A Super Quick Chat

Coming to Starbucks has become a bit of a routine for me lately. The first reason was for me to have a nice quiet place to work in the morning. But as I sit here at 11:34am on a busy Sunday, I realize the small act of getting out of the house is what I appreciate the most.

Starbucks

Sitting by the big open window provides me with well-needed sunshine and seeing different faces come in and out of the coffee shop inspires me to continue to explore the world around me and connect with new people.

This blog post isn’t really about anything in particular. I’m just dropping in because I realize I haven’t posted in a couple of days. But, I’m currently in the works of a few new blog posts that may or may not be posted later today.

Sunday, for me, is all about renewal and it is when I’m most inspired to lay the foundation of my creations. I can’t say enough how excited I am to connect back with my blog. It truly is a great platform to share my photography and the thoughts that fuel it.

With that said, I better stop rambling and get back to it. I hope you all enjoy your Sunday. Feed yourself nutritious meals today, read a book, watch a movie, do some yoga, etc. Recharge yourself today.

Adobe Photoshop vs Adobe Lightroom for Editing 2020

I’ve been seeing a lot of debate on whether Photoshop or Lightroom is a better all-around photo editor. Both are excellent photo editing software, in my opinion. But I think we naturally love to create competition. I’ve already formed my own opinion about the matter and to me, it honestly boils down to the type of photographer you are.

If I had to choose, I would certainly choose both because I think they both excel in their own way. So here is my honest, simple review of both software and which one you should invest in going into 2020.

Photoshop

Photoshop was the first editing software I was introduced to. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of Lightroom when I started in photography. At the time, I was not interested in photo editing. I just wanted to take pictures. The thought of nitpicking at my work was daunting and the idea of learning a foreign software was overwhelming. However, after watching countless YouTube videos I realized that photo editing was part of the creative process.

As I learned photoshop, I became less overwhelmed and more interested in what Photoshop could do. Not only was I able to color correct my photos, but I could retouch skin, remove objects, add backgrounds, etc. I realized Photoshop was a powerhouse and that with a little skill, I could transform my photos into something that wasn’t even in the original picture.

That realization was fun. However, most of my work (if not all) does not require me to use Photoshop to that degree. It’s nice to know those extensive capabilities are available but I realize I only need it a small part of the time.

Favorite Tools on Photoshop: Clone Stamp, Spot Healing Brush 

Lightroom

I was introduced to the simplicities of Lightroom a little while after photoshop and fell in love with it. One of my favorite things about Lightroom is how simple it is to manipulate your photo. You don’t really need to watch a bunch of YouTube tutorials on how to create layers, render images, lock files, etc.

When I’m shooting, my goal is to perfect the image as much as possible in the frame. This process allows me to not have much work to do in post-processing. Lightroom’s simple nature and how well it gets the job done for me is why it is my preferred editing software. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best but that it is the best for me right now.

Favorite Tools: Clarity, Temperature, Grain

Photoshop or Lightroom?

Once again, I would have to say that the best tool depends on what you’re shooting or what you hope to accomplish. For instance, if you’re shooting a landscape but the sky is really washed out to the point that you can’t color correct it to beauty, then you may want to use Photoshop to swap out the sky. At the same time, if you just want to add more color to your landscape photo, Lightroom is obviously the best choice.

For those that are into fashion and portrait photography, you may find that both platforms make sense for you: Photoshop to retouch skin and Lightroom for any color corrections.

Though I don’t use Photoshop as much anymore, it’s something that I know I need to keep around. There will be times where I need to remove an object out of my photograph, retouch someone’s skin or resize a photo for print. However, for my day-to-day editing, Lightroom is my go-to.

I think it’s best for photographers to make a list of what tools are most important to them to help them decide which software is the better choice or whether they need both. Here is my list:

Must-haves

  • Simple and easy color corrector
  • Some sort of healing tool for skin purposes
  • The ability to resize images and change resolution for printing purposes
  • Ability to save my presets for future use

Obviously, you need to do more than just those four things to effectively edit, but understanding what’s important for you will help you see which software will be more useful. For instance, both Photoshop and Lightroom offer a healing tool but I find that Photoshop helps you edit skin more naturally through separation frequency, which is not something you can do in Lightroom.

