Improve Photography Roundtable (EP-180)

Questions of the Week:

  • Nelson Tapias I just purchased a 3 stop Breakthrough ND filter (on your recommendation) and would love some tips on using it with speed lights for portraits. Or any ideas for its use. Thanks!
  • David J. Long  Increasingly I see people being used in landscape shots. Pros and cons of this practice? Are there any best practices? Thanks and looking forward to your pics from China.
  • Dieter Horst I switched from canon to fuji, and am having problems with getting the correct focus. Do different systems have different tricks for af?
  • Jeremy S. Lanthorn How large of a shoot through umbrella will a single flash light up? How big can you go before you need a studio strobe or multiple speedlights?
  • Jim Barker Could you discuss the benefits of using back button focus mate?
  • Erik Anderson I will be attending my first photography workshop in 10 days, I would like to hear some advice from the IP team on what should I expect (I understand mileage may vary) and best practices for maximizing this opportunity.
  • Stephen Nolly Using grain to add “sharpness”


  • Great courses – Use offer code “improve” to get 1 month free!
  • Brent Rents Lenses www.brentrentslenses.com.  Use offer code “improve” to get 15% off your first order.
  • Adam Kley What step do you take to protect your gear from theft when traveling? Particularly two situations 1) the gear you carry in a backpack or bag outside and 2) the gear you leave at the hotel/living area
  • Michiel Vanhoudt Does crop sensor affect minimal focus distance?
  • Anthony Fuccella My wife an I would like to edit/organize images from our Drobo at the same time on two different computers.
  • David Foggin What advice would you give for someone with social anxiety on starting to shoot people?
  • Adam Kley What step do you take to protect your gear from theft when traveling?
  • Debbie Graham-Stephenson Any tips for taking pictures of fire at dusk?
  • Dave Coulter I'm going to start (or try) panoramic's. Any suggestions? Do I need to invest in anything beyond my tripod, and BallHead?
  • Grey Proctor Nick Page, do you ever use ND or color temp flash gels at your events, like weddings?
  • Benaroo Ben When traveling international where will you put your tripod.
  • Tony Hicks Taking apart and cleaning your tripod is it necessary and what's the process?
  • Jenny Wu Directing models on set in an editorial style shoot- how to direct experienced models vs newer models.
  • Dave Coulter Why does Jim H. like crop sensors for landscapes but Nick P. likes FF?
  • Colin Mayer Yes. Any tips for taking photos of the moon on cloudy nights, especially with ice haze?
  • Elliot Mullet I was listening to old episodes of Tripod and Jim mentioned something about photography trips and turning in your mileage to receive tax credit and thereby paying for the trip. Could you guys elaborate on that?
  • Brian Pex Wow. Pretty soon it will be 200th show. Any big plans for the big 200th??
  • Ron Lawrence I would like to see an in-depth review of On1.
  • Rick O Shea – What is the AE-L / AF-L button and how could we use it in a real photo shoot?

Doodads of the Week!

9 thoughts on “Improve Photography Roundtable (EP-180)”

  1. Nick,
    kudos on the correct pronunciation of my name, thanks for the tips on dealing with my social anxiety. Yes, it was portrait photography.

    Keep up the great work.

  2. Nelson Tapias

    Hey I.P. crew,

    Thanks for answering my ND filter question. I was definitely trying to utilize the filter when shooting in bright midday light, and from my recent trials, it’s been good. I think I need more practice with it so that I have more consistent results. Ultimately I just don’t want a bright background to distract from my subject.

    The filter (Breakthrough X4 Neutral Density) itself is really nice and it feels great in your hands due to the scalloped edges. It also has no color cast (that I can see), many reviews on it say this as well. As far as focusing, it has not been an issue with my camera (Nikon D750) even close to sunset and indoors. Here’s a link to what I purchased if anyone is interested. http://breakthrough.photography/product/x3-neutral-density/

    I really liked Nick’s ending point that no amount of flash will make a midday photo look good.

    Thanks again everyone,


  3. A while ago someone had a question about calibrating their monitor and having the display set on zero and the colors still not looking correct. I believe I understand what was going on. She was using the graphics software that came with her computer monitor or laptop to try to calibrate the monitor – not the built in Windows software. The base setting using the graphics card software is zero. These setting can be reached by right clicking the desktop and choosing graphics properties.

    Another issue that I have come across that I never heard of until now is whether to use a monitor that is matte or glossy! I bought a new laptop and the colors looked wrong after it was calibrated using the Windows software. What I found out was that my screen is matte and that is why the colors don’t look the same. My MacBook and HP laptop colors have more contrast and are more vivid. It wasn’t until days of frustration that I discovered there is a big difference between matte and glossy displays.

  4. Hi! I would like to have an episode fully dedicated to selling stock photos. I recently opened an account at Alamy and I will upload some photos i’ve taken over the years. This is my first experience as a contributor and I would like some tips on how to sell stock photography (keyworking techniques, keywording software, caption techniques, what agencies to consider, etc.).


  5. I’m with Kristy! Or even better, give away a $220.00 38” Glow Parapop softbox (even if it’s only 36 “) to a loyal listener from back in the day. 🙂

  6. Back button focus
    I moved over to back button focus and I have never looked back. it separates the to functions when taking a photo.
    I use it for all types of photography, landscape, portrait and macro. If you want continuous focusing you just keep your finger on the button. If want a fixed fouse point let go of the button.
    There are a couple of disadvantages:
    Two buttons to operate instead of one mutli function shutter button, but I am carring out to operations when I am taking a photo, so for me it is lodical to use two buttons;
    Other people not knowing how to use it, if I am passing my camera over to a non photographer I switch into Auto mode which switches it back to the standard operation.

    Back button for ever.

  7. I have been using back button focusing ever since I first bought mt first Nikon … D300 … and have never looked back. As one who primarily shoots wildlife and sports it is a God send “best thing ever” … I to call it “superior”. I cannot image anyone who does that type of photography not using it. Most pros I know of swear by it. There are no hassles to setting it up . Sorry, but Jim is out to lunch.

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