Ep. 222: What Changed Adobe’s Mind? – and more

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Episode 222 of the PetaPixel Photography Podcast.
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Featured: Photographer, author and educator, Jeff Rojas

In This Episode

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Show Opener:
Photographer, author and educator, Jeff Rojas opens the show. Thanks Jeff!

Sponsors:
– Get $150-$200 off a MeVIDEO Globetrotter backing its Kickstarter campaign while supplies last. More deals at LensShark.com/deals.

Stories:
Lightroom realities settle in, but why did Adobe change its mind? (#)

Canon patents larger, flippy screens. Are they coming to the 1DX and 5D lines? (#)

What you check in your luggage when flying may soon change…and for good reason. (#)

Phottix announces the all-manual Juno transceiver flash. (#)
While still active, use our offer code (PetaPixel20) for 20% OFF anything at PhottixUS.com

An urbex photographer falls 14 stories to his death in Chicago. (#)

My other podcast with Brian Matiash, the No Name Photo Show.

Connect With Us

Thank you for listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast! Connect with me, Sharky James on TwitterInstagram and Facebook (all @LensShark) as we build this community.

We’d love to answer your question on the show. Leave us an audio question through our voicemail widget, comment below or via social media. But audio questions are awesome!

You can also cut a show opener for us to play on the show! As an example: “Hi, this is Matt Smith with Double Heart Photography in Chicago, Illinois, and you’re listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast with Sharky James!”

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Adobe: No, We’re Not Killing Lightroom Classic

Adobe is pushing further into the world of cloud-based software, and this week it rebranded Lightroom as Lightroom Classic CC so that the company’s new cloud-oriented app could be called Lightroom CC. But if your loyalties lie with the desktop app formerly known as Lightroom, don’t worry: Adobe says it will continue developing that app into the future.

Adobe has published a new FAQ-style article in its Lightroom Journal blog, and in it, Adobe product management director Tom Hogarty says Adobe remains committed to keeping Lightroom Classic alive.

One of the questions asks, “Is Lightroom Classic being phased out? How long will it be until Adobe kills Lightroom Classic?”

“No, we’re not phasing out Lightroom Classic and remain committed to investing in Lightroom Classic in the future,” Hogarty answers. “We know that for many of you, Lightroom Classic, is a tool you know and love and so it has an exciting roadmap of improvements well into the future.

“But please hold us accountable as we make updates in the following months and years to let us know if we’re meeting your expectations.”

Some photographers may be a bit wary of this promise, since Hogarty had said in a similar FAQ back in 2013 that Adobe would continue offering standalone versions of Lightroom “indefinitely” — this week Adobe announced that Lightroom 6 would be the final non-subscription version of the app (Adobe tells us that “plans have changed based on customer feedback”).

Lightroom Classic has a huge and loyal following among professional photographers, though, so we’re guessing Adobe is much more committed to keeping the app itself alive than it was keeping the app’s perpetual license alive.

And if you have some deeper questions into the new Lightroom landscape, Dan Watson of Learning Cameras just did a great interview with Hogarty and Lightroom product manager Sharad Mangalick about the future of Lightroom and the current state of things.

Hogarty says that there are two separate teams working on Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC now. However, there’s a connectedness between Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, and Lightroom CC because all of them handle photo edits using Adobe’s Camera RAW — any edits done in one program has all edits preserved when opened in the others.

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The Pixentu Photo Jacket Turns You Into a Walking Camera Bag

Pixentu is a new wearable photography jacket that’s designed to allow photographers to leave their camera bags at home — it’s essentially a wearable camera bag.

Coming in three different styles (street, outdoor, or a neat travel blazer), this jacket has an answer for different types of photographers.

Street photographer jacket
Outdoor photographer jacket
Travel photography blazer

The Pixentu jacket features waterproof pockets with lens-friendly fabric inside that you can use to wipe and clean your lens’ glass.

There’s an inner pocket for a small travel tripod or selfie stick, and a handy money pocket tucked away in the sleeve.

