50 episodes

The latest stories from the Phoblographer brought to you using the power of AI. We've been working for over a decade to bridge the gap between art and tech in the photo world.

The Phoblographer Daily The Phoblographer

    • Arts
    • 2.9 • 7 Ratings

The latest stories from the Phoblographer brought to you using the power of AI. We've been working for over a decade to bridge the gap between art and tech in the photo world.

    Potential to Be Great. Lowepro PhotoSport Backpack Pro 55L Review

    Potential to Be Great. Lowepro PhotoSport Backpack Pro 55L Review

    Hiking camera backpacks are fast becoming one of the more sought-after pieces of gear. More often than not, manufacturers overlook the best qualities of hiking backpacks. Lowepro is no stranger to this market. The Lowepro PhotoSport Backpack is the company’s newest offering. It’s made with recycled and upcycled materials which are in line with their green initiative. The backpack is lightweight and versatile. So how does it fare? Keep reading to find out more.
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    Table of Contents
    Too Long Didn’t Read
    Pros and Cons
    Pros
    Cons
    Gear Used
    Tech Specs
    Innovations
    Ergonomics
    Build Quality
    Ease of Use
    Conclusions of the Lowepro PhotoSport 55L Backpack Review
    Likes
    Dislikes
    Too Long Didn’t Read
    The Lowepro PhotoSport Pro 55L Backpack is a very comfortable backpack that can carry a lot of stuff. They put a lot of thought into designing this bag for photographers. Plus it’s made primarily of recycled materials. The shoulder straps and back panel aren’t as breathable as they could be for long hikes. Although it isn’t perfect, there’s a lot they got right.
    Pros and Cons
    Pros
    Lightweight
    Sternum strap fit is great
    Shoulder straps and waist belt are comfortable
    Plenty of versatility
    Offers both front and back panel access to gear
    Can carry a lot of stuff
    Constructed with recycled materials
    It comes with a waterproof cover
    Cons
    Lack of breathability on the back panel and shoulder straps
    Materials used don’t feel as premium as the $469 price tag suggests
    The shoulder strap height is difficult to adjust
    There’s not a lot of room for bulky camera lenses
    Main compartment zippers are not weather-resistant
    Gets dirty easily
    Gear Used
    We tested the Lowepro Photosport 55L backpack with a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 50mm f1.2L lens attached and a Canon 85mm f1.2L II lens.
    Tech Specs
    All tech specs are provided by the manufacturer.
    Weight: 6.61lbs
    Internal Dimensions: 3.39 x 7.48 x 25.20 in
    External Dimensions: 16.14 x 14.17 x 27.56 in
    Total Volume: 57 L
    Main Color: Gray
    Camera Compartment Dimensions: 11.42 x 5.91 x 8.27 in
    Gearbox Exterior Dimensions: 12.40 x 6.50 x 8.86 in
    Gearbox Interior Dimensions: 11.42 x 5.91 x 8.27 in
    Primary Device: Camera
    Size: S/M and M/L
    Device Volume: 8 L
    Exterior Material: 420D nylon w/ Carbonate (recycled)
    Interior Material: 200D polyester (recycled)
    Innovations
    The Lowepro PhotoSport backpack is not very innovative. Its design closely models that of a hiking backpack. The removable top panel and inner cube with the extra straps are thoughtful touches for added versatility.
    Ergonomics
    The top panel of the PhotoSport backpack houses both external and internal mesh pockets. These will fit small items like keys, SD cards, a wallet, a cell phone, and other personal items.
    You will find a drawstring enclosure underneath the top panel to access more oversized items like a coat. This is also the easiest way to insert the removable cube.
    The top panel and inner cube are removable and can be worn with the included straps as a cross-body pouch. The straps can also double as a camera strap
    On the front is a T-shaped pouch that can secure a jacket or cardigan. Unzip the front lower panel for access to the removable cube.
    There is a zippered pocket on the bottom of the front panel. It will fit large items like tennis shoes, a large water bottle, and even a jacket.
    Each side of the Lowepro PhotoSport has a stretchy pouch and clips to secure items like a tripod. A smaller water bottle will also fit.
    Here is a view of the backside of the PhotoSport bag. A grab handle is located at the top. The padded shoulder straps and sternum straps are adjustable to accommodate most heights.
    Located underneath the shoulder straps is the back panel access. The removable cube can be secured facing either the front or the back for easy access. It will fit a DSLR with a 70-200 lens attached and an additional lens or two, depe