My current Creative Cloud plan includes both Photoshop and Lightroom for just $10 a month, which is a great value. Don’t forget to take advantage of the free trials Adobe offers as well. Tell me, which editing software do you prefer?

 

 

4 Must-Have Apps for Photographers

There are so many photography apps available today that help photographers work and create more efficiently, and some not so much. Fortunately, I’ve spent a lot of time testing out different apps to see which ones are actually useful and which ones are just taking up space on my phone. So today I’m going to share 4 of my favorite apps for photography.

1. VSCO

The first app on my list is VSCO. This app isn’t foreign to photographers. In fact, most photographers use or have used VSCO at one point in time. For me, it’s a staple app that I have grown to love and use more actively.

When I first signed up for VSCO years ago I was mainly a spectator, watching other photographers post their work. Today, I mainly use it to organize photos for social media and my website and to do light editing

VSCO has the same layout as Instagram so I love to use it to see how my photos will look on Instagram before I post it. In addition to this, I find that VSCO has a pretty good editing tool. I particularly enjoy using clarity, sharpen, and split tone features. VSCO even has some really nice presets. I don’t use these though because I prefer to create my own presets in Lightroom but for those that don’t want to spend their time creating them, VSCO has a nice variety.

2. Photoshop Express

Photoshop Express is not to be confused with Photoshop Fix. This app is an extremely basic version of  Photoshop CC but it gets the job done, which is why I find it to be one of the most useful apps to have on my iPhone.

Photoshop Express is packed with a decent amount of features that will help you take your photos to the next level straight from your phone. You can create things like Bokeh, a grunge look, watercolor, and even cosmos.

I don’t personally use these features because I like to keep things simple but I do appreciate the fact that this app takes things a little further than your average photo app. It also helps you get an idea of things you can create when you subscribe to the actual Photoshop software.

3. Adobe Lightroom Editor

Next on the list is Adobe Lightroom Editor. What I love about Adobe Lightroom Editor is that they have a lot of the same features that you can find in the actual software. However, the true reason this app made it to my list has a lot more to do with the fact that I can easily transfer photographs from my phone into Lightroom.

I find this app to be extremely convenient on my lazy days. It’s also convenient when I connect my Canon 6d to my iPhone to take pictures. It allows me to save the images to my phone, upload them to the Lightroom app and it will automatically sync with the Lightroom software so  I can edit them there when I’m ready.

4. Plotboard – Frame Moodboard

The last app on this list is one I’ve only recently started using but is one I plan to keep around. Plotboard is not a photo editing app but it is an app I find great for making mood boards for any commission work or personal projects I’m working on.

This is convenient for me because I have something I can easily reference back to and build upon right from my phone. I find that having a mood board keeps me inspired and focused on my current direction and love that this app makes it easy for me to add photos to it.

Another benefit to this app is that if you click share you can easily send it to someone else through text or mail. So if you’re working on a joint project or want to share the mood board with a client for a shoot, this app makes it simple for you to do that.

I really love it when I find apps that help me cut down on time and work more creatively. For me, I find these apps to be the most useful all-around. What are some of your favorite apps?

Also, if you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to check out my article talking about the 3 best lenses for a Canon full-frame.

My Go-To Lens for Travel

Lately, I’ve been more drawn to travel photography and all of the adventures and experiences that come with it. Not too long ago I sold the few lenses I had and left myself with the Canon 50mm 1.8 lens. To be honest, I wasn’t quite satisfied with my collection because I bought the lenses based on reviews, not really thinking about how these lenses would fit into my photography direction. As expected, those lenses sat waiting to be sold on eBay.

I kept the 50mm 1.8 because it’s a standard lens and can be used for all types of photography. For this reason, my 50mm isn’t just my go-to travel lens because it’s the only one I have but because I actually prefer it for my travel photography. That’s not to say that I don’t plan to invest in more lenses because the 50mm does have a few limitations that I will discuss in another blog. However, it has presented me with challenges that make me think more creatively about my art. At the same time, it’s convenient in a lot of instances as well.

IMG_7374[1].jpg

This image was taken while I was vacationing in the Bahamas using my 50mm lens. As you can see, the 50mm is perfectly capable of photographing a nice landscape even without it being a wide-angle lens. Some photographers may feel that their landscape photos could be more effective with a wider lens that emphasizes scenery but for me, this is enough.

man downtown 2

At the same time, this is an old photo I took while Downtown Chicago of a man using my 50mm. I love creating more intimate pictures when exploring areas, and I think that those intimate moments are sometimes necessary for travel.