There are two “secure” lens pockets that fit 2 small lenses in each and are isolated from the rest of the jacket. There’s also an inner pocket that will keep your camera safe and accessible without having to unzip the jacket.

Want to bring something to read while traveling? No problem: there’s also a tablet-dedicated pocket. On top of that, there’s a headphone holder, extendable hood for the rain (only on the street version), a glasses pocket, another for your phone, a key holder, and more individual pockets for memory cards, batteries, and film canisters.

Pretty much all the features are available in each style, but this handy table breaks down the specs of each style:

Pixentu has already reached its £10,000 (about $13,000) funding goal, so the jackets look like they’re on track toward the estimated delivery date of February 2018 (if the project is successful).

They jackets are available from £100 (about $130) on Kickstarter for just over a month longer, after which they’ll retail at £200 (about $260).

(via Pixentu via DPReview)

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Adobe Scene Stitch is Like Content-Aware Fill with an Imagination

In addition to its Cloak and Scribbler projects, Adobe also used its MAX 2017 conference to offer a sneak peek of a technology called Scene Stitch. It’s like Content-Aware Fill on steroids: instead of guessing the fill content with details from the photo, Scene Stitch uses AI and a database of images to find content to fill the hole.

“Remember content-aware fill? Scene Stitch is like that, but more,” Adobe says. “Instead of just searching the image you are editing for content, and updating that image with what it finds, Scene Stitch looks through other images (like you would find on Adobe Stock) to find all new graphic elements.

“Scene Stitch isn’t just matching image types, it’s looking for what would fit the image well.”

One of the examples given in the demo is this photo that contains a road that needs to be removed:

Using standard Content-Aware Fill results in this not-so-ideal result that contains obvious cloned sections:

But run Scene Stitch, and the software will search through Adobe’s gigantic library of stock photos for images with sections that may fit well into the hole. What you get returned is a selection of options to choose from:

Many of them are much cleaner fills than the Content-Aware Fill (except the fills are from other photos):

Here are a couple more before-and-after examples:

An original scene
The scene filled in with Adobe Scene Stitch.
An original scene with the section to be removed selected with a red outline.
The scene reimagined by Scene Stitch.
The scene reimagined in a different way by Scene Stitch.

“This is doing more than just filling the hole in the image,” says Adobe’s Brian Price in the demo. “This is really allowing you to reimagine the image, to try new things, to remix in new content.”

As with many of Adobe’s latest technologies, Scene Stitch is powered by Adobe Sensei, the company’s powerful artificial intelligence system.

No word yet on if or when we’ll be seeing Scene Stitch arrive in the real world as a feature photographers and photo editors can actually use.

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This iPhone App Uses AI to Auto-Hide All Your Naughty Photos

Nude is a new app for iOS devices that will automatically identify and hide all of your sensitive photos, protecting them from prying eyes and making your Camera Roll safe to share with family and friends.

Dubbed “the sexiest app ever,” Nude will scan through your camera roll and select all of the private snaps (i.e. photos containing nudity) you have stored using its AI image recognition technology. It will automatically remove them from your standard Photos album and store them away.

It also makes sure to erase them from iCloud, so if you do want a backup of those images, then make sure to store it elsewhere first.

The analysis and storage of your photos occur locally on the phone itself and doesn’t rely on any cloud services. This means that everything stays private and in your control.

The simple interface of the Nude app features an “easy-to-use PIN pad” as well as touch ID compatibility for securing your new vault. You can view photos and videos within the app, and there’s even an option to shoot photos directly into Nude’s stores with your iPhone’s camera.

Feeling super paranoid? No worries. Nude has “break-in alerts” that take photos of those attempting to hack into the app.

The app is ad free, but you’ll have to pay a subscription of $1 a month or $10 a year. Nude is currently available on iOS devices only, but The Verge reports that an Android version is on the way.

