How To Not Let Facebook (Completely) Ruin Your Photos

Why must Facebook hate us all?  (especially small business)

Anyway if you’re like me you’re beyond frustrated with how much Facebook compresses and degrades the quality of the images we take.  This may be a good point to mention that if you’re just posting selfies using those horrible front facing cameras this post will not appeal to you.

But for the rest of us who take the time to compose and edit even our images shot with smartphones this is become infuriating.  I get it… over 500 million images are uploaded to Facebook every single day.  Perhaps they use some of that half of a trillion-dollar market cap to pay our buddy Jeff Bezos for some more server space.

Finally fed up I decided to do some quick testing here during my lunch.

I decided that I would compare the two main ways to post a photo to Facebook.

  1. Upload it directly to Facebook and watch the amazing image quality of my full frame dslr go to shit.
  2. Upload the same full resolution file to my website and link the image to my Facebook feed.

Here is what I learned:

When it comes to the preview image Facebook uses a MUCH higher resolution than the preview created when I like to my website.  Here is a screen shot test.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 1.52.59 PM

The top image was the image directly loaded to Facebook and the bottom is linked from my website.  The easiest place to notice the difference in quality are the power lines in the top left hand corner of the photo.

Now here is the dilemma.  If you click to enlarge the image that was uploaded directly to Facebook it looks like it was taken with a Motorola Razr.  If you don’t know what that is google it.

When you click on the image linked from my webpage you get a beautiful super high-resolution jpg image which is how myself and tons of photographers would like to have them viewed. (plus it gives us a hit on our website)

So I thought to myself why can’t I have both.  So I uploaded the image to a post directly to Facebook but I also included the direct link to the image and it turned out like this.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 1.54.42 PM

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 1.55.07 PM

Does this work?  Sure. But only if your viewer is really paying attention.  (News Flash:  None of them are). And what I mean by that is this.  If you click on that ugly URL at the top you’ll get the full resolution image you hoped that everyone would see.  BUT if you click the image itself you’re linked to the uploaded over-compressed image on Facebook that again.  Is absolute trash.

So forgive me if the title of this post was misleading but I need to start a dialogue on this in hopes that there is a better way to accomplish hosting high-resolution images on Facebook.

Let me google that for you.

And for all of your who made it this far…  Here is the high resolution image.  Enjoy.

Sunset Over Boat House Row

Canon Releases the EOS 6D Mark II

The long awaited Canon 6D Mark 2 is now available for preorder.

eos-6d-mark-ii-front-d

Here are the updated features that most will want to know:

Canon 6D

Canon 6D Mark 2

Sensor

20.2 MP Full Frame

26.2 MP Full Frame

Processor

DIGIC 5+

DIGIC 7

AF Points

11 Points

45 Points (All Cross)

IOS Range

100-26500

100-40000

Frames Per Second

4.5

6.5

Video Recording

1080p 30fps

1080p 60fps

Screen

Fixed Clear View Screen

Vari-Angle Clear View 2 Touch Screen

Card Slot(s)

Single SD

Single SD

Wireless/GPS

Wifi/GPS

Wifi/Bluetooth/NFC/GPS

Viewfinder Coverage

97%

98%

Shutter Speeds

1/4000 – 30 Sec

1/4000 – 30 Sec

I would say the big things people will miss the most are 4K, 100% viewfinder coverage, and dual card slots.  Easily put… these will almost always be saved for the 5D series.

This is the first Full Frame Camera that Canon is offering with a rotatable touch screen.

Missing 4K is going to be a solid pass for most video professionals but again I’m not surprised at all as they save this for the highest end professional cameras.

After using a 80D a few times I would say the touch screen is a great feature to have if only to check your focus but zooming in quickly.

eos-6d-mark-ii-back-lcd-d

They do allow exports of 4K time lapses which seems reasonable since the image quality of each photo is far higher than 4K to begin with.

They’ve also got an HDR video mode that I’d be interested to try but again without 4K, I do not think video professionals are going to take this very seriously.

Other than that I don’t think there is too much to talk about here.  The body is starting off at the very reasonable price of $1999 and is available for preorder at B&H.  They will start shipping in the end of July.

I will not be pre ordering it as I think it’s worth it to invest in a pre-owned 5D Mark 3 over this body.  Perhaps I’ll do a full comparison soon.

For more check out the videos Canon released today along with some sample images provided by Canon.


