’t have a mobile device – You can always listen to the show by clicking the audio file at the top of this episode.
Guide to Episode One
[1:35] Choosing Photoshop or Lightroom for your first photo editing program
Jim recommends that most users will find Lightroom 4 to be the best program to get started in photo editing. Lightroom is simple to use and very powerful for doing basic Camera Raw-like edits on photos. One of the best features in Lightroom is using presets, which allow users to quickly stylize many photos.
If you don't have the budget to purchase Lightroom, you might consider Adobe Creative Cloud or Photoshop Elements.
[5:05] How to accept positive criticism about your photography, while avoiding getting down
Jim mentions that anyone in the Improve Photography community who happens to live in the Boise area is welcome to use the Improve Photography Studio in Caldwell during business hours if you need somewhere to shoot during the cold winters. Contact Jim or Dustin to schedule a free shoot at the studio.
The key to accepting criticism of your photography is to be humble and accept the fact that sometimes the person, even if they express their ideas in a rude manner, the person giving the critique may have ideas for you to improve. However, it's tough to be humble when you've poured your heart and soul into creating good photos. So, Dustin recommends letting the water roll off the duck's back (which Jim thinks is a funny analogy), and not letting yourself get dragged down by negative brats. No matter how good you get, someone will always find fault with your work, because photography is entirely subjective.
[11:02] A listener in New Jersey asks how we would recommend setting up flashes to photograph a choir group
Jim mentions that the listener's thought to use a Lightsphere may not be the best idea. Jim said that the cost of the Lightsphere when he saw it was around $60. The cost right now on Amazon is $45, but this is not one of the products that Jim recommends. Instead, Jim uses the Rogue Flashbender for shooting on-camera flash.
But for photographing a choir, Jim recommends setting up two flashes fired remotely. The flashes should fire into silver reflective umbrellas and then bounce the light back onto the group. For specific flash gear that Jim recommends, check his flash gear list here.
[17:35] A listener from Colorado asks for basic tips on shooting concert photography
Dustin recommends using a zoom lens instead of a prime lens, as it will afford the photographer quick changes in zoom length and type of photo. Jim recommends shooting in manual or using lots of exposure compensation to get creative exposures that capture the smoke and lighting of the location.
[22:05] A listener from Scotland asks what cell phone camera is king of the hill
Jim says the Samsung Galaxy S III and the iPhone 5 are the two best cell phone cameras on the market right now. Dustin and Jim agree that the iPhone 5 has a slightly better camera than the comparable Android version. In the answer for this question, Jim mentioned his Online Intermediate Photography Class.
[27:38] How to calibrate multiple monitors for photo editing
Jim recommends the Spyder 4 camera calibration device as it is easy to use and relatively inexpensive.
Dustin is mostly jealous that the listener has four monitors 🙂
[29:43] The listener has a Lowepro Fastpack camera bag and wants to know what Jim and Dustin would recommend as a pro camera bag
Jim recommends the Clik Elite Pro camera bag. It holds tons of gear including pro lenses, has a chest and waist strap, and is less expensive than other bags with similar features. Oh, and it looks awesome!
[33:20] A listener from Utah wants to know if there are good alternatives to the heavy 70-200mm f/2.8 lens
Jim and Dustin mention the 70-200mm f/4 lens as an alternative, but it doesn't have the fast aperture of the f/2.8 version of the lens. There really is no silver bullet for this answer, but you may look at ways to carry the camera better so that it doesn't weigh you down so much. Jim likes the Black Rapid RS-5 camera strap to take off the weight of the camera.
Dustin mentions that purchasing a battery grip for your camera can also make the camera more comfortable to hold.
[38:33] The Improve Photography Minute
Jim and Dustin are working OVERTIME to fix issues on the website that have happened this week.
The Improve Photography Facebook group is about to reach 50,000 fans
Improve Photography is working on a head-to-head comparison of all the online print labs
[39:50] Dustin's Plug of the week is Snapseed, an iPhone/iPad based photo editing app. It's awesome!
[42:55] Jim's Plug of the Week is Pec-Pads (available on Amazon.com). These one-time-use cleaning pads are perfect for cleaning a camera sensor or lens.
Thanks for watching the Improve Photography Podcast! Submit your photography question for the podcast at ImprovePhotography.com/podcastquestion. One person who submits a question for the podcast this week will win a free online photography class.