(via The Verge via Engadget)

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Dear Minted, About Your $100 In-Home Photo Shoots…

Dear Minted,

I’ve been photographing families for seven years. Let me tell you; it’s been a long slog. I’ve learned so many things through the years that make my work consistent and creates happy clients, I’ve also learned that I work in a community of other independent photographers and we have also come to help, rely on and yes, compete with one another and still be friends at the end of the day.

Minted, I’m not so sure we can be friends. Friends work to understand one another’s backgrounds and the difficulties we face and we tend to value one another, not use one another or pull our friends into schemes that don’t work to their advantage based on false promises. We also like our friends to earn living wages.

I see you’re offering in-home photoshoots for $100. Wow. What a bargain!

How are photographers paid? You are paying your contract photographers $50 per session. On paper it sounds like $100 per hour for the photographer —
which to just about anyone — sounds awesome. But it’s not. In any case when you account for travel time/parking, culling the session (selecting the 50 best images) and a buffer for uncooperative clients each session should probably be at least 1.5 hours apart. Let’s do the math:

  • 5 sessions per day with 30 minute lunch break: $250
  • Parking or Uber: -$50
  • Tax rate for self-employed (35%) $70

Total take-home for 8-hour day: $130 or $16.25 per hour.

Just at living wage for San Francisco and also without gear or business or health insurance costs taken into account. Once you add those in you are looking at a wage below the living wage calculator.

Cities are a total b**ch to work in. Traditionally, people charge/pay for that. Have you all driven around San Francisco and tried to find a place to park? We’re talking about sessions in people’s homes, not one park where multiple clients can travel back-to-back for minis. It’s an extra 20-30 minutes to be sure to park at each destination. And allow 30-60 minutes to get from location to location on top of that. It won’t be free.

Parking really isn’t free in most areas of SF. Many people opt to Uber instead, but course that costs money too.… Also, there has been a rise in gear theft in San Francisco. It’s risky to carry $10,000+ worth of gear. Many Bay Area photographers are simply opting not to work in San Francisco or charge a premium to reflect the risk and time spent getting around.

Let’s do the math for a minimum kit:

  • Full frame camera: $2000-$3500 x2 (always carry a backup)
  • 35mm f/1.4 lens: $900-$1650 (for ultra-low light situations)
  • 24-70mm f/2.8 II: $1,799 (for versatility)
  • 600RT Flash: $450×2 (when it’s just too danged dark)
  • Professional liability and equipment insurance: Now what happens when your photographer bumps into a family heirloom and it crashes into oblivion or Dallas dumps his juice into your photographer’sKelly Moore bag? Will you be liable for those occurrences? Probably not. No photographer who wants to stay in business and keep their car, house or the shirt on her back is going to work without spending at least $600 a year on liability and equipment insurance. I’m sure with independent contractors it’s all on them.

Total: $8,199-$11,949. And continued hard use at sessions contributes to an overall depreciation of equipment value of 25% per annum for cameras and 10% for lenses.

The Shoot

Now that I’ve bored you with numbers and statistics let’s talk about logistics. Shooting in a home requires a certain amount of know-how. A pro-photographer is going to want to turn off all of the artificial lights. He/she is going to need to make the right lens choices. They may need to don their rubber gloves and help declutter while mom is wrangling the kid who doesn’t want to wear pants—or any clothes at all.

30 minutes, huh?

Sure… make sure you tell the two-year-old who is obsessed with trains that he needs to stop ramming his caboose into the dog’s tail for a posed session with a person he’s never met and doesn’t have time to warm up to (stranger danger is real, y’all). Before I pick up my camera I spend time with the children, playing and getting to know them. I am all up IN the dollhouse. Hand me a Barbie. Any one will do. I’ll be the baby, the mom or Barbie dog. Whatever it takes to make a new little friend!

I also connect with the parents and I make sure that everyone feels comfortable around me — this is outside of the actual time spent on the session itself.

