22Jul

Aperture vs. Lightroom – a quick response

Had a friend ask me today about Lightroom vs. Aperture- here was my response:

When it comes to digital workflow, you can’t go wrong with either.

Apple makes a solid program that works great, and as they are with everything, Aperture will continue to be integrated into more and more of their products most likely (not that you need it, but it’s nice to know).

Lightroom is fantastic. Having both programs, I probably use it more because of the seamless flow with Photoshop. I say that, but Aperture has enough plug-ins (i.e. Nik software, Photomatix, etc) and menus, and can link up to Photoshop if necessary (you just have to set that up in Preferences with Aperture, choosing your external editing program like Photoshop).


Again, oranges vs oranges. Lay outs are a bit different, but both are extremely user friendly- I tend to jump between the two depending on the project I’m working on. Both have tons of menus, sliders, etc. to correct color shifts, adjust a number of images through batch processing, fix exposure, contrast, saturation, etc.

If possible, download both trail versions (not sure if Aperture has one) and test ’em to see what you like- if Apple doesn’t have one, I’m sure you can review it at a store.

Here’s two screenshots of both programs in one of my Facebook albums (similar to the ones I loaded in this blog): https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.220105390806.143046.122003760806&type=1

BTW, I should have a Digital Workflow workshop coming up sometime later this year where I cover both of these programs, and how I handle my image workflow and cataloging- I’ll update you all when that happens (whether at Camera West, Calumet, Point Reyes, online with PPSOP.com, or another workshop company).

Wish I could answer everyone’s personal email questions, but this might be an easier way to spread the word.

Have a great weekend all!

30Mar

Apple’s iPhoto ’09 cool news features

I know it’s 2010, but I started writing this blog about iPhoto ’09 a few months back, never finishing it.


There are a mix of new features in iPhoto (part of Apple’s media program called iLife), and I just wanted to share them (if you weren’t up-to-date). The program offers some great innovative ways to organize your photos, and some of these features have transferred into the latest version of Aperture (Aperture 3.01). And btw, I don’t get paid by Apple (at least not yet) – I just love their products and have used them for over 20 years (including iLife and iPhoto ever since they came out)- I have over 20,500 photos currently in my iPhoto ’09 database.


Check out some of the cool new features:


The Who-When-Where:


WHO: Now with a section called “Faces“, you can find the people you’ve photographed much easier and faster, through facial recognition software. They use “cork board” backgrounds to view snapshots of your friends, and allow you to skim across them polaroid-looking shot to see all of images of them. How to you get iPhoto to recognize a friend or family member? Simply click on the “name” icon, then add a missing face to any particular photo, and the software begins to learn those facial features- and, it gets better as you add more of their photos- it’s pretty cool! You can even confirm or reject photos if they don’t match, and create “Smart Albums” with a group of people (as I did with photos of only my family members).


WHEN: “Events” has been part of iPhoto for a generation or two (I believe it came out in iLife ’08). It basically separates your photos into events- that is when you took your photos (by date or event if you decide to create one). Again, you can skim across the event to see all the shots in that group. You can even merge events by dragging and dropping them into one another (as I did with a Christmas vacation that lasted a few days).


WHERE: With “Places”, you have a Map view and a List view of the locations where your images were captured- you can manually place locations, use reverse GEO Coding (on devices such as the iPhone or any camera with GPS, basically recording the coordinates of where your image was captured on the Earth). You can also create personal locations such as “Our Home” or “At work”.


CALENDARS:

One big aspect of iLife I love is I can utilize my images- and with “Calendars” I can make an album, select all the photos I want to add to it, then click the Calendar icon at the bottom to make a year-long calendar. I created one late last year, showed it on a few tv shows (The View from the Bay on ABC in San Francisco, and on Bay Area Focus on CBS/ CW 12) – then I gave one copy to my parents, one to my Mother-in-law, and kept one which we are using for 2010. I also put photos on specific dates in the year, using photos of family members on their specific birthday dates- each calendar only cost me $19.99 plus shipping- pretty good for a year-long gift.


BOOKS: Similar to calendars (and cards), you can create great books / photo albums using nice new themes. You can add a travel-map page, create a photo wrapped cover that matches the dust jacket, and the printing looks great as well as the professional binding often seen in high-quality books. Then, Apple ships it in a protective sleeve. You can make books in a few sizes, include a small “brag” book, and the prices are great (the small book going for 3 for $12).


