October 30th, 2014

PhotoPlus Expo 2014: Phottix Debuts Indra500 TTL

Phottix Indra
Phottix drew back the curtain on a new studio light at PhotoPlus Expo.

The Indra500 is a 500 Watt light capable of TTL metering for Canon and Nikon cameras thanks to its internal Odin TTL flash trigger. You’ll have the option of three firing modes—manual, TTL and stroboscopic—as well as a high-speed sync mode with shutter speeds up to 1/8000s.

In strobe mode, the flash can be set to a frequency between 1 and 100Hz for a total of up to 100 flashes. There’s also a second curtain sync for achieving a streaking light effect and you can adjust power output from 1/128 power to full power in 1/3 stops.

Thanks to its built-in Odin wireless controller, so you can shoot in manual or TTL mode, adjust flash exposure and use high speed or second curtain sync from the Phottix Odin or Mitros+ receivers. The Indra500 will also incorporate the company’s Strato II receiver for wireless triggering in manual mode.

Phottix will sell an external battery pack to power the Indra500 for up to 340 full-power shots. The battery pack offers two power ports so it can run a pair of Indra500s as well as a USB port for charging up mobile devices.

The Indra500 will retail $1,299 (including battery) and is available  now.

October 30th, 2014

PhotoPlus Expo 2014: LG Intros 4K Monitor, Super-Wide Screen Models

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Looking to jump on the growing number of 4K capture devices entering the market, LG has announced a new 4K-capable monitor tipped at video editors and others needing a large, high-resolution and color-accurate workspace.

The 31-inch IPS monitor (model 31MU97) will have a resolution of 4096 x 2160 with support for Maxx Audio and the Adobe RGB color space. The display has an aspect ratio of 16:9 with a color depth of 10-bit. It offers two HDMI ports, DisplayPort, MiniDP and three USB 3.0 jacks.

It’s shipping now for $1,399.

The company also showed off a new pair of “ultra-wide” monitors with an aspect ratio of 21:9.

The 39UC97 is a curved monitor that measures in at 34-inches diagonally. It features an IPS panel with a resolution of 3440 x 1440. It features a Thunderbolt 2 port and supports Maxx Audio with a 7 Watt speaker system built in. It’s available now for $1,299.

Finally the 34UM95 will share some of the features of its curved sibling but will be slighly smaller at 33.7-inches diagonal. It ships with True Color Finder calibration software and features LG’s 4-Screen Split feature that divides the screen into four sections with a choice of eight screen ratios. It also supports Dual-Link Up which lets you connect two sources to the display and display both on the screen simultaneously. As far as connectivity goes, this monitor has two HDMI ports, DisplayPort and two ThunderBolt 2 connections.

It’s available now for $999.

October 29th, 2014

Step Ahead: Preserving Memories With Mylio

Mylio Screen

Sponsored by Mylio

Mylio is a powerful new software tool that lets your photos do the talking. Simply stated, Mylio aims to solve the central dilemma facing photographers of all skill levels: how to find, organize and safeguard an ever-growing library of digital memories across all of our multiplying devices. From the professional photographer with a library of RAW files, to the casual snap-shooter hunting for an iPhone shot of the kids, Mylio’s software is intuitive and streamlined, allowing image-makers to focus on what truly matters: the photographs.

Joe McNally knows the value of photographic memories. In addition to his work as an acclaimed professional photographer, he’s a prolific speaker and educator within the photographic community. And like everyone else, he has personal memories to preserve alongside his professional output. For McNally, Mylio can help with both. When asked to select the most important image he’s taken in his storied career, he says, “I’ve photographed famous, beautiful people. Not to mention heads of state, movers and shakers and heroes of the athletic field. But none are as important to me as this one: my kid, trying to walk.”

Joe McNally Daughter
Photo © Joe McNally

McNally’s daughter is now 28, and he says, “I’m very lucky to still have the negative. It is a piece of my memory that could have easily been lost.”

Today, millions of photographers have—through no fault of their own—put their own digital negatives at risk; photos are sprinkled among external hard drives, laptops and mobile devices. Mylio offers a home with easy organization and an elegant interface. From a unified view of your entire image collection, you can tag, arrange and make edits that will instantly propagate across all of your devices. Mylio can also judge which photos are unprotected according to its 3:2 principle (an image is protected when there are three copies made in two separate locations). Armed with this knowledge, you can quickly identify which photos need a little extra security.

Mylio All Products

For professional photographers, who require numerous backup copies, McNally says Mylio’s seamless approach across all registered devices is very appealing. For the rest of us, Mylio’s drive for elegance and simplicity will resonate.

See Mylio for yourself at mylio.com/getmylio, and if you’re attending PhotoPlus Expo this week, stop by booth 273.