I mean, it’s expensive to hire a pro to get consistent photos in a home. Those dreamy in-home photos like the one in Martha Stewart Living are shot with gear and know-how that lets us go into the unknown. Those shots can take hours to produce (how long did it take for you to make that ad photo?). Not every home is filled with light, styled minimalistically or is magazine ready. Most homes are spaghetti-ceilinged low light clutter bombs and require professional-level lenses, cameras and sometimes when there is no natural light, flashes.

Listen, Minted. I know this sounds great to you. I know that you are justifying this as a service to Minted customers. But you are doing a disservice to them. With your pretty in-magazine ad you are selling them on a quick, painless, convenient experience; in your words “easy, beautiful in-home photography for the holidays.”

Do you have realistic expectations about how that’s achieved? Do you understand that a pro can’t actually afford to work this business model and that you’re setting your customer up for disappointment because a pro is required to meet the expectation of “easy” and “beautiful” given the limitations of in-home photography? Your message to customers regarding a custom in-home session’s worth is that it should only be $100 when a good session is worth so much more.

Inviting a stranger into a customer’s home for $100 may sound like a great option but it just may be a waste of their time and money. There is a disconnect between what you’re promising and what is possible. And that can create badwill and someone who will complain about Minted far and wide. If the customer is someone who is new to personal photography they may also decide that it’s not for them based on this experience.

In closing…

Minted. Oh Minted. This is not a healthy relationship. I’m going to set some boundaries here. Do your research. Find out what the market rate is for in-home minis. For example: I charge $300 for my 30-minute in-home session and I get to keep all of the money (after expenses and Uncle Sam). I also get to keep my copyrights and I leave room for the up-sell. This gives me a living wage, affords me a decent salary and residual income should a client decide they’d like to purchase more images at a later date.

Pay your photographers enough money to cover their costs and earn a comfortable wage. Give them an incentive to sell more and make more. Maybe take that money ($206,400 according to the media kit) you spent on that Martha Stewart Living full page ad and invest in valuing photographers.

This program may seem on the surface just a loss-leader for sales of your cards but in reality, it’s a vampiric program sipping from the lifeblood of small businesses. It hurts our artistic community. It hurts the people who make content for your cards.

Or…

Just stick with making freaking adorable cards. I quit doing that once you cornered the market. Do you need to try and swoop up the rest of our livelihoods by changing perceived value? Do your clients and your business partners a favor (hint: photographers are your business partners — and as a friend recently advised “don’t s**t where you eat”) — refer reputable, vetted photographers to clients and we’ll work your affiliate program. For now, I’ll be sending my clients to Paperless Post (they do make things with paper).

Sincerely,

Nicole Digiorgio


Update: I got a nice email from a Minted employee stating that they are accelerating a referral program for “established professional photographers” based on the feedback they’ve been getting. I’m curious as to how they’ll differentiate the categories.

Minted also claims that the entry level aspect of their program is a way for photographers to get in front of people who have typically used cell phone shots in their Holiday cards, for newer photographers to “further build their experience” and for established photographers to backfill their schedules.

Look. Everyone starts somewhere. There are those photographers who charge $20 for a mini-session that you find all over treasure sites on Facebook. Those photographers may be served by a program such as this because I would assume that there are certain legal requirements these photographers would need to fill that they may have ignored up until that point. However, it must be noted that Minted recruitment programs have been actively pursuing established, skilled photographers. Whether they change the entry level market or not–and whether their new customers see value in choosing an “referral program” photographer after conversion from iPhone photography remains to be seen. I would guess that if those customers are happy with entry level photography they’ll continue with it.


About the author: Nicole Digiorgio is a SF Bay Area-based photographer and the owner and primary photographer of Sweetness and Light Photography. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of her work on her website, portfolio, Instagram, and Facebook. This article was also published here.

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War Photographer Giles Duley Tells the Story of War’s Long-Term Impact

Giles Duley, one of the world’s leading documentary and humanitarian photographers, is working on a new project titled Legacy of War. Learn what he thinks it means to tell a story in this inspiring 7-minute interview as part of Ilford Photo‘s new “Ilford Inspires” video series.