    • 10 min
    7 Terrible Reasons to Not Pay a Professional Photographer

    7 Terrible Reasons to Not Pay a Professional Photographer

    If you’ve ever done photography as a side-gig or as a profession, then you’ve probably heard a lot of excuses why you shouldn’t pay a photographer at all. All of these reasons are always terrible. Back in 2010 not too long after I founded this website, I rounded up a few reasons. Then in 2014, I shared more reasons. The year is now 2022 and as much as things change, a lot of them still stay the same. Here are some terrible reasons to not pay a professional photographer.
    “I’ve Already Got a Friend with a Camera”
    The old saying goes that you’ll pay for a professional photographer, but you’ll pay a lot more for an amateur. And that remains to be true today. This is an excuse that I’ve personally heard before. It’s the idea that you can get good enough photos from a friend with a camera. Amongst the many terrible reasons to not pay a professional photographer, it will always reflect on you. A professional photographer will find ways to make your image stand out a lot more than anything else out there. They’ll work with you on a unique, creative idea. And ideally, they won’t just sit around and capture a scene. Instead, they’ll work with you to create one.
    Professional photographers years ago just used to have access and a little bit of gear. That’s still the case today, but as the lower end of the standard has come up, so too has the higher end. We’ve worked to profile these types of photographers in our No Photoshop series. But there are lots more that we’ve talked to as well.
    I’ll Just Get the Photos Off Instagram or Google
    Instagram and Google are a whole different ball game. If you’re getting a photo off of Instagram, then legally you need to embed it using the HTML code. This is best done on websites of some sort. It’s not like TikTok where videos are just ripped off and go anywhere or everywhere. I once talked to a BBQ pitmaster that ripped a photo off of a Blink 182 album cover to use to promote his own work.
    Here’s the thing: at the end of the day, people know deep down that ripping off images from the web is illegal and wrong. But they forget about it because they consider it an offense that no one will take seriously. So instead, when they get in trouble, they’ll ask for forgiveness instead of asking for permission. They only end up more being sorry because they got caught in the first place.
    “We Can Unsplash the Photos”
    If you support Unsplash, you’re making an awful decision. I’ll be very honest about that. We all have something about us that makes us special. When a company forces us to give that up, they exploit you. We’ve even seen a few other photo publications using images from Unsplash. Those photo publications include Photofocus, Shutterbug, support from FStoppers via Medium, DIYPhotography, and others. Speaking of terrible reasons to not pay a professional photographer, these are just awful.
    We find it incredibly unethical to not ask professional photographers for permission, licening the images, or finding more ethical ways of getting photos. It’s pretty easy to do.
    I’m an Influencer and I’ve Got a Huge Following, You’ll be Famous
    If anyone ever says this to you, screenshot the images before they delete them. Then run for the hills.
    We’re Doing a Trial
    Get a contract, or create one. Make sure that if they are doing a trial that they don’t get to use the photos unless they pay.
    We’ll Pay You Free Samples of Our Product
    This can sometimes be acceptable. But being paid in brisket won’t pay your bills.
    This is a Charity Event and You Can Use it as a Tax Write Off
    I’ve worked with a few non-profits over the years. This is an awful excuse. Non-profits can be very predatory to artists.

