DPReview: Secrets of a professional photographer’s workflow: Brian Ach

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/3321963167/a-professional-s-workflow-brian-ach

“… For a lot of us, we download the images to a computer and edit a handful that catch our eye, and then… well, there are more photo shoots to pursue. Maybe we’ll apply some keywords, perhaps mark a few favorites, but too often the photos we worked so hard to create are just dumped onto a hard disk and forgotten. We know we should do better, but who has the time?

Professional photographers, that’s who….”

Icon, Photo Mechanic 6 by Camera Bits.
Icon, Photo Mechanic 6 by Camera Bits.

Commentary

Getty Images and Associated Press contributing photographer Brian Ach shoots a range of subjects and genres, often under the stress of tight deadlines, poor artificial lighting and the need to get every shot right or if not then the ability to rapidly reduce his selects to a manageable collection for submission, distribution and publication.

That is a far cry from the more leisurely paces and demands of shooting documentary or photojournalism projects over longer time periods, or portraits and photoessays for weekly or monthly magazine feature articles.

I took on a mix of projects during my magazine and newspaper colour supplement days, and came to prefer weekly or monthly magazine projects over daily newspaper assignments for the chance to really get one’s teeth into the subject.

Daily newspaper work had its satisfactions, though, especially in the challenge of producing engaging, informative and sometimes emotive environmental and close-up portraits in no more than fifteen minutes per subject, three to five such assignments per day, in locations throughout the city and suburbs, while carting lights, cameras, stands and tripods about.

That was during the analog era when the time and the stress of processing, proofing and printing after each assignment had to be factored into the equation and before the joys of tethered shooting, editing, processing, tagging, uploading and traveling on to the next job existed as we know them now.

If I were to go back to that world as a freelancer I would have to come up with a whole new workflow all by myself, or learn successful workflows from others, so articles like this come in handy.

So much so that I went straight to the Camera Bits website to download Photo Mechanic to try out, and from a so-far fairly cursory try-out under anything but professional conditions am seriously considering adding it to my software collection.

And I am now crossing my fingers for a similar feature set to appear in the library functionality that is appearing in raw processing and image editing applications that once used to be editing-only.

There is another advantage to having an application dedicated only to selecting, trashing, tagging and organizing – none of the distractions of doing it within a product that also offers deep image-editing features where one can easily be tempted into diving down the rabbit hole of a thousand and one different possible interpretations.

Sometimes, oftentimes, simpler and sharply focused is better.

Now to get to grips with that massive backlog.

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OlympusEuropePhoto: #olympusLIVE | PART 1 | Olympus OM-D E-M1X Press Release Conference Hamburg 24.01.2019

“Brought to you live from Hamburg: The newest Olympus camera in professional photography! Watch here the playlist of the full show of the OM-D E-M1X release event. This clip summarizes the official Press Release Conference on January 23rd, 2019, with guests from Olympus Tokyo….”

olympus_om-d_e-m1x_square_1024px_01
Olympus OM-S E-M1X Micro Four Thirds camera with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro lens.

Commentary

For me, the Micro Four Thirds sensor format occupies the place that 35mm inhabited during the analog era and so it is well-suited to the photographic genres that were dominated by 35mm cameras such as sports, wildlife, photojournalism, some subgenres of documentary and specific approaches to fashion photography.

Other sensor formats occupy places once owned by larger analog formats, for example Fujifilm’s X-Trans APS-C has taken the place of some 120 roll film formats while Fujifilm’s G-Series Bayer sensor-equipped medium format cameras have taken the place of 4″x5″ sheet film and the company’s coming GFX 100 will likely match if not surpass the image quality of 8″x10″ sheet film cameras.

Similar analogies apply to other sensor formats such as 35mm where 20+ megapixels sensors amply match if not surpass the quality once obtained by medium format roll film and circa 50 megapixels sensors are inching on the door of sheet film’s house.

Complaints that MFT camera sensors may not be as sensitive as those of larger formats are silly given the mobility, weather resistance and smaller lenses with stellar performance the smaller format affords.

If you need larger sensor cameras, invest in them and let MFT be what it excels at just as one should allow cameras of other sensor formats and body types to be what they were designed to be.

Pretending otherwise is silly.

I am rather fond of the Micro Four Thirds format as it gave me access to the pro-quality video capabilities I could not afford at the time and its cameras proved to be rather good for documentary stills photography and photojournalism too.

If I were working for newspapers and magazines as I used to, MFT cameras and lenses would constitute my core daily working kit, supplemented by equipment in other sensor formats as projects demanded.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1X would be in contention as would the excellent Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lenses.

The Micro Four Thirds sensor format is perfectly adequate for those genres and applications.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X with lenses and accessories

The Olympus Lens Roadmap, February 2019

olympus_lens_roadmap_2019-02-13_1920px
Olympus lens roadmap as of February, 2019.

Olympus has been doing a great job of fleshing out its professional-quality M.Zuiko Pro lens collection but gaps remain in its prime and zoom lens offerings and rumours of new lenses, particularly new fast prime lenses, have appeared over the last couple of years without results.

I am rather fond of the M.Zuiko Pro lens series, with my most-used being the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro standard zoom, and I have been hoping that Olympus will add more prime lenses.

I chose the 12-40mm f/2.8 over what might have been the more logical choice given I use Panasonic cameras, Panasonic’s Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II Aspheric Power OIS zoom lens, for several reasons:

  • Manual clutch focus – essential in my opinion for achieving fast, accurate, repeatable focus especially when shooting documentary video.
  • Longer focal length range – 24mm to 80mm in 35mm sensor equivalents, extending the long end into the realm of ideal focal lengths for portraiture.
  • Excellent optical performance – all throughout the lens’ focal length range.
  • Excellent mechanical and optical design and manufacturing. 
olympus_m-zuiko_primes_square_17_25_45_1024px_02_60
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro and Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro professional prime lenses with manual clutch focusing, brilliant for shooting video or stills where accurate focus is absolutely critical.

