Tue, 25 Feb 2020 18:02:04 +0000Elinchrom Unveils Affordable ELC 125 and ELC 500 Mid-Range Monolights
Elinchrom has just released two new mid-range monolights that are both full-featured and surprisingly affordable for what they offer. The new ELC 125 and ELC 500 boast to 131Ws and 522Ws of power, respectively, and offer everything from standard options like TTL and HSS support, on up to more niche features like “Smart Pro-Active Cooling” and light-up logos that indicate flash group.
Spec-wise, both lights start at 7Ws minimum power and can be adjusted up in 0.1 F-stop (manual) and 0.3 F-stop (TTL) increments depending on how much light you want and what kind of flash duration you’re looking for.
At just 131Ws max, the smaller ELC 125 doesn’t give you that much more power than a good quality speedlight, but it offers color stability of +/- 150K throughout its entire 5-stop range, a maximum flash duration (t0.1) of 1/7750s, and a recycle time that ranges from just 0.06 – 0.45s at 230V or 0.1 – 0.8s at 120V.
The ELC 500 offers much more power, giving you a total of 7 stops of range and a max output of 522Ws without sacrificing much in way of recycle time or color stability. The specs boast +/- 200K color stability across the flash range, a maximum flash duration (t0.1) of 1/9430s, and a recycle time range of 0.06 – 1.1s at 230V or 0.09 – 1.9s at 120V.
Both lights give you access to 20 frequencies and 4 flash groups—which are creatively indicated by the logo on the side of the unit that lights up four different colors so you can immediately see which group your flash is set to—and are (obviously) compatible with all of Elinchrom’s modifiers.
They also feature TTL with manual lock, HSS support down to 1/8000 of a second, an auto-on feature that keeps the flash in standby with your settings saved, and something called “Smart Pro-Active Cooling” that “learn[s] your shooting style and adapt[s] cooling cycles around it, never interrupting your creative flow.”
This quick product intro takes you through the key features of both flashes:
And you can see both monolights in action in video below, featuring Brooklyn-based photographers Emily Teague and Brandi Nicole:
Both the Elinchrom ELC 125 and ELC 500 are available to order starting today at a suggested retail price of $620 for a single ELC 125, $900 for a single ELC 500, or $1,500 for a dual kit featuring one of each. To learn more about either of these monolights, head over to the Elinchrom website.
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 17:01:26 +0000Video: Family Narrowly Avoids Getting Hit by Train During Photo Shoot
An ill-advised family photo shoot on a set of active train tracks in Greencastle, Pennsylvania nearly ended in tragedy when a freight train came barreling through, narrowly missing the photographer, parents, and five children.
The video was captured by Virtual Railfan, Inc and posted yesterday as “no better example why you should stay off the tracks.” Already it’s going viral as photographers and trainspotters alike share it on social media alongside angry warnings and admonitions to never ever do a photo shoot on train tracks unless you have the proper permission and can be absolutely certain of safety.
In the video, a family of seven plus a photographer are wandering up and down on the tracks when one of them screams “here comes the train.” From there it’s a mad scramble to get everyone—including a few very young children—off the tracks before it’s too late. You can watch the full ordeal below:
Fortunately, tragedy was avoided in this case, as all eight people got off the tracks in time, but as we’ve said many times before: it’s illegal and simply not worth the risk. It was just a few months ago that a 17-year-old was killed during a senior portrait shoot on the tracks in Oregon, and a woman nearly lost her life in December when a train got so close it tore a piece off of her coat.
Each time this happens, we’re inclined to share the same video: a TODAY show segment that showed just how silent and deadly a fast-moving freight train can be. In this case, someone saw the train coming from a distance; had they seen it just a few seconds later, things could have ended very differently.
(via Western Mass News)
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 16:48:28 +0000Hilary Duff Calls Photographer ‘Creep’ for Shooting Her Kid’s Soccer Game
American celebrity Hilary Duff enlisted her 15 million Instagram followers to shame a photographer this past weekend. His offense? Practicing his photography by shooting a kid’s soccer game at a public park.
It all started this past Saturday after the star noticed a man photographing her 7-year-old son’s soccer game. She turned on her smartphone camera, marched over to the man, and confronted him about what he was doing.
“Who are you here with?” Duff asks the man, who is seen holding a Nikon Z Series mirrorless camera and telephoto lens.
“I’m here with me,” the man replies.
“Do you know any of the people on the team? No? Can you stop taking pictures of the kids please?”
“It’s legal,” the man counters, offering to show ID. “I’m taking pictures. I’m practicing photography. I’m not here to scare you or anything like that. Your paranoia is unwarranted.”
“It’s just an uncomfortability factor that these are 7-year-old children and you don’t have a child here,” Duff says.
“What’s that got to do with anything?” the photographer asks.
“Well, there are children and we would like to protect them,” Duff says. “So if you could take pictures and practice your photography somewhere else…”
“Me taking pictures of them… is not… What about other people?” the man asks.
“Okay, then I will just post this to my 15 million followers on Instagram and let people know how creepy it is that this is what you’re choosing to do on your Saturday morning,” Duff says.
