So you want to upload from Lightroom…?

If you’re sick and tired of first having to output the JPEGs at the right size etc. from Lightroom, and then using whatever random tool is out there to upload to flickr, smugmug, zenfolio, etc., then there is hope for you thanks to Jeffrey Friedl:

http://regex.info/blog/lightroom-goodies

There you will find numerous very well crafted plugins to Lightroom to upload from Lightroom’s “export” function.

Not only do these plugins take care of uploads, but they can also plug in things like “keywords”, “groups”, and other useful meta-data. They’re also remarkably bug free for a 1 person endeavor.

Highly recommended. Now if he just made a “photo.net” uploader!

Wedding hints…

I’m not a pro, though I’ve shot more weddings than I’ve ever wanted as favors for friends. Some things I’ve learned are:

  1. Figure out in advance when you’re going to take the posed shots and make sure that time is solidly allocated and your subjects aren’t going to be agitated because they want/need to run to something else.
  2. Ask the client up front what shots they want to make sure you don’t miss something they specifically want. Plan out in your head what’s coming next – the kiss, the cake cut, etc. so that you’re not fumbling with battery or media changes during a critical moment. Fire like crazy when those shots come up because it increases your chance of a good hit.
  3. Put a wide lens on one camera and a long one on the other. You need to be ready for any situation. That also allows you to swap the lenses if needed.
  4. Check with both the pastor/priest/etc. and the client before the wedding to find out what you’re allowed to do during the ceremony. Nothing rots worse than to find out that you’re not allowed to use flash or have them annoyed because you got too close to the pulpit. Find out and be prepared (incidentally exactly both of these have happened to me).
  5. Check out the lighting situation before the wedding to make sure you know how you’ll handle the light or lack thereof.
  6. Be prepared to be treated like “the help”. You may be the bride/groom’s friend, but most people probably won’t know that. Usually someone thinks you’re getting paid and treats you accordingly.
  7. MAKE SURE YOUR CAMERA CLOCKS ARE SYNCHRONIZED! If not, it can be a lot of work to fix and totally breaks the image sorting later.
  8. Be prepared for a lot of post-processing fun to try to match up a images if you’re shooting with two different makes of cameras. The sensor output (“look”) can be significantly different between models/makes and placing them in the same album can be problematic.
  9. Batteries, batteries, batteries! I suggest using rechargeable because they recycle much faster, but regardless, make sure you have enough of them and if rechargeable, a plan on how to recharge them.
  10. Memory – it goes fast. Make sure you have enough. Consider getting a portable backup hard drive unit. Personally I back up to two separate ones to make sure that if one chooses to die, I have a second copy.
  11. Figure out where you’re going to station you equipment. You’re going to potentially have a lot of expensive stuff and it can either be in the way, not convenient, or causing you to be distracted because you’re worrying about theft. Figuring it out on the fly can be a major distraction.
  12. As soon as you’ve downloaded the images, back them up securely to additional media. Nothing can cause a group of people to hate you more than to screw this up. Remember, this is someone’s wedding, you get it wrong and your name is “Mud” (and/or will be known as the person who “ruined” their wedding).
  13. Make sure you have good flashes. You’re going to need the output.
  14. Don’t practice high ISO shots for the first time during a wedding. Make sure you understand the pluses and minuses and what works and doesn’t work. High ISO can be a savior, but particularly in high contrast shots, it can look ugly as all get out. It also is difficult sometimes to match to other shots in any album.
  15. Take many multiples of group shots, frankly any posed shots. The LCD preview is a good start, but too small to catch all the possible ways your subjects can screw up an image. Those eyes may look open, but they still look ugly and off.
  16. Constantly check that you haven’t bumped or accidentally changed your settings. Nothing sucks more than to realize you’ve been set at maximum aperture with no depth of field because you didn’t realize you knocked the command dial. ALWAYS keep reminding yourself to set back any custom changes like exposure adjustments or ISO changes. It bites to realize you’ve been a half stop down on every picture 200 shots later. This leads to…
  17. Shoot RAW. You have a lot more options and hope if things are off or you screw up. JPEGs do not have a lot of latitude. Of course if you shoot RAW, plan a weekend worth of adjustments and processing!
  18. Test all your equipment well before and the day of. It really sucks to find you’re one flash down 20 minutes before the wedding. A stupid little forgotten cable can throw a huge wrench in your plans (or mounting plate, as was my case).
  19. Figure out where you’re going to take the posed shots and what poses you want. You look like an amateur if you’re doing this on the fly.
  20. Act confident and your subjects will believe you actually know what you’re doing. Don’t act confident, and things can get out of hand.
  21. Make sure your deodorant is up to snuff, you’re going to sweat running around in a suit.
  22. Figure out as early as possible who’s with the bride, who’s with the groom, who’s the mother, the father, the best man, etc. etc. You’re going to need this information to properly case the shots. Doing this on the fly risks error and even possibly insulting someone and can certainly make you look like an amateur.
  23. Make sure you don’t favor one family or another in your shots. At the reception take advantage of the seating to make sure you get just about everyone. That way they won’t complain that precious old Uncle Arnold got missed or have one of the families complaining that they were ignored.
  24. Have a sense of humor. You’re going to need it. It also helps lighten the mood and get people to smile, which of course is half the battle.