    • 4 min
    Promising Distortion Correction: Sigma 24mm f2 DG DN Review

    Promising Distortion Correction: Sigma 24mm f2 DG DN Review

    Sigma is a third-party company that’s known for lenses that tend to be a bit more budget-friendly than larger names. But, that’s not exactly the case with the I series, a set of metal prime lenses that are designed as more high-end than budget. The Sigma 24mm f2 DG DN Contemporary is one of those lenses.
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    Pulling this lens out of the box, I was immediately impressed. Metal lenses, particularly those with a dedicated aperture ring, are my favorite optics to use. But, luxury builds don’t always translate to luxury photos. I spent two weeks with the Sigma 24mm f2. I’m drawn to the metal build and the almost non-existent barrel distortion, but there are a few quirks to contend with.
    Table of Contents
    Too Long, Didn’t Read
    Pros and Cons
    Pros
    Cons
    Gear Used
    Innovations
    Tech Specs
    Ergonomics
    Build Quality
    Autofocus
    Ease of Use
    Image Quality
    Bokeh
    Sharpness
    Lens Character
    Color Rendering
    Extra Image Samples
    Edited
    Unedited
    Conclusions
    Likes
    Dislikes
    Too Long, Didn’t Read
    If barrel distortion bothers you, the Sigma 24mm f2 DG DN is a good choice. It has softer, dream-like images at f2, but sharpens up quickly. The metal build feels great, but it isn’t completely weather-sealed.
    Pros and Cons
    Pros
    Beautiful metal build
    Dedicated aperture ring
    Excellent reduction of barrel distortion
    Dreamlike character at f2
    Well-controlled flare and aberration
    Fun to shoot with
    Cons
    Weather-sealing is only at the mount
    Not super sharp wide open
    Not as competitively priced as I’d like
    Gear Used
    The lens with the DN in the name is Sigma’s mirrorless version. I tested the L-Mount lens on the Panasonic S5 body.
    This review sample was provided by LensRentals.
    Innovations
    The Sigma 24mm f2 DG DN is part of Sigma’s I series, which offers an all-metal barrel construction. While metal autofocus lenses aren’t hard to find, it’s a bit more unusual to find them from third-party companies. It’s going to be a welcome option for L-Mount shooters that offers a metal design without the high price of a Leica glass.
    Tech Specs
    LensRentals provides the following specifications for the 24mm f2 DG DN Contemporary:
    “F” Low-Dispersion Elements1Angle of View84.1°Aperture Blades9, RoundedAspherical Elements2AutofocusAutofocusBrandSigmaCompatibilityFull FrameDiameter2.8″Filter Size62.0mmFocal Length24.0-24.0Groups/Elements11/13Hood IncludedYesImage StabilizationNoItem TypeLensLength2.8″Lens TypeWide Angle and Wide AngleMax Aperture22.0Maximum Magnification7.7xMfr. Model Number403969Minimum Aperture22.0Minimum Focusing Distance0.8’MountL MountSpecial Low-Dispersion Elements2Weight0.8 lb.
    Ergonomics
    The Sigma 24mm f2 DG DN is a metal barrel lens with a dedicated aperture ring. While the lens is metal and a relatively bright wide-angle, it’s not terribly heavy. It weighs under 13 ounces and feels well balanced on the Panasonic S5. The lens will take up about a 2.8-inch slot in the camera bag.
    Starting at the lens mount, the first control that you will see is an auto to manual focus switch. The switch has a white patch when in autofocus mode, which made it a little bit easier to see where the switch was in the dark when I photographed the stars.
    Moving towards the front of the lens, the barrel next houses a clicky aperture ring. It’s nicely labeled from f2 to f22, with an A spot to shoot in aperture priority. The areas of the aperture ring that don’t house a label has a nice deep textured groove that’s easy to grab and turn.
    The focus ring sits towards the front of the lens. The ring turns smoothly and at an ideal pace — not too fast, not too slow. I found it easy to find the sweet spot to shoot astrophotography in manual focus.
    The front of the lens, which takes 62mm filters, isn’t all glass like some of the wider aperture and wider angle lenses. There’s