October 28th, 2014

PhotoPlus Expo 2014: On the Upbeat – A Conversation with Ben Folds

140312_tour_portraitMany PhotoPlus Expo goers will know Ben Folds from his day job as a multi-platinum selling singer/songwriter, touring solo artist and leader of the eponymous Ben Folds Five. What you may not know is that Folds is an avid photographer, enamored of his darkroom and a devotee of both film and digital techniques.

PDN’s Technology Editor Greg Scoblete interviewed Folds about his photography ahead of his PhotoPlus Expo keynote on Saturday, November 1. What follows is an edited transcript.

You’ve said that you became an “obsessive freak” about photography when your kids were born. That’s probably true of a lot of parents, at least in the infant stages, but yours turned into a more enduring passion. Why?


Ben Folds: I wasn’t happy with the glut of ‘evidence’ photographs.  I wanted something enduring and archival that could be framed or touched for years. In order to do that I needed to learn to print well, and I needed to make decisions about what spoke of their childhood… In the process, I became obsessive about the materials—the film, the cameras, the tools.

I know you keep a fully packed schedule between recording and touring. When and how do you work in photography? Is it a part of your daily life?


Ben Folds: It’s like a break. I can work without working. I find it relaxing to go through my shots on a plane or in a hotel. I’m always surprised how ‘productive’ I remain about photography.

A more prosaic question: what do you typically shoot with? What’s your photographic process look like?

Ben Folds: These days I shoot three ways: color with my Sony digital camera, which I generally convert to black and white; black-and-white digital with my Monochrom and black-and-white film with my old Rolleiflex.

I can develop my film in the bathroom, or more often with my schedule, I send it to a lab [where] I’ve had good results for a couple years. I just stay on the lightly ‘overexposed’ side and have them ‘pull’ the film and I get a good grey printable negative generally. The negatives I really like, I have scanned. I may soon invest in a crazy good scanner, but boy that is an investment. I don’t have a darkroom at the moment—it’s all in storage. I miss my darkroom.

On your photography website you write that archival prints that would last generations are a more eloquent representation of your children’s youth “than digital folders full of snapshots.” Beyond the longevity, what do you find compelling about prints? 


Ben Folds: They are real. Life is real. We do live online a lot, but we’re still creatures of the Earth. Printing and prints means something you can hold—and there’s limited space and time so you have to make a decision. You can’t be in two places at once and while you can keep a million files on a hard drive, they’re not really there until they’re printed.

There’s seems to be a similarity in the way the business models of photography and music have been impacted by the Internet and digital technology. What was once scarce is now plentiful and what was once a high barrier to entry is considerably lower. Are you optimistic about the ability of future artists — be they photographers or musicians — to earn a living? 

Ben Folds: I think we can earn a living.  I don’t think we can expect to be rich at it.

You’ve written that you photograph things on the upbeat rather than the downbeat. What do you mean by that? 

Ben Folds: The downbeat is where we all land. It’s predictable. It’s not that I don’t shoot the predictable, I just find that I’m drawn to the photos that were shot between the moments—between the poses, and between the subjects, somehow.

I’m no master of that, but I can feel it when I see it and I try to be spontaneous enough to hit the shutter before I even know why. That [approach], somehow, was easier with film. I know that’s weird, but something about knowing there are a limited number of exposures on a roll made me feel more dangerous.

Anyway, at the end of the day, it’s just about telling a story—you can make that more interesting in the way you tell it, when you tell it and how you frame it.

October 28th, 2014

Blue Sky Gallery Starts Book Publishing Program to Mark 40th Year

Portland, Oregon’s Blue Sky Gallery entered its 40th year with a retrospective exhibition at the Portland Art Museum, and the launch of Blue Sky Books, a new print-on-demand publishing program that offers affordable books by 36 of the artists who’ve shown at the gallery.

Since it opened in 1975 as a collaborative project by local photographers, Blue Sky Gallery has grown into an important photography outlet with an international reputation, showing the work of both emerging and established photographers from the region, the country and throughout the world.

The museum exhibition, which includes more than 120 works, looks back on more than 700 exhibitions at the gallery by 650 photographers.

The book program grew in part from the gallery’s DIY esthetic. “We’re a very populous, democratic gallery,” says Christopher Rauschenberg, the president of the Blue Sky board of directors and the editor of Blue Sky Books. “We’re an artist’s space, and artists don’t have any money,” he adds. The books cost $18 dollars on average and can be ordered through MagCloud, the print-on-demand service owned by Blurb. The price includes a 15 percent fee for the artist and a 15 percent fee for the gallery.