I learned many of these the hard way, which is why you couldn’t pay me to do weddings!

Unfortunately people don’t, but I do them anyway…

Fantastic wedding site…

This is some of the best (mostly) natural light wedding photography I’ve ever seen:

http://meninenuotrauka.lt/

Somewhere in Lithuania I believe. Very impressive.

How to get older Fuji S5 firmware versions

So you’ve upgraded your Fuji S5 firmware to the latest and greatest, yet you aren’t totally satisfied. How do you get the old version?

Go to:

http://download.fujifilm.co.jp/pub/tools/s5pro/v<VERSION>/FPUPDATE.DAT

where “<VERSION>” is replaced by the version youi want minus the dots. So, for version 1.09 it’d be:

http://download.fujifilm.co.jp/pub/tools/s5pro/v109/FPUPDATE.DAT

(don’t forget the “v” in front  of the version number).

Incidentally, rather than using their software to copy the update, the easiest way is to copy the downloaded “FPUPDATE.DAT” to the top level of your compact flash card, and then upgrade following Fuji’s normal instructions (make sure you have a charged battery and power on with the “BACK” button pushed down).

Despite claims from Fuji otherwise, you can also downgrade by copying an old “FPUPDATE.DAT” on the card and using the same “update” directions.

Many thanks to “acrystalball” for publishing this on the DPReview Fuji SLR Forum.

Motorcycle photos…

Here’s a friend’s motorcyle photo web site:

http://www.vintagefocus.com

He goes to all sorts of motorcycle shows and takes pictures of vintage motorcycle photos, giving a people a chance to see all sorts of cool motorcycles that you wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to.

Worth taking a look at.

Cool Life images

LIFE and Google have teamed together to create an archive of millions of LIFE images stretching from the 1750s to modern times:

http://images.google.com/hosted/life

The images are stored at remarkably high resolution and most were never published.

It really is a pretty astounding archive.

On the other hand, it looks like LIFE will be creating some sort of archive of their own here:

http://www.life.com/Life

Perhaps the two will be merged someday…

Is the Fuji S5 charger compatible with Nikon?

Many have noted that Fuji S5’s NP-150 battery is externally the same as the Nikon EN-EL3e. This of course makes sense since the Fuji S5 is a customized Nikon D200 body. However, the two batteries are not compatible as they output different voltages and have a different chip on board. If you try to place the Fuji in the Nikon camera or vice-versa, the cameras won’t work.

