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Capture One Pro 9’s Three Best New Features

On November 30th, Phase One surprised everyone with the release of Capture One Pro 9. The new software adds a slew of new controls, some minor, some major. You can upgrade to it from C1P 7 or C1P 8 for $99 USD. The Sony-only version (which is what I am currently using) can be had for $50 USD. Here are the three features that I am the most excited for (in no particular order).

Camera battery indicator

Yup, the software now has a live indicator of the tethered camera’s battery charge percentage. I know it’s not the most revolutionary feature but it keeps the frustration of having your camera die on you out the way. It is a menu option that you have to enable.

Keywords

 

Digital Asset Management (DAM) has been really improved in the new release. Specifically, the way we work with keywords is better than ever before. The refined Keywords tool is similar to what it’s been before. The real star of the show is the Keywords Library tool. You can attribute specific keyword databases to a session or catalog. That makes it a breeze to have your DAM done for a specific shot. You can even import .TXT files with keywords in them, which lets you organize you files even better. It opens up a whole world of inter-connectivity.

Masks from Color Editor

 

The Color Editor, a über-powerful tool that I use on virtually all my shots always had the ability to edit a specific colour groupe; you could make adjustments just to the Reds, or the Greens, or the Yellows, and so on. In addition, you can now save that colour mask and use it with other tools, such as the Local Adjustment tool. It will definitely save a ton of time and add another layer of control!

Phase One has uploaded quite a few videos on their YouTube channels describing and going over the software’s best new features.

I find the new software quite interesting. The $50 USD price for the updated Sony version makes it very appealing indeed! What do you think of it ? Are you a Lightroom person? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Cheers,

Tristan

The Three Best YouTube Channels to Learn Product Photography

Learning product and still life photography doesn’t require going in a full time university program. It can very easily be self-learned at home on your computer. YouTube is home to tons of free content that offers high-quality and resourceful video tutorials. I feel like these next three YouTube channels are the best out there.


Karl Taylor’s

Karl Taylor is a renowned still life, architecture and people photographer. He currently has a lot of videos going over his still life techniques and also reviews and digital asset management tips. Karl maintains a ‘How To’ serie in collaboration with studio equipment manufacturer Broncolor and swiss photographer Urs Recher. His videos are really professional and show tried-and-true techniques. He is a definite must watch.


RGG EDU

RGG EDU’s main mission in the sell amazing quality photography tutorials ranging from beauty photography to food and product photography, just to name a few. Those tutorials are several hours long and are available for download on their website. On YouTube, amongst other things, they share pieces on the main tutorial. There are several, watch-worthy videos about product photography issued from Tony Roslund’s “The Complete Guide To Product Photography & Retouching“. There are also clips from Rob Grimm’s food photography tutorial. I definitely recommend giving those guys a watch, they are of incredible quality.

Photigy’s

Okay, okay, this one isn’t only on YouTube; it’s also on Vimeo. Combined, they have hundreds of videos. Much like RGG EDU, their main goal is to sell still life, CGI and product photography tutorials on their website. However, they do have several great videos on studio photography tips and technique freely available. They also periodically do live streams and critiques that are kept up there on the Internet. Furthermore, on their actual website, they write several blog posts a week on inspiration and tips for product photography. Overall, Photigy is a great learning resource and are highly suggested.

Those three educator are guaranteed to teach you something about product photography. They are a great starting point, yet are addressed to every skill level out there! What is your favourite place to learn product and still life photography? Tell us in the comments below!

Cheers,

Tristan

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Keyboard Shortcut Change You’ll Ever Make

Command+Z, arguably the most beloved keyboard shortcut in the world. It makes working on a computer a so much more enjoyable experience and so much faster too.

Have you noticed that in Photoshop, Command+Z only goes back a single step. If you want to go back several steps you have to hit option+command+Z, which is really annoying. By good chance, Photoshop lets you edit all keyboard shortcuts. To do so, go up to the Edit tab, down to Keyboard Shortcuts. There, click on the Edit tab to open the list of associated keyboard shortcuts. Click on the Step Backward row and press on Command+Z on your keyboard. It’s going to warn you about the fact that Command+Z is already in use for another action. You can ignore that. Just click on the Accept button and then on the Ok button in the right hand portion of the screen. Command+Z will not work as it does in any regular software, going back in time endlessly!

 

I think that you should perform that modification as soon as you download Photoshop. What other keyboard shortcuts make your workflow a lot more enjoyable? Share them with us in the comments below!

Cheers,

Tristan

The Three Best Tools to Tweak Colours in Photoshopt

Colour is arguably one of the most important aspect of a photograph. It can drastically change the mood and feel of the artwork by altering our senses and perception. In product and still life photography, you need to make sure that the tones are the closest to what they are in the real product. You may also want to help better sell a particular object by provoking emotions in the viewer’s eyes by controlling what the colours are like. Photoshop has a slew of tools used to modify such an aspect of the photo and here are my 3 favourites.


Color Balance Adjustment Layer

Niched in the Adjustments panel, the Color Balance tool creates an adjustment layer with a mask. The tool lets you shift either the shadows, the midtones or the highlights toward Cyan, Magenta or Yellow, or their complementary colours. There is a Preserve Luminosity checkbox that lets you keep a hand on the lightness of the colours and only modify their hue. One more thing I enjoy about this particular tool is the fact that it is really easy to globally adjust the colours (useful for colour correction). Finally, I like that, even if you play with the highlights, the tool does not modify whatsoever the pure white backgrounds of your image.