The 50mm really lives up to its name and it is a lens that I’m confident to take on my travel journies. My decision in this lens has a lot to do with the fact that when I’m traveling, I’m never looking for any particular subject to shoot, rather anything that calls to me. For me, that means that I need a powerhouse lens that won’t limit me to the point where I feel like I can only make great images of certain subjects.

Why a Prime Lens vs a Zoom lens?

It may make more sense to take a zoom lens on a trip such as the 24-70mm F/2. Truthfully, I’m an advocate for prime lenses and really love how involved I have to be with getting the shot successfully. I personally feel like prime lenses make me a better photographer and a prime lens was my first investment. I do plan to venture out into the world of zoom lenses but not without proper research first.

What lens do you prefer for travel?

 

 

 

3 Best Lenses for Canon Full Frame

In reality, the “best” lens for your Canon full-frame will depend on what you’re photographing, as well as, your expectations. However, I like to believe that there are all-around great lenses for various forms of photographing. This can be beneficial when you’re still trying to figure out what you want to focus on or whether you prefer to photograph any and everything.

Photography costs can add up quickly, so when choosing these lenses I thought about lens value, how useful these lenses would be in multiple photography situations, and price.

1. Canon EF 50mm 1.4 USM lens

The first lens on this is the Canon 50mm 1.4. Already labeled the “nifty fifty”, this truly is an all-around great lens for pretty much any type of photography. Admittedly, I don’t find the 50mm the best at shooting things like landscapes and real estate. That’s because it isn’t a wide-angle lens. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. With that said, there are so many other things that make this 50mm worth it, especially since you can purchase this lens for $349 right at B&H.

I chose the 1.4 vs the 1.8 or 1.2 for a few reasons. While you can purchase the 50mm 1.8 as low as $110, I don’t think it’s worth the investment if you can afford the 1.4 because I find that it’s hard to get subjects in focus at 1.8. This means shooting completely wide-open with this lens can be difficult (not to say it can’t be done). I personally find that this lens shoots best around 2.0. The 1.4 allows you a little more working room for those obsessed with a nice shallow depth of field.

The 1.2 will obviously give you the sharpest photographs wide open but it’s really not much of a difference compared to the 1.4 to pay $1,349.00 for it. Even if I could afford the 1.2, I’m not sure if I would even invest in it. I would really have to consider how often I’m shooting wide open for me to determine how valuable this lens would be for me.

 2. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF

I chose the Sigma 35mm 1.4 because I definitely think this lens provides great versatility for photographers who want to shoot wide-angle but also want to get into portrait and fashion work. The 35mm lens is considered the very beginning of wide-angle, which means you can definitely create beautiful landscape photos but you can also take portraits that include some of the environment.

The Sigma is fast, great in low-light situations, and you can definitely create sharp photos with a shallow depth-of-field similar to the 50mm 1.4. Another great thing about Sigma’s lens is that it’s priced at $699 as compared to Canon’s version sitting at $1,699.00.

$700 dollars may have sounded like a lot after looking at Canon’s 50mm 1.4 but when you compare it to Canon’s 35mm, Sigma’s price point is actually very affordable.

3. Canon EF 24-105mm F/4 L IS USM

The Canon 24-105mm F/4 lens is the last on the list and the only zoom lens. Zoom lenses are always great because of the wide variety of things you’re able to shoot. While I’ll always have a love for prime lenses (and currently only use one prime lens) I definitely appreciate the convenience and creativity that zoom lenses bring.

The 24-105mm, in particular, interests me because this lens is not only great for travel purposes but this lens is also great for other things such as portraits, fashion, and street photography.

If you’re interested in a lot of different types of photography but can only afford one lens, this could be a good investment. You can get this lens for about $899. It’s not the cheapest lens available, in fact, it’s the most expensive lens on this small list. However, the price isn’t too steep that a little planning and budgeting couldn’t handle.

With that said, these are my 3 favorite lenses for Canon full-frame camera. Of course, this list is subjective. There are many lenses on the market that some people may find better suited for their photography needs.  It’s a good idea to create a list of your wants, needs, and your indifferences, and let that list be the foundation of your research.