The program was inspired in part by an artist who’d shown at Blue Sky, who reached out to Rauschenberg about a deal a publisher was offering him: the publisher would put out the artist’s book if he raised $30,000. Rauschenberg told the artist it was a standard deal, “but I can’t say it’s a good deal and I don’t have anything else to offer you,” Rauschenberg recalls. Other photographers had asked similar questions. Rauschenberg realized he wanted to be able to offer photographers “something else.” In looking back at the history of the gallery, Rauschenberg also realized there were “all these bodies of work that were never published as books and great shows that we had 30 years ago,” he says. He chose to use MagCloud, which he had used to make small catalogues of his own work for portfolio reviews, to create a series of books that were affordable to buy, and to publish.

By releasing 36 books at once, as the gallery did last week, Rauschenberg felt the artists could leverage their collective networks to promote the endeavor. “We’ve asked everybody to not just put your own book out but promote the whole series,” Rauschenberg says.

Community support and collective effort have contributed to the gallery’s longevity. For instance, Bruce Guenther, who recently announced his retirement as the chief curator of the Portland Art Museum, was instrumental in helping the gallery figure out how to buy the space they now occupy, Rauschenberg says. “Portland has a really wonderful spirit” in which people come together to get things done, and the local audience responds.

Rauschenberg remembers the flood of exhibition proposals the gallery received soon after they opened so many years ago. “We came in with a certain amount of a dream, and then other people’s dreams have added to it.”

October 28th, 2014

PhotoPlus Expo 2014: Epson Introduces New SureColor P600

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Epson got an early jump on the PhotoPlus Expo festivities with the newly announced SureColor P600, a new high-end photo printer.

The P600 offers resolutions of up to 5670 x 1440 and black densities with an L* value of 2—the lower the value, the deeper the black—thanks to newly formulated UltraChrome HD inks. There are nine individual 26ml ink cartridges in all with auto-switching available between photo and matte black.

A three-level black ink system uses screening algorithms to determine drop density and ensures a wide tonal range for your monochrome print.

You can make full-bleed prints up to 13-inches wide and the printer has a roll feed mechanism for panoramic prints as long as 129 inches. The P600 also supports printing to canvas, art board and CDs.

You use the adjustable 3.5-inch LCD display to toggle through menu settings or control the printer wirelessly via Wi-Fi.

The printer will retail for $799 and will ship during the first quarter of 2015.

October 27th, 2014

Obituary: David Armstrong, Age 60

Photographic artist David Armstrong, who first made his name as a member of the “Boston School” with Jack Pierson, Mark Morrisroe and Nan Goldin, and eventually shot for Vogue, GQ, and other fashion clients, died October 25, in Los Angeles, from liver cancer.  He was 60 years old.  Vogue.com reported that Armstrong’s agent, Jed Root, had confirmed the news.

Born in Arlington, Massachusetts, Armstrong was also very much of New York City, his long-time home. With intentions to become a painter, he attended the Boston Museum School and Cooper Union in New York. He received his B.F.A. from Tufts in 1988.

Along with fellow “Boston School” contemporaries like Stephen “Tabboo!” Tashjian, Armstrong and his friends made art of their lives in the counterculture. He first met Nan Goldin as a teenager, and their work was first shown together at PS1′s “New York/New Wave” exhibit in 1981.

David Armstrong 615 Jefferson

The cover of David Armstrong’s 2011 monograph 615 Jefferson Avenue. © Damiani/Photo by David Armstrong

Armstrong is often cited as having had a significant influence on Ryan McGinley, who also turned an interesting life with beautiful young friends into photographic art. Much of Armstrong’s work features lots of natural light, and his gaze is unmistakably erotic. Throughout his career, he made sharp-focused portraits of beautiful young boys, but he also made cityscapes in soft focus, especially after moving to Berlin in the early 1990s. His work was included in the 1995 Whitney Biennial.

Armstrong ushered into the universe of fashion by designer Hedi Slimane, who first commissioned him to make backstage photos of his work at Dior Homme. He would go on to be published in the French, Italian and Japanese editions of Vogue, Arena Homme+, GQ and Out, among other magazines, and counted Ermenegildo Zegna, Kenneth Cole, Burberry, Puma and Rodarte amongst his commercial clients.

Over his career he published several books, including a 1994 collaboration with his old friend, Nan Goldin/David Armstrong: A Double Life; he also published1997′s The Silver Cord, and a 2012 pressing of 30-plus-year-old photographs called Night & Day. His final monograph, 615 Jefferson Avenue, is comprised of bright portraits of male models taken at his house in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

In a conversation with old friend Jack Pierson about his process and motivation, published in Out magazine in 2011, he said, “I always think you want to come away with some beautiful, beautiful picture of the person, the boy, that’s really everything you want to express about them. Or, at least something you can rub one out to.”

