Monday, October 24, 2016

Strike A Pose Lightroom presets from Sleeklens

I recently added Sleeklens' Strike A Pose bundle of Lightroom presets and brushes to my tools in Lightroom. I am generally reluctant about new LR presets as most of the bundles I've tried in the past have had only two or three useable presets. So, I was surprised at just how many of the powerful presets in this bundle are instantly useful.

The Strike A Pose Lightroom Portrait Bundle comes with 69 portrait presets and 62 brushes. The LR presets are handily grouped into All in One, Base,  Exposure, Color, Tone Tint, Polish, and Vignette. The brushes are grouped into Color Brushes, Face Brushes, Hair Brushes, Haze Brushes, and Light Brushes. The download comes with guides on installing as well as how to stack the presets.

I haven't used the brushes much yet, so I will update when I've used the brushes more. The presets are easy to use and great for instantly improving your photos while allowing one to tweak them to your own personal style and taste.

There are a few sample presets from the bundle that can be downloaded from the website, so you can test them for yourself: Strike-a-pose-portrait-workflow

There is also a Photoshop version available, Portrait Perfection, which I'll write about if I get it in the future.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Reasons why VR Marketing campaigns are successful

Reasons why VR Marketing campaigns are successful:

  • Immersive: by wearing a headset, users are totally immersed in the content of the message
  • Impactful: the intense VR experience generates stronger emotions in users than traditional media
  • Memorable: our brains remember events linked to locations, so VR experiences have a longer trace in the user's memory

  • Novel: early adopters of VR benefit from positive media exposure

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What is virtual reality and how does it work?

What is virtual reality and how does it work?

Asian woman in virtual reality headset
© Photographer: Kenneth Paul | Agency:

Headsets like those used by Oculus, Sony, HTC, Samsung and Google usually require three things:

A computer, console, or smartphone,

A headset which holds a display in front of your eyes (which could be the phone's display)

Some kind of input (hand tracking, voice, on-device buttons or trackpads)

Businessman wearing VR headset, amazed
© Photographer: Kenneth Paul | Agency:

VR uses total immersion to create a virtual reality experience so real we forget about the headgear and other accessories.

Asian woman in virtual reality headset
© Photographer: Kenneth Paul | Agency:

VR headsets like Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR are referred to as HMDs (head mounted displays). Even with no audio or hand tracking, holding up Google Cardboard to place your smartphone's display in front of your face can be enough to get you half-immersed in a virtual world.

The goal is to create a life size, 3D virtual environment without the boundaries of TV or computer screens.


How does VR work?

Businessman wearing VR headset, amazed
© Photographer: Kenneth Paul | Agency:

VR headsets use two feeds; one for each eye. The headsets are called goggles because there are lenses between your eyes and the display.

Asian woman in virtual reality headset
© Photographer: Kenneth Paul | Agency:

A stereoscopic 3D image is created by focusing and reshaping the picture for each eye and angling the two 2D images to mimic how our two eyes view the world slightly differently.

If you need photos for virtual reality projects, articles, or marketing, I've made a lightbox of my VR stock photos at Shutterstock: Stock photos of people using VR headsets

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Shooting Modes (Part 5 of FZ1000 Review)

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 shooting modes (Part 5 of FZ1000 Review)

If you haven't read them yet, parts 1, 2, 3 & 4 can be found at the links below.
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review (part 1)
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 review (Part 2)
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review (Part 3)

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review (Part 4)


The Lumix FZ1000's mode dial has all the shooting modes represented by a white icon on a black background. There are two intelligent Auto modes: Intelligent Auto and Intelligent Auto Plus. Both use scene detection to determine correct exposure using one of nine scene modes including portrait, macro, handheld night shot, baby, and sunset.


If the camera is on a tripod, Intelligent Auto sets a slower shutter speed than for hand-held shots and automatically sets face/eye detect autofocus, backlight compensation, and intelligent ISO, i.resolution, and i.dynamic and enhances images with sharpness or contrast.