SLIDESHOWS: I’ve always used this feature but now you can add Videos and Stills together to create slideshows. I’ve made iPhoto slide shows in my photo workshops for years- simple, easy, can add music, Ken Burns effects, and so on- all creating nice clean presentations.


And BTW, you can share all your images with one click through iPhoto to many social sites including Facebook and Flickr – here are my Facebook and Flickr pages:

Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Arbabi-Imagery-Sean-Arbabi-photography/122003760806

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41655671@N00/


Check it all out – Apple’s iLife goes for $79 – that’s right, under $100 bucks- and I didn’t even mention all the other programs included, such as iWeb, iDVD, iMovie, and Garage Band.


30Oct

A long ride with a small camera

Last week I went for a long ride, from my home in Danville, CA to my brother’s home in Pittsburg, CA – it’s about 25 miles as the crow flies, but I took the undulating route on the back streets, roads and trails, over a number of hills – a tough long ride.

I had my GoPro Helmet Hero Wide with me- a great little 5 megapixel point-of-view camera with an ultra-wide lens and a mix of attachments – to attach to your helmet, around your chest (their chest mount harness), a suction cup mount for moving vehicles or boats- all kinds of ways to attach it to anything you wish. It’s small (probably half the size of a regular point-and-shoot) takes an SDHC memory card, runs on batteries, and fits into a waterproof housing – all with an affordable price tag of $189.

I rode for about an hour in the late afternoon, up a big hill into open space on the flanks of Mount Diablo, entered the trails and turned my camera on (in the auto mode to take a still photo every two seconds). Over the next hour of so, my camera captured approximately 1400 images as I headed off the trails, onto the roads of Walnut Creek, through the city of Concord, before the memory card filled up cutting off the camera at dusk as I approached Pittsburg. I had another 45 minutes left to ride (over the last grueling hill in the dark), but I figured my GoPro captured enough images to check out later that evening.

When I returned home, I loaded the images into my MacBook Pro using iMovie, found the right timing per slide to make it flow well, added some copyright free classical music, and created this fun little movie.

So here’s my ride October 22nd, 2009 – an hour portion of a 2.5 hour ride from Danville to Pittsburg, California – 1462 still images, broken down into a 3:38 minute segment, edited in iMovie (part of Apple’s iLife ’09). Enjoy- I hope to do more- maybe an all-trail version, or attaching it to a boat, kayak, or vehicle.




My segment on The View From the Bay (ABC KGO-TV 7, San Francisco) featuring the GoPro camera: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=view_from_the_bay/consumer_finance&id=6914730

03Jul

You say Lacie, I say Lacie……rocks!


People often ask me what type of gear I use – whether in the field or at my desk. Today, with digital dominating the photo industry, I’m often asked how I back up or store the hundreds of thousands of photos I’ve acquired and store in my image collection.

Besides backing up a number of images on gold archival DVDs, I currently have seven Lacie hard drives – a 2TB, 1.5TB, 1TB, two 500GB, 250GB desktop, and a 250GB mobile HD (to backup memory cards while on shoots). I love Lacie, they have been fast and reliable for me ever since I started buying external hard drives, they work on Mac or PC easily, and their customer service is good- that’s hard to say in the days of crappy customer service.

So when Lacie came along and asked if I’d join there website as a pro who could recommend their drives, I said ‘you bet’. They provided me with a number of questions, and I’ve listed some of my answers below.

Provide a quote:
Being a photographer doesn’t mean just taking good photographs- you need to be a well-organized, reliable, likable person who connects well with others- and one who can be uniquely creative in a moment’s notice.

How did you your start as a commercial photography?
I picked up a camera at 11, always knew I’ be a photographer. Received a “F” in photography in high school, but didn’t let it deter me. In 1988 I enrolled at Brooks Institute of Photography where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Commercial photography in 1991. That summer I sent out 150 resumés with no job offers, so I started my own business combining outdoor, on-location, & studio photography- 19 years later, I’ve traveled the world capturing images for hundreds of clients, published thousands of times in numerous countries.

What have been some of your favorite events to photograph?
I enjoy a mix of subjects, all challenging in unique ways – from adventure sports to environmental portraits, from culture to landscapes, from wildlife to studio still lifes. One of the most amazing experiences I had was traveling through Borneo photographing an adventure race and subsequently capturing images of the Penan and jungles of Sarawak.

How has LaCie made your life as a photographer easier?
I always know my digital images and business files are backed up on fast reliable drive, easily accessible. Plus, I can get to large files quickly on any computer I own, as well as set up new hard LaCie drives easily.