We previously featured Duley back in 2011 after he suffered a terrible injury from an IED while on patrol in Afghanistan alongside the US Army, causing him to lose two legs and one of his arms.

Legacy of War is a 5-year project that looks at the lasting impact war has around the world. Duley looks at those living amongst the aftermath, documenting both individuals and communities that are suffering.

“For me, photography is how I found my way of telling stories,” said Duley. “When I was 18 I had [a] camera, and suddenly I had my voice.”

“I photograph everything I hate in the world,” continued Duley. “And that’s actually really a challenge for me. That’s taken away a lot of my love of photography.”

Duley does this work because he wanted to “make the world a little bit better” by telling the stories about the people behind the issues seen so regularly on television. When things are brought onto a personal level, rather than just a quantity of people in a particular situation, it “reminds you what [it’s] really about.”

His new book, I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See, was turned into a “thought-provoking and hard-hitting exhibition” that was showing in London, UK, until mid-October 2017.

All of Duley’s photos in the series are shot using Ilford film, and the exhibition was printed using traditional silver gelatine paper from Harman Lab. You can find out more about Giles Duley on his website.


Image credits: Photographs by Giles Duley/UNHCR and used with permission

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Adobe Scribbler Can Auto Colorize B&W Photos

Adobe is teasing an impressive new technology called Scribbler. It’s an “interactive deep learning-based image generation system” that you can use to automatically colorize black-and-white photos. Above is a 6.5-minute demo of Scribbler.

The system was developed using the Adobe Sensei deep learning system by researchers at Adobe, Georgia Tech, and UC Berkeley. The scientists trained a neural network on tens of thousands of carefully chosen photos to teach it facial features in new photos and fill in realistic colors (based on its best guess).

Here are two examples of black-and-white portraits that were automatically turned into color photos by Adobe Scribbler:

The colorization can be done with a single click. For more customization, you can tell Scribbler what you want certain portions of photos to look like.

In addition to photos, the system can also be used on drawings and sketches:

Project Scribbler was publicly demonstrated yesterday as a Sneak Peek at the Adobe MAX 2017 conference. The demo was portrait-focused, but it seems Adobe is aiming to make this technology word for any type of photo.

“This is a look at early technology from Adobe,” Adobe says. “These may or may not be features and/or new products we integrate down the line.”

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The Secrets to Photographing Rainforest Wildlife

Wildlife photography is taken to the extreme in the rainforest. All of the elements, insects, and other creatures seem to be fighting against you and your camera. In this 7-minute video from Nature TTL, learn how to keep your camera alive and take memorable images in one of the planet’s most challenging environments.

Photographer Sam Rowley tested his photographic skills when he took off to Madagascar’s rainforest in search of lemurs and some unusual reptiles.

Red ruffed lemur, Varecia rubra, Masoala, Madagascar, July.
Uroplatus fimbriatus, giant leaf-tailed gecko, Nosy Mangabe, Madagascar, August.
Giant leaf tailed gecko, uroplatus fimbriatus, Nosy Mangabe, Madagascar, July.

Leaf-tailed geckos tried to steal the show, but the number of incredible lemurs that are endemic to Madagascar cannot be ignored.

Rowley’s tips include how to keep your camera safe from rainforest moisture, how to deal with incredibly low light, how to prepare yourself for an entirely new ecosystem, and how to even begin to capture animals that spend most of their time high in the canopy on camera.

Check out the full video above to take a proverbial trip into the jungle, and subscribe to Nature TTL’s channel for more nature photography tips and tutorials each week.


Full disclosure: I run the Nature TTL photography channel.

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Juno Calypso: ‘It can get lonely and weird’

Staring at your face for hours on end in the name of art can be tough. Juno Calypso, of all people, should know. Since she was was 21 she has been on both sides of the camera, creating work that is a strange, haunting, sometimes hilarious critique of femininity.