Intelligent Auto Plus allows you to change the auto exposure settings. Both modes allow background defocus to produce more or less depth of field, but Intelligent Auto Plus allows exposure compensation and color balance adjustment using the rear thumb dial. Other menu settings available in Intelligent Auto Plus include photo styles, image quality, and single or continuous AF.


In the PASM modes the rear thumb dial is used to change exposure settings. In Manual mode you switch between aperture and shutter speed control by pressing the dial.


The FZ1000 can use a mechanical or electronic shutter. The range of the mechanical shutter is 60s to 1/4000 plus a bulb setting with a maximum of two minutes. The electronic shutter extends the shutter speed range to 1/16000. Silent mode automatically selects the electronic shutter and turns off the flash, AF illuminator, and other sounds.


The FZ1000's mode dial's palette icon provides access to 22 Creative control filter effects.


Four of the filters are monochrome- Monochrome, Rough Monochrome, Silky monochrome, and Dynamic monochrome. Others include Old days, Toy pop, Bleach bypass, Fantasy and sunshine.


Most Creative effects filters can be adjusted, and can be used with video, except Rough monochrome, Silky monochrome, Soft focus, Star filter and Sunshine. Creative effects cannot be applied in 4K which needs the mode dial to be set to Creative video.


The Multiple Exposure mode can automatically combine up to four images. The Lumix FZ1000 has a traditional Time Lapse Shot mode and Stop Motion Animation. In either mode, the FZ1000 can assemble the sequence into a movie; the still photos are kept if you want to use them later.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Viewfinder and Screen (Part 4 of FZ1000 Review)

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 review (Part 4)

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Viewfinder and Screen

If you haven't read them yet, parts 1, 2, & 3 can be found at the links below.
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review (part 1)
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 review (Part 2)
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review (Part 3)

The FZ1000 has an articulated 3-inch screen and high quality OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.7x (35mm equivalent) magnification for composition.


The native 3:2 image ratio for stills doesn't fill the 4:3 viewfinder, so narrow black bands appear at the top and bottom. These areas display information; shooting mode, photo style, flash mode, movie mode, image size and quality, focus mode and battery life on the top; and metering mode, aperture and shutter speed, exposure compensation and card capacity at the bottom.


The viewfinder quality is excellent. It's big and bright although there is a slight lag when panning.


The 3-inch TFT LCD screen has 920k dot resolution and is 3:2 proportioned so stills fill the entire screen area. The articulated screen can be positioned at any angle and folded in when not in use.


An eye sensor underneath the FZ1000's viewfinder switches from screen to viewfinder when you raise your eye to it. If you want to see the EVF image as soon as you put your eye to it, Fn5 toggles between EVF and screen displays. This is also useful to stop the EVF switching when you don't want it to, for instance I found this pretty annoying when shooting from the hip or kneeling down.


The Disp button on the rear toggles between the four viewfinder displays:

  1. full information
  2. full information with a two-axis level
  3. exposure details
  4. exposure details with a two-axis level
    The viewfinder display is replicated when you switch to the screen, but the screen has two extra options: a detailed information only display and blank.
    If you're not using the screen, set the blank option as it uses less battery power.
Part 5 of Panasonic FZ1000 Review (Shooting Modes)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Autofocus (Part 3 of FZ1000 Review)

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 review (Part 3)

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Autofocus

If you haven't read them yet, parts 1 & 2 can be found at the links below.
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review (part 1)
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 review (Part 2)

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Autofocus


The FZ1000 has a contrast-based AF system with 49 AF areas. It supports eye as well as face detection.


The FZ1000 uses the same defocus DFD technology as the Panasonic GH4, which profiles the out-of-focus characteristics of the lens to establish where the focus is. This lets the FZ1000 get close to the correct point of focus quickly, before using traditional contrast-based method to fine-tune.


The autofocus is quite fast, even in fairly low light levels. The FZ1000 has good focusing assistance for manual focusing including peaking, and the ring on the lens barrel can be configured to adjust focus rather than zoom.