The 32-year-old Duff ended up calling police to report the man and was disappointed to learn that they wouldn’t do anything about him.
“[T]he police were, you know, pretty dismissive of me, saying, ‘What do you want us to do? You’re at a public park,'” Duff states in a followup Instagram Story posted yesterday. “Well yeah, I’m at a public park, I’m at a place where kids play and kids should be safe here.
“It’s just extremely strange and inappropriate and creepy to have a man photographing our 7-year-old children and that to be completely legal.”
Duff says she would like laws in the US changed to allow parents to stop photographers shooting in public places.
“Like, if a parent is asking for it to stop, the laws should be changed for you to not be able to photograph that person,” she states. “If those kids are a subject of your ‘photography’ practice, over and over and over again for minutes or half-hour, however long it was, and you ask someone to please stop that, you should have that right. And we really need to work on changing that law.”
P.S. Here’s an invaluable PDF titled “The Photographer’s Right” that spells out your rights as a photographer in the US.
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 16:02:16 +0000Sony Unveils 20mm f/1.8 G: Its Widest Full-Frame E-Mount Prime Lens Yet
Sony has just released the brand new FE 20mm f/1.8 G: a lightweight, high-performance, ultra-wide prime lens for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras that the company has dubbed “the widest full-frame prime lens in E-mount lineup.”
The 20mm f/1.8 G promises excellent performance in a compact, weather-sealed package. Optically, the lens is made up of 14 elements in 12 groups, including two advanced aspherical (AA) elements and three extra-low dispersion (ED) elements to address aberration and deliver a crisp image across the entire frame. Focus relies on two extreme dynamic (XD) linear motors that should deliver fast and accurate autofocus, and the 9-blade aperture can be de-clicked using a built-in On/Off switch.
Despite the lens small size—it only weighs 373g (13.2 oz)—Sony promises “excellent close up performance” with a minimum focus distance of 7.5 inches, and accurate reproduction of point light sources with “high contrast and minimum sagittal flare” for astrophotographers.
Here’s a quick intro to the new Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G:
A closer look at the lens attached to a full-frame Sony a7 III and a crop-sensor a6600:
And some official sample photos published from the Sony website:
The Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G is going to be available starting in March for $900. To learn more about this lens, head over to the Sony website.
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 15:40:14 +0000The Best Way to Answer ‘Do You Photoshop Your Pictures?’
I just did an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on Instagram Stories, and someone asked the question: ‘Do You Photoshop Your Pictures?’
My reaction was the same one most photographers have:
Yes, just like 99% of photographers out there, I do some post-production on my pictures. Even in the film days, photographers like Richard Avedon and Irving Penn edited the hell out of their photos.
And then I realized — that would have been the dumbest possible response. So instead, I went full snark and said:
I produce a result. That’s all you need to know.
Below, I’ll discuss how I address this question in real life.
The Two Forms This Question Takes
Sometimes, people ask “Is that Photoshopped?” just to make conversation — the same way a non-photographer might ask what kind of camera you use, or if you shoot film or digital.
And then there’s the more sinister form of this question, when it’s implied that post-production is somehow inherently bad. This type of puritanism is what we’re attacking today, and it can come from art buyers, clients, and even your fellow photographers.
The Two Times to Discuss Your Post-Production Process
Unless you’re just talking shop, there are only two reasons to ever discuss your post-production process:
The first is to justify the cost of a job. For example, if an actor wants to know why you charge $400 for a headshot, you could say something like this:
On average, a professional headshot that meets the standards of casting directors requires 30-40 minutes of post-processing.
You’re turning the cost into a benefit and presenting it as an industry norm.
And the second is if you’re shooting film or using some other analog process like wet plate. Why? Because it’s actually pretty interesting and out of the ordinary in 2020. If I were shooting film, I’d talk about it every chance I could.
Outside of that, do not take the question head-on. Because when a purist asks ‘Is that Photoshopped?,” they’re really asking “Is that fake?”
The only answer that will satisfy them is “No. This picture is 100% natural, like a beautiful newborn baby.”
So turn the tables on them. Here’s how.
Mental Judo For the Modern Photographer
Neediness is an unattractive quality. That’s true in love, business, and every other area in life. And guess how you look when you defend something that you don’t need to defend?
Needy, and desperate for approval.
So instead, do some simple mental judo and put the purist on defense, something they never see coming. My stock response is:
I’m curious — why is that important to you?
Now they have to verbally justify the idea that there’s one right way to do things, which is a lot harder than it sounds! They’re forced to consider that there is no “correct” opinion on post-processing. And that’s when facts like this can penetrate their bubble:
Photographers were retouching skin, swapping heads, manipulating color, and compositing images decades before Photoshop even existed.
The goal is not to win an argument or make someone feel stupid. It’s about building common ground and getting people to focus on the result you deliver.
You can’t do this with everyone, but you will win some people over. And by not being just another needy photographer, you’ll earn some respect.
About the author: Michael Comeau is the Editor of OnPortraits.com, an all-new online community dedicated to simple, classic portrait photography. Click here for more information. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Comeau is the author of a free eBook titled “37 Weird Tips for Better Portrait Photography.” This article was also published here.