“Theoretically, I love treading the line between feminism and being erotic, playing with those cliched poses,” she said when we spoke to her following her latest shoot in which she was experimenting with the Fujifilm GFX 50S.  “People want to assist me thinking it’ll be fun but it’s a frustrating, long boring process,” says the 28-year-old photographer. “Honestly, I don’t enjoy it.”

© Juno Calypso, shot on the GFX

Calypso first came to the photography world’s attention with her Art Catlin Award-winning series Joyce, in which she appeared as her ‘80s-style alter ego in big glasses, blonde wigs and pink lingerie. Darker in tone, her next project, The Honeymoon, captured a solo trip to an American couple’s retreat where she posed in heart-shaped hot tubs.

The accolades have continued to pile up – including a BJP International Photography Award and a solo show at Flowers Gallery. At the time of writing social media is abuzz with chat about her typically incisive photo essay, A Girl’s Guide Egg Freezing – a commission for TOPIC Magazine that she got through her agent We Folk – which shows Calypso, her reflection repeated in boudoir mirrors, delicately injecting her belly.

© Juno Calypso, shot on the GFX

It was only when photographer Esther Teichmann, one of Calypso’s tutors at the London College of Communication, saw some test shoots for fashion pictures where Calypso had stood in for the model, that the idea for Joyce was born. “It won a couple of awards and all of a sudden people were interested. I knew I had to carry on.” What does she think resonated with people about the character? “It’s relatable humour,” says Calypso. “She looks pissed off but it’s still a colourful and fun picture to look at so it kind of soothes you while giving you some excitement.”

Although the character of Joyce became less central in The Honeymoon, Calypso’s focus on experimental self-portraiture continued. Each shot took hours to produce. “I just chip away, change this, change that.” The lack of windows in the honeymoon hotel didn’t help. “It can lonely and weird.” Calypso’s been less adventurous when it comes to kit. “I’ve stuck with the same camera and lens since I left LCC in 2012. Before that I used analogue medium and large format which I loved the quality of, but it became impossible to shoot self portraits on location by myself without something smaller, and digital.”

© Juno Calypso

She was intrigued to try out the new medium format mirrorless digital camera, the Fujifilm GFX 50S. “The colours were very true to life, I didn’t have to make many adjustments at all in camera or post production. Usually I’ll put up with whatever I can get on camera knowing I can colour correct it later. I’ll allocate days or weeks for editing. With the photographs shot on the GFX, I sat down ready to begin the process but ended up not having to do much at all.

“The quality was much greater than what I’m used to,” she continues. “There was so much more information in the raw file to play with. I don’t like being restricted by the composition or other decisions I’ve made on camera. I like to be able to make big changes and crop down a lot. I could do that with this camera without losing quality,” she adds.

© Juno Calypso

After forgetting to order a remote control – an essential tool for Calypso – she found she could use an app with the Fujifilm GFX 50S to turn her phone into a remote. “It was 100 times better. With a remote control you can’t see anything but now I could change the focus from where I was so I didn’t have to get up, I just slid it under a pillow. It’s like it was made just for what I do. Being behind the camera and in front of it at the same time. I’ve tried an external adaptor since for my camera but the Fuji remote control interface remains the best.”

The Fujifilm GFX 50S shoot also presented an opportunity for some stylistic exploration. “I’m trying not to limit myself to only shooting once a year on location so I set up a studio in my bedroom,” she says. But Calypso doesn’t stay still for long. She’s just back from LA, where she was doing a talk at the Museum of Broken Relationships, alongside photographer Natasha Caruana. While there she travelled to some locations she’d been researching beforehand. “It was a bit of an experiment,” is all she’ll reveal. Of course – we wouldn’t expect anything less.

The GFX 50S is Fujifilm’s first medium format mirrorless camera system, offering outstanding image quality in a digital format, at an affordable price. It’s available to buy now. For more information please visit the Fujifilm website.

© Juno Calypso

Sponsored by Fujifilm: This feature was made possible with the support of Fujifilm. Please click here  for more information on sponsored content funding at British Journal of Photography.

© Juno Calypso

© Juno Calypso

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