    • 15 min
    How To Create A Confident Tone On Set – Sensual Vs Sexual

    How To Create A Confident Tone On Set – Sensual Vs Sexual

    Sensuality can often translate into sexy, but the same is not always true in reverse. There are a lot of factors at play that determines the overall outcome of the shoot. A sexually charged shoot from the start will always be just that. Sure, there’s a time and a place for it that works. However, that’s often not the desired result and leads to a feeling of being objectified all too often. Regret can ensue before, during, and after the shoot if you don’t choose to focus on sensual over sexual. Below are some tips that can be used all throughout the shoot and leave clients feeling empowered and confident.
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    You can also check out some more portrait tips here.
    Table of Contents
    Meet And Greet
    Provide A Safe Space
    Choose Your Words
    Final Thoughts
    Meet And Greet
    Take the time to greet your client at the beginning of the shoot. Offer them a drink and start talking about logistics. Working models will usually have had their booker communicate the details beforehand. On the other hand, new models or clients for more intimate shoots benefit from setting the tone upon arrival together.
    Go over their various garments and formulate a plan. If there is an article of clothing they aren’t very comfortable with, either find a way to layer it or scrap it. The most impactful images will be created when they feel confident. Plus, they may very well come back to it on their own once you have won their trust.
    Provide A Safe Space
    Make sure that clients have a safe space to change their clothing. I also make sure there is a mirror to get it styled almost perfectly on their own. This cuts down on clothing adjustments that need to be made on set.
    If something needs to be adjusted, ask them if they’d like you to get it for them or if they’d prefer doing it themselves. Both men and women have boundaries here, and it’s important to respect them. They will let you know what is and isn’t okay.
    Choose Your Words
    A safe space will develop trust that often builds a natural rapport and connection. Use words of empathy instead of expressing sexual feelings. Connecting with a feeling of sensuality through the lens will create an entirely different image than the image created from “That’s so hot! Do more of __.” The choice of words can be the difference between a beautiful implied or suggestive image and full frontal nudity that falls short and lacks substance.
    Using sexually charged language creates images that are precisely that. Once that theme has been established, it can be difficult to walk back from that detour. It’s awkward as hell, to say the very least. A lack of confidence and sometimes regret result from when communication breaks down and creates a feeling of objectification.
    Instead, choose words that are confidence builders to paint the mood with a sensual focus over sexual. Use words like beautiful and stunning. “Wow!” is often fantastic once the client sees how impactful it is. Then ask them to bring more of that to the camera and see what happens. Learning to communicate positively and effectively builds trust.
    Something magical can and often happens once a solid foundation has been established. The ability to connect and feed off each other without speaking a word is incredible. The images created are more beautiful, empowering, and sensual than anything created with words. A true moment and connection are being captured.
    Final Thoughts
    We’ve seen our industry shift from a sex sells mentality to wanting to feel a connection with the person selling it. Pushing a sexually charged theme makes both men and women feel insignificant. Although men haven’t had as grand a scale as women in this case, they have also felt objectified.
    At the end of the day, people want to feel confident and beautiful. Focusing on sensual over sexual is a great pl

    • 4 min
    Could the Pandemic Chip Shortage Finally Make Printing Less Painful?

    Could the Pandemic Chip Shortage Finally Make Printing Less Painful?

    The pandemic has permanently changed our lives as we once knew it. We’ve been forced to realize that technology can come to a screeching halt. The sound of the brakes on assembly lines has many photographers looking at other means of sharing and displaying their work. The chip shortage has had Sony suspending orders on several of their cameras. It’s also forced Canon to relinquish its vice grip on their toner chips, making printing more accessible than it once was on. And for photographers who want to print their work, this is excellent news. But more than anything, it proves one of the reasons why printing is just so awful, to begin with.
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    We are one of the few photo specialty publications that still actively use and review printers. Maybe it’s because many of us started in the darkroom and remember the impact of seeing our work on paper. As much as digital screens try, they can’t reasonably produce what an actual printed photograph can.
    I used to be one of those who would opt to send my large prints out to a lab. It was more cost-effective to outsource and minimally print than to keep up with the nuances of an in-home printer. When everything shut down on a global scale, I found myself once again looking at a professional printer.
    If you aren’t too familiar with printers, you already know what we’re talking about. If you’re very familiar with the printer world, we’d hope that you agree with us. To be fair, this problem isn’t exclusive to just Canon. It’s happened with other brands, too, like with HP. Stupid problems can occur where you won’t be able to print a photo unless an ink cartridge, which has nothing to do with the print, is replaced. Seriously, why would I need to replace a magenta ink cartridge to print a black and white photo?
    Canon’s incessant need to have complete control over the process is a deterrent. Their DRM warnings often prompted consumers to upgrade the cartridges that still had plenty of life in them to function. It’s as if the company only wants you to enjoy the product if you’re willing to waste money. Not only is this annoying, but it’s also wasteful.
    These problems with their toner chips indicated that the company cared more about profit margins than their consumers, who keep them afloat. We understand that a company needs to make profits, but the worse they make the printing experience, the worse it will be for customers. Sometimes, Canon and other brands even seem out of touch. In early 2020, they released a brand new pro-grade printer without Bluetooth. Why?
    Incredible photographs are meant for a scale more significant than a smartphone screen. Photographers should be able to choose what toner they ultimately want to use in their prints. Recipes ought to be created the way we used to mix chemicals and paper in the darkroom. Photographers should be able to print as they choose and not have to waste money in the process. If the biggest inconvenience is seeing firsthand that a cartridge is depleted without warning, this should have happened long ago.
    Hopefully, Canon will come to terms with the fact that competition is necessary to get the most life out of their printers. It’s not always essential to have a vice grip on a facet of the industry. DRM should become a thing of the past. Preserving the photographic print is more important for our industry than unnecessarily squeezing extra pennies by way of half-empty cartridges. A little competition often yields incredible results, and that’s a win for everyone.
    Additional input was provided by Chris Gampat.