The chargers on the other hand look identical, and have the exact same output specifications, so some have said the two are compatible. That is, you can use a Nikon MH-18a charger with the Fuji NP-150 battery and/or the Fuji BC-150 charger with the Nikon EN-EL3e battery.  If you insert the other manufacturer’s battery in the opposing unit, they do in fact appear to charge.

So, the question is, is this a good idea?

After a conversation with Steve, a very friendly and helpful rep at at Fuji Pro Repair who verified this for me, the answer is no, you should not interchangeably use the two chargers. Apparently because of the difference in chipping of the two, you will damage either the battery or the charger.

Some claim to have successfully interchanged the two chargers, however this is discouraged by Fuji and they specifically say could damage your equipment

UPDATE:

puddleduck” (aka Andy) at DPReview indicates that he has never actually used the Fuji charger in all the years he’s had the S5. In fact he’s never opened the package and only used a Nikon charger and it has always functioned correctly. Anecdotally speaking, it sounds like the people at Fuji are just being cautious.

I guess each will have to make their own decision here.

Passport photos

One of the advantages of digital photography is you can shoot and print your own passport photos. However it’s not always clear what the rules are. Fortunately the State Department has a useful site on this:

http://travel.state.gov/passport/guide/guide_2081.html

In particular you need to know how to place the “face” in the image, which is outlined here:

http://travel.state.gov/passport/guide/composition/composition_874.html

This is also useful because the same format is used for things like International Licenses.

Great Slide/E-6 processor

If you live in the Upper Valley, or even if you don’t since they do mail order, a great company still handling slide/E-6 processing is “Slide Specialists”:

http://www.slidespecialists.com

They also handle C-41 (negative) processing, artwork photography, drum scanning, large format fine-art giclee printing, and other digital printing.

Most of all they are an extremely friendly bunch and a great source of photographic knowledge. I’m not sure exactly how long they’ve been in business, but they’ve been a great source as long as I’ve been shooting (20+ years now). Highly recommended.

Enabling Firefox 3 Color Management

One of the great features of Firefox 3 is that it now natively supports color management. However, for some reason by default it is disabled (well, it actually makes sense – see caveat below).

To enable it:

  • Enter the url “about:config
  • If prompted that you are risking Armageddon, say “Ok” anyway.
  • Find the key “gfx.color_management.enabled”.
  • Click on it until it changes to “true” (note the line should turn “bold” when enabled).

Note this caveat from the mozillaZine entry on the subject:

Without a properly calibrated monitor and a correct color profile, color management may actually make colors look worse.

For those of us with calibrated monitors, it’s pretty handy though. The only problem is you’re definitely not going to see what uncalibrated users are going to see if you’re posting photos et al!

As an additional note, you may want to investigate the variable “gfx.color_management.display_profile” as well. According to the mozillaZine entry by default the color profile used is the system default, or if not set sRGB. If you’re doing something funky (ie: not setting the system default) you may need to muck with this.

You will need to restart Firefox after you make the change(s).

UPDATE:

There’s actually an easier tool (plugin) to work with here:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addons/policy/0/6891/30686

to change these settings without going into “about:config”. The only problem is because it’s beta, Mozilla.org requires you to register first. Also, it’s not totally intuative how you actually use it. Once installed (I’m going to assume you know how to install Firefox plugins) you actually have to:

  1. Select “Tools / Add-ons”, which brings  up “Add-ons” window listing all your Firefox plugins.
  2. Find the “Color Management” tool (should be on top since you just installed it).
  3. Select “Options”, which will bring up “Color Management Preferences”.
  4. Select (check) “Enabled” and if necessary, fill in “Set Color Profile”. Usually you don’t need to set the later since your default color profile should already be set when you ran your profiling/calibration software.

I would also note that turning on color management has its minuses. Any image that doesn’t have a color profile embedded (which is most GIFs for instance) will be converted into your default monitor color space. That may create a ugly color shift you’re not expecting. For things with profiles embedded, you’ll see what the author intended, but otherwise, you may not!