October 27th, 2014

PDN Video: Marcus Smith on How to Develop Your Brand Identity

Marcus Smith, Part 2: How to Develop Your Brand Identity from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

In a previous PDN Video, advertising photographer Marcus Smith explained how he used personal work to land his dream clients. After winning his first few commercial assignments, though, Smith decided he needed a stronger brand identity to maintain momentum. In this video, he explains how he figured out the right brand message for his business, communicated it to a designer, and got a professional-looking brand identity on a tight budget.

Smith will speak at Photo Plus Expo on a panel called “PDN’s 30: Strategies for Young Working Photographers” on Saturday, November 1 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. Others speaking on the panel include Dina Litovsky, Greer Muldowney, Keren Sachs, and Tony Gale. For complete details about Photo Plus Expo seminars and events, see the Photo Plus Expo website.

Related:
PDN Video: Marcus Smith on How to Attract the Clients You Want

October 23rd, 2014

How to Boost Traffic to Your Site and Increase Print Sales

Sponsored by Zenfolio

You may be the most talented photographer in your genre, but unless you have an excellent web presence and advertising put in place, no one will know you exist. Here, we provide four crucial steps to get more exposure to your site, gain and retain customers, and boost sales for a profitable photography business.

1. Create an SEO-friendly website.

When potential customers are searching for a photographer in their area on Google or Bing, will your website show up? Aside from referrals, discovering photographers on search engines is the top way clients find who they want to hire, so making sure your website is SEO-friendly is key. Providing relevant keywords and text on your pages, such as geographic location and genre, will help. Zenfolio is built with HTML, so it automatically submits your sitemap to major search engines and lets you know which fields are important to fill out and display on your pages.

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2. Give People Incentives to Buy.

Now that people are on your site, how do you get them to buy? Creating time pressure, offering a special promotion or bundling products into packages are all great ways. To get customers to act, set an expiration date on a gallery so that they have a limited amount of time to purchase before the images go away. If you decide to offer a special promotion, create early bird coupons for those who make purchases within the first week photos are online, or include a gift certificate. Bundling products is great because people want more for their money. Create a package of prints and products, and lower the total cost of what customers would pay for the same items à la carte. Zenfolio has all of these features, including shopping cart reminders, so that a customer will receive emails reminding them of their unfinished orders, encouraging them to complete checkout.

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3. Follow Up with Offers.

After a sale has been made, it doesn’t have to be the end of the road. People are always in need of a gift for the holidays, anniversaries or birthdays. Offer discounted items or rewards for referrals, and keep in contact with clients on a personal level. With Zenfolio, you can set up a contact list that captures visitors when they come to your website, so you can send emails to them later.

4. Have Flash Sales.

Having several sales throughout the year is a great revenue boost. During the holidays, offer a big discount for presents, or participate in Cyber Monday or Black Friday. Put photos back online for a limited time, or offer new products, as framed prints or canvas wraps. With Zenfolio, you can easily create gallery banners so visitors are aware of the sale.

In order to be successful, it’s crucial to make new customers want to work and buy from you. Make sure your website is set up to sell and can easily be tweaked and changed as necessary.

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Get started on your own website today and save 25% on a Zenfolio account with the code getstarted25 at checkout.

October 22nd, 2014

Tumblr Photo Community Calls Out Sexist ‘Recommended Photogs’ List

Social blogging platform Tumblr boasts a robust community of professional photographers, some of whom have used the platform to raise issues of social equality in the photography business. Most recently a handful of photographers called out a quarterly French photography magazine, Selektor, for publishing a list of 100 photographers to follow on Tumblr that included just eight women.

Selektor generated the list, which it published on its own Tumblr, by simply compiling the blogs of all of the photographers it had featured. After both female and male photographers pointed out the disparity, Selektor‘s founder, Loïc Thisse, admitted in a subsequent post that he “never thought to check the proportion of women photographers” he was featuring, he was simply operating based on his personal taste.

His mistake, he writes, was that he didn’t recognize that “Selecting and showing artists publicly is not like sharing one’s personal tastes. It is quite another thing. There are other issues. The representation of women is one of them.”

Tammy Mercure responded to Selektor’s list by generating one of her own, which included more than 70 women photographers to follow on Tumblr. “There is still systematic sexism at work in the photo world,” Mercure wrote in her post. But, she notes, she’s seen “great strides in equity for women and people with diverse backgrounds” in publications and “most places” on Tumblr.

Interestingly more than 1100 people noted or shared Mercure’s post, while fewer than 900 noted Selektor’s post.

Related: How One Magazine Strives for Gender Balance in Assignments
Are Women Photographers Being Discriminated Against in the Editorial Market?