    • 3 min
    3 Small Instant Film Cameras You’ll Love to Shoot With

    3 Small Instant Film Cameras You’ll Love to Shoot With

    If you like shooting with instant film, then you probably know how large the cameras can be. Not everyone wants to tote around an elephantine camera. Luckily, there are lots of small instant film cameras out there. And better yet, we’ve reviewed a bunch of them. Some are much better than others. So we’re rounding out some of our favorites in this list right here.
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    The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear that we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
    Pro Tips on Having Fun with Small Instant Film Cameras
    There are a lot of instant film cameras. But small instant film cameras that you want to bring with you everywhere don’t really exist. Here are some tips with using some of the best:
    These cameras shoot Instax film, which is basically the same as Polaroid film chemically. As long as there are emulsions in the image, then it’s actually analog.
    All of these cameras have been tested by us. They’ll fit in a camera bag, a jacket pocket, a hand bag, etc. We’ve tested them ourselves.
    Instax film and Polaroid film don’t do well in the cold. This is because the emulsions inside are liquid. And liquid freezes in the cold.
    Small instant film cameras can accompany your digital cameras as something to bring around for fun on the side.
    These cameras have a plastic build. So be careful with them!
    Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay
    Shake Things Up!: The LiPlay is a fascinating combo of both digital and Instax photography. It blends the Instax Mini format with a pretty small camera that fits into a jacket pocket easily. It can be your favorite party camera for sure!
    In our review, we state:
    “One of the cool things about the Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay is its integration into the digital world. You’re going to need to shoot a photo and then figure out if you want to print it later or not. You can use it as a classic compact camera if you wish and when you’re ready to print the photo, you can add a bunch of fun filters. In some ways, this is a response to Polaroid’s offerings. However, Fujifilm’s interface is far simpler. Despite the low-resolution LCD screen on the back, the interface of the Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay is still pretty simple.”
    Buy Now
    Lomography Lomo’Instant Square
    Shake Things Up!: The design on this camera mimics an old-school Kodak design. It’s a collapsible camera with a bellows system that lets you shoot Instax Square film with ease. It’s seriously one of our favorite cameras for Instax Square.
    In our review, we state:
    “Here’s the best part of the Lomography Lomo’Instant Square: the image quality. This is the sharpest lens that I’ve seen from Lomography and when you get the focusing perfect, you’ll realize that too. It’s possible to get bokeh and all that stuff, but I think that the image quality could only have benefited from manual functionality. Couple that with just how good Fujifilm Instax Square film really is and you’ll get some very impressive and fun photos.”
    Buy Now
    Fujifilm Instax SQ1
    Shake Things Up!: The cool thing about the SQ1 is just how good-looking it is while being pretty small overall. It’s impossible to not have fun with this camera. And we think you’ll really like it.
    In our review, we state:
    “The

    • 4 min

Customer Reviews

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