Where have you been with your LaCie drives?
I travel with my LaCie rugged 250GB hard drive everywhere my photo assignments take me – from Los Angeles to Chicago, Seattle to Las Vegas – anywhere I go on assignment today, my LaCie portable drives goes with me. If I have a one-day shoot with a budget of $15,000, I must back up my images.

How do you see the world of digital storage developing and how will it make your job easier?

If Hard Drives last longer with more storage space – that is having a longer life (more than 3-5 years), allowing you to store more images (as it has over the past 10 years going from 160MBs to 2TB as digital files get larger and larger) safely.

How long have you been a user of LaCie products?
I picked up my first LaCie HD, 200GB model a number of years ago from the
Apple Store (after reading a number of reviews about the best hard drive). I’ve bought and own 7-8 since.

Describe an experience with your LaCie drive where our product greatly enabled your workflow:

Hard to describe one- my LaCie drives help my workflow everyday, accessing files from Adobe Photoshop and Bridge, adding images to my Extensis Portfolio database to track and reference thousands of images, and open original files hundreds of megabytes large straight from the drives. Backing them up is also very easy and simple, whether using software or dragging and dropping folders into a backup disk.

As the Photoguru, I want to recommend products I use and believe in – Lacie HDs are one of those products. I’ll soon add an article to Photoguru.tv as well reviewing my Lacie rugged portable hard drive. Happy Summer folks- use sunblock & wear a hat.


01Mar

My photo segment on "The View From the Bay"


On Monday, February 23rd, had the pleasure of being on The View From the Bay – a wonderful afternoon San Francisco Bay Area show on KGO-TV Channel 7, hosted by Spencer Christian and Janelle Wang.


We did a five-minute segment on taking family photos like a pro – it went very well and was a blast to do!

We talked about taking great photos with any camera, and I showed 10 slides on how to easily improve your picture taking through simple techniques and fun camera functions.

We also discussed how critical backing up your digital images are- so important to do- and to do it with reliable drives like Lacie hard drives (great desktop and rugged mobile hard drives I’ve used for years in my business), as well as Delkin’s archival gold DVDs (for which I burn thousands of images on to for safe keeping – 100 year archival DVD discs).

I also showed how to display your images in fun ways through Apple’s iLife ’09/iPhoto program (showing an album we had printed from a trip to Disneyland), or buying wonderful archival albums with style from Kolo.com. Kolo also added the segment to their blog at Koloist.com – check it out (simply click on the link)!

When I came home and watched it, and I was jazzed- sometimes it’s hard to remember how things like that went (and sure I’d love to be 30 lbs less!) but I was very pleased how it flowed.

Crazy, it felt like it went a minute and a half, but turned out to be exactly 5 minutes long as we planned. I also received a message from another producer of a local CBS show on The CW (Bay Area focus), complimenting my segment. We booked another tv interview for the fall (sometime in November). I’ll add it here once we have firm dates.

The show and hosts of
The View From the Bay were pleased as well and I thank them for the opportunity- a great professional staff of wonderful people putting together a top-notch show. This is what I’m working toward- to be known as that funny guy on tv that teaches people all about photography. The PhotoGuru.

If you’re interested in watching the segment, here’s the link: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=view_from_the_bay/everything_else&id=6674127

For more on Photoguru with Sean Arbabi, to review our tv show pilot, or read articles on photography, tips and tricks, new gear and software, and more, go to: http://www.photoguru.tv

26Feb

HDR, iPhone, Lightroom vs. Aperture, my life…

Another February blog/podcast discussing High Dynamic Range images, my iPhone (that I love more that life itself), as well as some comparison between Adobe’s Lightroom 1.3, and Apple’s Aperture.


Here’s a HDR photo captured up on Mt. Diablo State Park in the San Francisco Bay Area (Northern California) combining seven RAW image files to capture the 15-stop range from highlights to shadow detail.

Then I’ve included a screenshot of Adobe’s Lightroom software program displaying some of my images (all images © Sean Arbabi / Arbabi Imagery). 
In my podcast/ blog, I also share some upcoming assignments and plans in my photo business, as well as general thoughts and another fun quote.  Enjoy PhotoGuru-heads…

For more info on:
Sean & his photography: http://www.seanarbabi.com


Apple’s Aperture 2: http://www.apple.com/aperture

Adobe’s Lightroom: http://www.adobe.com/lightroom

Apple’s iPhone 8GB & 16Gb versions: http://www.apple/iphone

High Dynamic Range images: http://www.adobe.com/designcenter/hdr