 

Hue/Saturation Layer

This tool is probably the most powerful on this list. It enables you to significantly alter each colour group by tweaking the three colour parameters: Hue, Lightness and Saturation. You can also change those settings for the whole image or give a particular feel to you shot with the Colorize checkbox. It is super easy to add pop to a particular colour group using the dragging hand. Just click the little hand icon besides the box where you can choose to colour you want to affect. Then, just head over the area of the photo that you want to add saturation to and drag to the right. Moving your cursor to the left will reduce the saturation of that colour group. This is a godsend that helps you quickly get super accurate and precise colouring. In addition to all this, you can also save presets.

 

Dodge/Burn Too

If you only want to tweak the lightness part of a colour but do it in a selective way, I recommend you use the Dodge and Burn technique. Taking it’s name from the olden days film method of increasing (Dodge) and reducing (Burn) the light level of an image’s area, it is one of the most effective ways to add charism and definition to your photo. By darkening shadows and lighting up highlights you can add contrast in a very controllable way. You can also use it in the opposite way to correct your image’s light levels. The built-in Dodge and Burn tools work well enough but I have made freely available a Photoshop action that takes care of setting up an overlay layer filled with 50% neutral grey. You only need to use your black and white brushes to act as the Burn and Dodge tools, respectively. My technique offers more control in a less destructive way. More details and download links are available on my blog.

Those three tools are what I use on almost all of my product and still life photographs. They help me easily control my colours. What tool do you prefer? Why? Let your mind speak in the comments below!

Cheers,

Tristan

 

Panasonic’s New “Post-Focus” Feature Could Be a Godsend for Product and Still Life Photographers

Bundled with the 2.0 version of their firmware, the Post-Focus feature, demonstrated back this summer, lets you accomplish exactly what it’s name says; change your image’s focus point after having taken the photo. While this works similarly to what Lytro is doing, it achieves it by shooting a burst of photo at 30fps and 4K resolution. Then, using the touchscreen on the back of the camera, you can select any focus point, save different versions of the same composition and use focus peaking while being zoomed in to determine to best location for an ultra-precise focus point. This new feature is available on the Lumix DMC-GX8 the DMC-G7 and the DMC-FZ330 and is available since yesterday.

From Digital Photography Review’s website, here’s Panasonic’s press release:

 

Panasonic Frees Photographer’s Creativity with New 'Post Focus' Technology

LUMIX DMC-GX8, DMC-G7 and DMC-FZ330 enable any area of a photograph to be in-focus after shooting  

Panasonic is encouraging photographers to shoot first and focus later with a new technological function called ‘Post Focus’.  After taking a picture, the function enables photographers to select whichever part of the image they want to be in-focus with an easy one touch operation. Developed with Panasonic’s existing 4K Photo technology, Post Focus not only prevents out-of-focus misshots but also offers greater creative freedom, and is now available via a firmware update for the LUMIX DMC-GX8, DMC-G7 and DMC-FZ330.

Post Focus has been made possible by combining the high-speed, high-precision DFD (Depth from Defocus) auto focus technology and Panasonic’s 4K technology, made possible by the Venus Engine. Burst images in 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) are shot at 30 fps while detecting up to 49 areas of a frame for focus points at different depths of field.

Operation of the Post Focus function is straightforward and easy.  Turn on post focus, compose and take your picture. Then, while reviewing the images simply touch the area you want the focus to be and a new image with the selected focus area will be produced as a separate photo.

In addition, this function can be used for creative purposes in different types of photography such as portrait, landscape and especially macro, where the optimal control is needed. Focus peaking, 5x magnified zoom and other fine adjustment settings can be used for even greater focus control. Several different impressions can be taken out of one picture by changing the focus and defocus within the image to select the desired subject. This assures that the photographer can select the best shot instead of out-of- focus misshots.

The Post Focus firmware update will be available at 01:00 GMT on 25th November, 2015 on the LUMIX Global site (http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/) for the LUMIX DMC-GX8, DMC-G7 and DMC-FZ330.

 

Here are two videos of it in action:

 

Now, if this feature gets to evolve a bit, it will be especially useful and will let product photographers like myself focus on the creative aspect of the shot rather than on making sure it’s all in focus. Plus, the results are hopefully going to be smoother because it's entirely computerized and doesn’t introduce the sloppiness of a human. Picture this, you set your shot the way you like it, trigger the camera, let it doing its thing and be left with tens of focus-stacking ready images. The camera could even stitch the files internally, but I’m fairly positive on the fact that I’d like to keep the files and combine them myself on a dedicated software running on a resourceful machine. As it is today, I would not use Panasonic’s new feature. First, I’d have to switch camera system, which I would not enjoy doing at all. Also, the best camera of the three, the DMC-GX8, only has a Micro Four-Third sensor, which will not resolve the best deal of details. Probably the biggest deal breaker for me is the fact that the files are limited in resolution to 4K. I get why Panasonic chose to go with such a resolution and 30fps, I really do, but I can’t help other than wanting to use the full potential of the sensor. I wouldn’t mind having the camera take a minute or even more the record all of the shots, but let me take advantage of all of those megapixels I have. Another point is the fact that you are limited to using continuous lighting since no studio strobe will be able to keep up with the rate of shooting the camera will sustain, hence why it would take more than a minute to complete all of the images. Finally, the output file are JPEGs and, again, that makes me feel like I am missing on the chance to use the full potential and every bit of sharpness that the sensor-lens combo has to offer. The feature will keep improving and, perhaps, camera like the a7R or a7R II will offer a variant of such utility directly targeted at product and still life photographers (and landscape shooters too!).

It’s certainly a step in the right direction for Panasonic and the photography industry in general. The only use I would make out of this feature today is shooting e-commerce images where you need to do several tens of them a day and sheer sharpness and details retention isn’t as important since you won’t be blowing them up onto ads or billboards. Anyways, let us know your thoughts and feelings for this new and exciting feature in the comments below!

Cheers,

Tristan