Canon 24-70 2.8 MkII

This is the most incredible lens I’ve ever used.

I’ve shot with dozens of lenses over the years but I was lucky enough to get my hands on one for a recent engagement shoot I did over the weekend and it blew me away.

It is the sharpest zoom lens I’ve ever seen.  It even keeps up with the sharpness of a lot of prime lenses.  I was using it primarily on a Canon 5D MKIII and here are some of the results.

 

Now I understand this is the most expensive lens of it it’s kind (mid-range zoom at 2.8) but it’s absolutely worth it.  You can pick it up now at B&H for just $1699.  This lens will be living on my body 99.9% of the time from here on out.

For this shoot I also brought my Canon 85 1.2L II, Canon 70-200 2.8L, and Sigma 35 1.4 and almost didn’t use them because I had such great light and the image quality of the 24-70 2.8L II, was just too amazing.

I’m shooting a band tonight in a very dimly lit venue so I’m excited to see how it performs.  Check back for more.

Shooting a Row Home in Philadelphia

Real estate photography is a wonderful market to be in.  It’s an opportunity to show off how amazing homes can look for perspective owners.  Real estate agents love having professional photos of their listings for two main reasons.  First it improves the responses they get once their listing is posted and secondly it helps them gain more listings to have a photographer that they know will deliver for them.

Philadelphia is one of the most densely populated cities in the country.  Many of the single family homes you’ll find are row homes.  They can be both challenging to shoot but also fun and creative.  Here are some tips and tricks from my most recent shoot in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood.

Reserve the parking in front of your listing and across the street.  

Find out whoever it is you need to talk to make sure there isn’t going to be someone’s car in front of the home you’re trying to shoot.  This is going to take a little bit of work but save your hours of waiting to trying to find the owner of a car in your way.

Plan a walk through with your agent.

I always suggest to agents that they complete a walk through so we can go over all of the shots that I want to cover and any that they might want to add.  This gives them opportunity to have their voice heard and prevent from having to make a 2nd day to come and shoot the property.

Go wide but not too wide.

A wide angle lens is key for these types of shoots.  You want to make sure you’re giving the perspective buyer as much of the room as you can but still seeming very natural.  I use a Canon 16-35mm lens on a 35mm size sensor and my shots typically live in the 18-24mm range.  You do not want to use a fisheye lens or build panoramas that are going to give a false sense of actual size.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with lighting.

I always carry at least two strobes with me on every shoot.  I use cheap tripods as light stands for the because they have a minimal footprint.  You want to give the room a very natural feel but still be able to highlight certain points.  This is why having multiple strobes is key.

Set expectations.

Your contract should already do this for you but it’s important that your clients understand early and often what it is you’re going to deliver.

Here are some photos from this listing.  If you’re interested in my services please check out my Real Estate Services page.

If your interested in the house here’s the listing.

How to Edit and Share Your DSLR Photos on the Go.

Everything is portable these days.  Smartphones and tablets have only enhanced that.

Today I’m going to talk about all of the ways we can use these new mobile devices to enhance your Digital SLR shootings on the go.  I will not be including any talks about the use of laptops since the interface is the same as desktop.  Instead my focus will be primarily on Apple iOS and Android based operating systems and the hardware/software to go along with it.

Wired & Tethering Options

IMG_6059Lets start with our hard connected devices.  Apple makes a ton of accessories that allow you to connect your camera, USB card reader, or SD card directly to any iPad or iPhone.  The Apple Lightning to SD Camera Card Reader is just as straight forward as it sounds.  It allows you to plug you camera’s SD card in and upload the photos directly to your camera roll.  This is great because it does not use the battery of your camera but even with some of the fastest SD cards the download speeds using this adapter are pretty slow.

Next we’ll jump into Apple’s Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter.  This adapter gives you a traditional USB-A style port along with the lightning port. (So you can continue to charge your device). This is a noticeably faster way to load your images to your iOS device but keep in mind you’re using your camera’s battery to help that transfer as well as losing the ability to shoot photos while it’s happening.

IMG_6063

If you happen to shoot on micro SD cards with a standard SD card adapter (not recommended) you can simply enter that micro SD card into many Android devices.  For example I use the Samsung Tab S2 tablet and I’ve downloaded content directly from GoPro using this technique quite a bit.

Tethering Options

Tethering options have been around for a while when it comes to traditional computer tethering.  These options are somewhat limited in the Apple’s iOS ecosystem.

