iPhone 7 Plus portrait mode advertisement

Apple’s new ad for the iPhone 7 Plus’s portrait mode. It’s a terrific ad, very well done: catching the girl’s various expressions, the variety of people, and the music.

It’s quite amazing what folks are doing with smartphones of all kinds these days, and this feature (multiple lenses, shallow depth of field in reality or as an effect) looks like it’s pushing things even further. I have an iPhone 6s but still prefer my cameras to shooting with it for “serious” work but it’s mostly because I find the controls easier to deal with, less about image quality which is saying something.

Little Kids and their Big Dogs

Little Kids and their Big Dogs

This is a brilliant collection, by Andy Seliverstoff, very well done.

I highly recommend clicking on the first picture in the set (the airborne poodle) and then using the right arrow (or the right arrow on your keyboard) and moving through the collection zoomed out. They’re amazing images.

One might chalk these up to high end gear (and a fast lens for shallow depth of field) but that’s only a small part of making excellent portraits like these. They’re well lit, composed, and no doubt each shot was one of many.

The last one actually looks like a bear to me. What do you think?

[via PetaPixel]

A portrait session with a twist

Planting an idea of who someone is in a portrait photographer’s head can influence how they see and shoot the person. Six portrait photographers were asked to shoot one man, each of them told a different story about who he is. This is a fascinating video made by Canon.

Petapixel has deconstructed it in their blog post, so, watch it first, then check out their post: 6 Photographers Asked to Shoot Portraits of 1 Man… With a Twist.

My mother and her siblings

My mother and her siblings

My mother is about to have her 100th birthday (May 26th) and I’ve been scanning old photographs and putting together a small album of the arc of her life (so far).

This is a professionally shot group portrait of my mother and her siblings. Anne and I are guessing she’s about 17 here which would make the year 1932.

L-R (oldest to youngest): Irving, Bertha, Frances (my mother) and Lillie.

My mother is the only one still alive.

This very nicely shot portrait was beautifully printed on textured rag paper. The texture on the paper made the contrast take a hit in scanning so it took some work to get the image contrasty enough to reprint successfully. It was also a faded sepia print and keeping it sepia didn’t work well so it got converted to black and white.

I Wrap You

This is brilliant.

I Wrap You is a mall-based wrapping paper printing company that will take a snap of you and make wrapping paper out of it on the spot. Only available at that Plaza Ginza shopping center in Tokyo, Japan but hey, it’s a good enough idea so I hope it comes to the US.

I’ve been doing something like it for years: I use prints that didn’t work out as wrapping paper but alas, they’re on heavy cotton rag which isn’t great for wrapping gifts. The idea of printing on wrapping paper is brilliant. Makes me wish I’d bought a higher-end Epson printer that took roll paper. I could buy brown or white wrapping paper on a roll and print on it.

[via PetaPixel]

Martin Schoeller’s catalog of portraits

This is a brilliant presentation by the photographer Martin Schoeller for National Geographic. The prelude on how he came to a “cataloguing” style by seeing the series of water towers by the German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher is a wonderful self-reflection on how he came to his portrait style.

The idea of keeping many things constant: lens, lighting, aspect ratio, etc. and just varying the subject is attractive to me and it’s part of the reason I enjoy using cameras that have fixed prime lenses: the angle of view remains constant.

Petapixel interview with Martin Schoeller

[via PetaPixel]


Max #194

My flickr contact Bob Dein has captured another great portrait in his 100 Strangers set with his Olympus OM-D. Here’s his report and caption:

In Tampa, I sat in a small trattoria eating a prosciutto and mozzarella Panini. It brought back fond memories of trattorias in Italy. The current bread wasn’t as good, but pleasant enough.

Across the street was a street musician, passionately playing a saxophone. He had to be my next stranger. I approached and theatrically placed a small donation in his jar. He thanked and ‘God blessed’ me. I quickly explained 100 Strangers, and he said fine. Max was from Cincinnati, but has lived in Tampa for twelve years. Then suddenly he began to play and moved in wide gestures. He just wouldn’t stay still for a second. The more I clicked, the more he moved. After several minutes I gave up and left. I waved, and Max raised his eyebrows in acknowledgement.

Well, the Olympus OM-D has one shortcoming. It is weak in continuous auto-focusing. It is poor for sports and birds in flight. It should be fine for portraiture. It was not fine for Max. Fortunately I took LOTS of shots, as several are focused on the background. This is my favorite – by far.