See part 4 here: FZ1000 Viewfinder and LCD Screen

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Design and Controls (Part 2 of FZ1000 Review)

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 review (Part 2)

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Design and Controls


The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is more like a DSLR than a standard super zoom. The only similarity to a super zoom is the fixed lens. I did consider the Sony RX10 or RX100 instead as they are smaller form factors and both have the criteria I wanted.


The FZ1000 measures 137x99x131 mm and weighs 831 g with battery and SD card. It is quite hefty; an entry level DSLR such as the Nikon D3300 with a 18-55mm kit lens actually weighs 20% less than a FZ1000.


The size makes it comfortable to hold and also allows ample room for the FZ1000's numerous physical controls.


The FZ1000's large lens barrel diameter provides good support for your left hand and allows comfortable operation on the dual purpose zoom/focus ring. The zoom ring is smooth but slow, so small adjustments are better with the rocker switch around the shutter.


There's a mode dial on the top left, and the main mode dial on the upper right side. A rear thumb dial is only control wheel. The dial is pushed in to switch function between aperture and shutter in manual mode.


The FZ1000 has five programmable function buttons. Fn1 is slightly larger and protrudes slightly, making it easy to differentiate from the smaller, flush mounted Fn2 behind it. Fn5 to the back left of the viewfinder toggles the display between the electronic viewfinder and the LCD screen. In default mode this happens automatically via an eye sensor below the eyepiece, but it's good to have the override when shooting from the waist using the articulated screen. Fn3, the button, is on the right side of the viewfinder close to Fn4 which is the four-way controller. Also on the back right are a three-way switch for selecting AF modes, the playback button, and display overlay toggle button.


There's a mini HDMI port, USB / A/V out port, and a socket for the DMW-RSL1 wired remote on the right side of the body. On the other side there's a port for an external stereo microphone, but no headphone socket.


From a full charge you can get 360 shots from the FZ1000's DMW-BLC12E battery, so spare batteries are essential. I bought an extra three and so far haven't needed more.


The FZ1000 has a pop-up flash which is raised by sliding a switch on the right of the viewfinder. It has a maximum range of 13.5 meters and has forced on, forced on red-eye, slow sync and slow sync red-eye modes. The standard hot shoe allows you to fit an external flash. I've tested it with a few Yongnous and it works fine.

Read Part 3 of Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review (Links to parts)

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review (Part 1) Introduction

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 review (Part 2) Design & Controls
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review (Part 3) Autofocus
Pansonic Lumix FZ1000 Review (Part 4) Viewfinder & Screen
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review (Part 5) Shooting Modes

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 review (Part 1)

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 review (Part 1)


I've had the FZ1000 for a few months now and thought I'd share some thoughts on it. I was choosing between the FZ and the RX10II, but as far as I could make out the FZ1000 did everything I wanted at a lower price than the RX10II. I didn't care about photos as I use my Canon 6D for images. I was primarily interested in the 4K and slo-mo video capabilities. Both of these lived up to my expectations.  

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Introduction


The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is a DSLR-styled super-zoom camera with a 16x / 25-400mm range, a 1 inch sensor and 4k video recording. The FZ1000 was the first compact camera to record video at resolutions up to 4K (3,840x2,160) in MP4 at 30/25fps or 24fps.

The FZ1000 has a 20 MP/1 inch sensor with four times the surface area of models delivering lower noise, wider dynamic range, and higher resolution. The lens starts at f2.8 on the wide-end and ends at f4 at the long end.

The FZ1000 has the same fully-articulated 3 inch LCD screen and a 2359k dot OLED viewfinder as the Lumix GH4, top shutter speeds of 1/4000 or 1/16000 (with mechanical or electronic shutters), 12fps continuous shooting, built-in Wifi with NFC, autofocusing down to -4EV, and defocus profiling from the GH4, an external mic socket, and support for 1080p video at up to 120fps (100fps in PAL regions), or 4K UHD at 25 or 30fps.

Part 2 of the review can be found here.

Friday, May 6, 2016

This handy infographic created by shows you eight social media sites and the image size requirements for each so that you can optimize your sites.