Apple doesn’t allow the type of tethering that we’re used to but if you’d like you can shoot refer to the USB 3 Camera Adapter mentioned above for the quickest way to upload photos.

Android on the other hand offers much more.  By downloading the app DSLRController you can tether to any supported android device and do a ton.  DSLRController gives you full control over the camera including Aperture, Shutter Speeds, ISO, White Balance, and more.  It also acts as a live screen with very little or no delay.  There are however a few cables you’ll need to make this work.

Micro USB (or whichever your mobile device uses) to a female USB-A Adapter   ($5)
Mini USB (or whichever came with your camera) to USB-A ($5)

I recommend that even if you have the cable your camera came with to invest in a longer one like the one linked above from Amazon.  6 Feet for five dollars.  You’ll thank me later.

I’ve used the app on a number of occasions.  I would say the most valuable part of this app is when you’re shooting video.  I like to use prime lenses to shoot video with a shallow depth of field.  So for me it’s important to know that I’m in focus and having a 9.7″ screen on a Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 really helps with that.

Wireless Options

Welcome to 2017 where almost everything can be done wirelessly.

Well Digital SLRs in most cases are no exception.  First thing you’ll want to find out is if your camera body has WiFi capabilities built in.

Here is a quick list:
Canon T6 Rebel
Canon T6i Rebel
Canon T6s Rebel
Canon T7i Rebel
Canon 70D
Canon 77D
Canon 80D
Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark IV

Nikon D5600
Nikon D7200
Nikon D750
Nikon D500
Nikon Df
Nikon D810
Nikon D810A
Nikon D5

If you don’t see your camera body here don’t worry, you’re not completely out of luck but fist let me focus on these bodies.

Canon and Nikon both have mobile apps for both iOS and Android operating systems that you can download for free.  These apps will walk you through exactly how to pair you’re camera to that device.  Once connected you have a ton of control over your camera including but not limited to Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO, White Balance, and most importantly viewing the shots that you’ve taken and uploading them to your mobile device.  iOS 10 even supports photos in RAW now making your editing even more precise.  Don’t worry we’ll drive into editing tools soon as well.

I’ve found that pairing these devices after the initial pair isn’t as simple as it should be.  This causes me to avoid using it much.  I only find it worth the pain of re-pairing the device when I really want to share a photo in the moment.

Wireless Options for Bodies That Do Not Have Wireless Built In

As I mentioned earlier some bodies simply do not have wireless built in but that doesn’t completely cripple you from doing this thanks to our friends at EyeFi.  EyeFi is an SD card with wireless capabilities built in, making any camera that shoots to SD cards now WiFi capable.  EyeFi can send photos to any iOS, Android, or even desktop operating systems including raw files.  Now you’re not going to get the controllability of the camera like you do when WiFi is built in but you can still view and transfer your photos very easily on the go.  The one major drawback is the speeds aren’t incredibly fast and you cannot shoot with your camera while the photos are transferring.

Canon also has an add on wireless option via SD card known as their W-Ei WiFi Adapter. Keep in mind to use a system like this you need to have a dual slot cards like the Canon 7D MkII.  Early reviews on this have not been good at all.  I’m hearing that it’s very slow and really just not worth the hassle.  I’d steer toward the EyeFi if you absolutely need that option.

Mobile Software

IMG_6060Editing on the fly has become extremely simple and there are some great options to use out there.  I personally use Adobe’s Creative Cloud.  Subscription based softwares are becoming more popular and Adobe offers some pretty great options.  For as little as $10 a month you can get going with Photoshop and Lightroom on your desktop and mobile devices.

Lightroom for iOS and Android is actually free to test out and edit photos.  As someone who doesn’t do much re-touching and focuses more on exposure and color correction these apps are amazing for editing on the fly.

There are way too many apps out there to go through all of them.  If you’re using one that you love leave a comment below and I’ll try it out for sure.

 

Moving From a Crop Camera to a Full Frame Camera.

I purchased my first DSLR in 2007.  A Canon Rebel XT (350D) with 18-55mm & 70-300mm kit lenses.  I had ZERO idea how to use it or any of the theory behind proper photography.  I did have a strong desire to learn.

I would bring it with me everywhere and read as much as I could on forums about how to use the Rebel.

