Last week, I was a guest on the PhotoActive podcast, chatting about photo printing with the hosts Jeff Carlson and Kirk McElhearn. We talked about such things as “Why print at all?” (heresy!); why printing today—whether online or with your own printer—is better than it has ever been; and how learning about printing is no different than learning about your camera (practice, practice, practice!). It was a lot of fun, and if you are interested in the state of photo printing today, I humbly think it’s well worth taking time to listen in. It’s short—my segment is only about 30 minutes in length.
I’m not a huge podcast guy—especially ones about such a visual medium as photography—but I’ve really enjoyed PhotoActive since Jeff and Kirk started it up earlier this year. The episodes are brief, with minimal chit-chat, and they find interesting guests (who mostly don’t talk about gear, which I also love). If you want to get a taste, but don’t care about printing, I recommend the recent episode with photographer and author Michael Rubin, who spoke about how his family collected fine-art prints when he was growing up, and how it has informed his photographic life.
PhotoActive is subtitled, “A Podcast about Photography and the Apple Ecosystem,” but the Mac angle is fairly low-key. If you’re a Windows user, don’t avoid it; I’ve found most episodes are focused more on photography than the Mac, and I almost always learn something. It’s worth checking out.
You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Spotify, or download it directly from photoactive.co.
[When it rains, it prints: Epson has great rebates this month on their SureColor photo printer line.]
Ow. I’ve been having a lot of pain in my left shoulder lately. It might just be age, but I can’t help thinking that all these years of carrying a camera bag on that shoulder have left me messed up. The years of having a pound of bird riding on that shoulder probably didn’t help either.
September 20, 2012 by Ben Long & filed under Features
I’ve been shooting with Canon SLRs for a long time, and for the most part, I’ve always been pleased with the camera’s metering. Granted, I can never remember which icon corresponds to which metering mode, but now that I keep the PDF of the manual on my phone, I can always look it up. During a recent shoot, though, I came across a curious detail about Evaluative metering that I never knew – one that can dramatically alter metering behavior in certain situations. Read more »
February 27, 2012 by Ben Long & filed under Features
There’s a lot to know to be a capable photographer. Exposure theory, lighting, composition. On top of all that, there are all those buttons and dials on your camera. To help you understand exactly how your camera works, you might want to check out one of my camera-specific courses at Lynda.com. These courses will work you through all of the features of their respective cameras, and help you understand those features in the context of larger photographic theories. Courses are now available for the Canon EOS60D, the Nikon D7000, the Canon Rebel T3i, and the Nikon D5100.
February 11, 2011 by Ben Long & filed under Features
The last step of any photo workflow is to sharpen and output. If your final goal is an image for the web or email, then output simply means resizing and saving your image. If your final output is to print using an online printing service, then you’ll need to follow their size, resolution, and format specifications very carefully. Similarly, if your final destination is your own desktop printer, you’ll also need to set size and resolution before you print. While choosing size is pretty simple – you just resize the image to the printing dimensions that you want – choosing a correct resolution is a little trickier. In this article, we look at exactly what you need to consider when choosing a resolution for desktop inkjet printing.
Five years ago, I wrote this piece on whether you should buy a full-frame or cropped sensor digital camera. At the time, cameras with a full-frame sensor were substantially more expensive than cropped-sensor cameras, and a lot of people believed that, eventually, cropped-sensor cameras would be phased out and replaced by more affordable full-frame cameras. Five years later, we’ve seen that that’s not going to happen, but the question remains: do you need full-frame or is a cropped sensor camera okay? Read more »
November 20, 2009 by Ben Long & filed under Features
If you’re looking to buy a starter digital camera – either for yourself or as a gift – then you might be surprised to find that your options are fairly limited. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Are you crazy?! Every time I go into Best Buy there’re huge piles of little point-and-shoot digital cameras!” While this is true, there are very few of those that I would consider a “starter” camera. “Starter” implies that this first camera will be a start – that you’re looking for a camera that will be a jumping off point, and that you (or your gift-ee) might want to learn from this camera, and one day move on to something more advanced. Here’s what you should buy, and why.
Canon has positioned their new Rebel XSi at the “entry-level” end of their product line. But it’s getting increasingly difficult to divide digital cameras into “entry-level” and “mid-range” and “high-end.” In the early days, there was a single distinguishing feature that made it simple to tell what market a camera was aimed at: the image quality of an entry-level camera was markedly different from a high-end, “pro” level camera. Those days are now long gone, and ‚Äì just as with entry-level and pro-level film cameras ‚Äì you can now shoot high-end image quality with an entry-level camera. Canon’s Rebel XSi marks the high end of Canon’s low end, and the new model offers important changes over its predecessor, the Rebel XTi.
February 5, 2008 by Ben Long & filed under General
PMA is not a typical photography trade show. Because it’s geared for photo dealers and studio photographers, there are lots of vendors hawking goods that the typical photographer doesn’t need. Laser etching machines, photo printing kiosks, industrial-grade large format printers, and other exotica, abound at PMA. However, many of the usual suspects attend PMA—Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Fuji and all the other major camera vendors—as well as many accessory and software vendors. This year’s PMA included a couple of important announcements, and a stroll through the maze of camera booths revealed some great new technologies.