Finally I used a college elective to enroll in an entry level photography course which would teach me the basics of Apertures/Shutter Speeds and how they compliment each other.  They didn’t teach anything about ISO at the time because I think anything over iso 400 at the time was almost unusable.

2572002314_5ce912ebcc_b
One of the first portraits I took with my Canon Rebel XT, 50mm 1.8 and 430EX Flash.

I upgraded to a Canon 20D, 30D, 50D and the 60D that I use today.  All of the cameras I’ve ever owned use what is called a APS-C or “Crop Sensor”.  These sensors are a bit smaller than a traditional camera and part of those drawbacks are that they give you less color definition and less light.  One small advantage is that they give you 1.6x further focal length on your lenses.  Example a 200mm on a Crop Sensor would really be closer to a true 320mm using Canon’s 1.6x Crop Factor.

Canon-EOS-60D-vs-Canon-EOS-6D-size-comparison-2
Notice the much larger mirror on the 6D.

This is great if longer focal lengths is what you want.  But for me I enjoy shooting a lot of landscape and live music photography which really needs better low light capabilities as well as a wider focal length.  The width is much easier to achieve with a Full Frame camera that true to spec of a  35mm film sensor.

crop-sensor-vs-full-frame-with-labels

Let me share an example.  Since I’m currently using a 60D which has an APS-C Crop Sensor, every lens I put on there is really 1.6x further focal length than it actually reads.  So right now I use a Tokina 11-16mm lens almost exclusively for my landscape shots.  This lens was designed specifically for cameras using an APS-C sized sensors.  So if you were to mount on a full frame camera you’d have more of a true 7mm focal length which would give you an almost unusable shot.

tokina-11mm-vignette
Photo Credit: Andrew Reid from ESOHD.com

So to recap, I want to go Full Frame for the light and color advantages but the Tokina 11-16 Lens I’m currently using isn’t going to work on that camera.  Anyone want to take a guess on what focal length I’ll need to achieve similar results to my Tokina 11-16 lens?  Hmmmm about 17-25mm.  Fortunately Tokina makes a 16-24mm lens and Canon makes a fantastic 16-35mm lens.

So now that you have a small understanding of the difference between a Crop Sensor and a Full Frame Sensor you can see that it’s a pretty major transition.  My main camera body and favorite lens are going to need to be replaced as a pair.

As you may have read, I had the ability to test out a Full Frame Canon 5D MK3 and Canon 16-35mm 2.8L Lens for a weekend.  I became obsessed with the image quality I was getting and I’m very happy with how the photos came out.  Let me know what you think.

A week or so after I was obsessed with finding a Canon 6D (Canon’s prosumer level full frame camera) with a reasonably low shutter count (similar to mileage on a car) that was within my budget.

After about two weeks of searching high and low, I was able to pick up a Canon 6D and Canon 16-35mm L lens to replace my 60D and Tokina 11-16.

Now I haven’t had a ton of time to test it out but with the 500 shots I’ve taken with it so far I’m blown away.  The colors are more true to life, the high ISO shots are much less grainy than any crop sensor I’ve shot with, and the true 35mm focal lengths are fantastic as well.

I’ll do a full review on the Canon 6D after I’ve had a few weeks to play with it.  Sure I know it’s nothing new.  In fact The Canon 6D MK2 is rumored to come out in Q2 2017, but it’ll be a good article for those considering switching on a budget.

Here are some of the things I sacrified going from my 60D to a 6D.

  1. Rotating Display – This might not sound like much but it was great for protecting the screen when not being use as well as being able to get a preview of your image in those awkward angles you sometimes shoot in.  (Especially if doing long exposures)
  2. The Continuous Drive – The Canon 60D can shoot up to 5.3 full resolution raw images per second.  The Canon 6D just 4.5.  That might not seem like much but if you’re the type of person that shoots actions shots or sports this will make a huge difference.  For me I don’t do much of that, so I’m alright.

That’s really about it.  When I do my full review of the Canon 6D, I’ll make sure to talk about all the new amazing features I love about the 6D but for now I hope you got some good insight if you’re considering moving from a crop sensor camera to a full frame camera.

A Few Weekdays in Philadelphia

Been lucky enough to be living in this awesome city for about 3 years now.  The past 3 weeks I’ve been carrying my SRL with my almost everywhere.  Between working two jobs and being a grad student I still try to find time to capture what I see as beautiful.

Feel free to enlarge each photo for specific metadata. (Please comment as well)