Olympus’ release of its first three fast M.Zuiko Pro prime lenses was very pleasing, but I have long been hoping for the addition of 10.5mm and 14mm prime lenses, equivalent in 35mm terms to 21mm and 28mm, both of which are essentials for documentary photography and video.

While 10.5mm is available wit in the M.Zuiko Pro 7-14mm f/2.8 zoom, that lens requires the use of large, unwieldy and costly adapters for attaching neutral density filters when shooting video.

A 10.5mm M.Zuiko Pro prime lens is a much better choice and it does not need to be as fast as its M.Zuiko Pro siblings with their f/1.2 maximum aperture.

The same applies to an M.Zuiko Pro 14mm prime lens.

Both lenses would be perfectly fine with maximum apertures of from, say, f/1.8 through to f/2.8, though faster is always appreciated in available darkness.

One of Olympus’ new items in its February 2019 lens roadmap, “Bright Prime Lenses”, is encouraging and it appears to be placed somewhere between 10mm and 60mm.

I would love to see wide aperture prime lenses added in popular focal lengths such as the following, in their M43 and 35mm sensor equivalents:

  • 10.5mm – 21mm
  • 14mm – 28mm
  • 37.5mm – 75mm
  • 52.5mm – 105mm

Two other new items in the lens roadmap have me intrigued, “Wide Zoom Lens” and “Standard Zoom Lens”.

I would like to see Olympus take on Panasonic over the latter’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 fast zoom lens that was announced with scant details back in late 2018.

This lens may well be the one I had been looking for when I first bought into Micro Four Thirds, containing most of the focal lengths I need on a daily basis for documentary stills and video, and something similar coming from Olympus for its M.Zuiko Pro lens collection can only be a good thing.

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Vox: Photojournalism needs to face its #MeToo moment

https://www.vox.com/2018/9/7/17761458/me-too-photojournalism-sexual-harassment-vii

“Late Monday evening, VII (pronounced “seven”), one of the world’s premier photojournalism agencies, discreetly posted a terse, two-sentence statement on its website announcing that Antonin Kratochvil, the famed photographer and one of the organization’s founding members, had resigned. Any further inquiries, the agency said, “should be directed to Mr. Kratochvil.”

Kratochvil’s quiet resignation came on the heels of a bombshell report in the Columbia Journalism Review by Kristen Chick, in which several women accused him of groping and intimidating a number of female colleagues. (Kratochvil continues to deny all allegations.)…

… There were stories about the toxic culture of photojournalism before Chick’s reporting, including recent articles that brought down the famed sports photographer Bill Frakes and National Geographic editor Patrick Witty. But nothing was as comprehensive and pointed as Chick’s piece. After witnessing a wave wash over Hollywood, the media, politics, and corporate America, Chick’s story should have hastened our industry’s own #MeToo moment. That hasn’t happened — and the reason is bigger than a few bad actors….”

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Photogearnews: Daniel Berehulak on the Panasonic Lumix G9 and advice to young photo journalists

“Based out of Mexico City, but working wherever there is a story to be told, Daniel Berehulak (www.Danielberehulak.com) is an award winning photo journalist. His images have covered the Trial of Saddam Hussein, The Iraq War, the aftermath of the Tsunami in Japan and more recently the drug wars in The Philippines. He very kindly stopped by the Photo Gear News stand to talk to us about shooting with Panasonic Lumix cameras, notably the recent G9. Daniel also offered some words of advice to those wanting to get started in photo journalism.”

Commentary

Australian photojournalist Daniel Berehulak, like so many of my former colleagues with whom I worked for newspaper and magazine publishers here, finally upped and left for foreign clients and countries where photojournalists are still able to eke out a living covering events and people crucial to understanding and sometimes even influencing how the world is developing.

It was terrific to come across this video of Mr Berehulak stopping in for a quick chat with the Photo Gear News team at last month’s The Photography Show 2018 in Birmingham, one of the many photography trade shows that occur in the northern hemisphere.

I hope that some day soon, despite there no longer being any photography trade shows back here in Australia, Mr Berehulak will make some presentations on his work and career while on one of his not infrequent trips home to see family and friends.

Although Mr Berehulak has also been known to use Nikon DSLRs, this Panasonic Lumix Luminary brand ambassador has apparently long relied on Panasonic Lumix cameras and lenses and especially on Panasonic’s Leica prime and zoom lenses.

This may be a controversial view in some quarters but in my humble opinion digital gives us more than analog ever did with greater image quality in smaller, more affordable cameras and lenses to the point where Micro Four Thirds Bayer sensors outdo 35mm film, Fujifilm’s X-Trans APS-C sensors outdo 120 roll film and Fujifilm’s medium format Bayer sensors outdo 4″x5″ sheet film.

If I were fortunate enough to still be shooting for analog magazines and newspapers including those published by Fairfax as Daniel Berehulak did, I would mostly be relying on Lumix cameras due to their size, weight and silent mode, though I remain partial to Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lenses for their manual clutch focus and other professional-quality traits.

The small Micro Four Thirds sensor format and its little, quiet, discrete cameras are modern-day answers to the original aims of the inventor of the Leica analog camera, Oskar Barnack, to produce an easily portable camera for landscape photography but that was first put to serious documentary use reporting on the floods that swept through Leica’s home base of Wetzlar, Germany, in 1920.

Little wonder that Panasonic has collaborated with Leica Camera AG on producing Leica and Panasonic Leica-branded lenses for its stills and hybrid cameras and camcorders since 1995, lenses favoured by Daniel Berehulak for his documentary photography and photojournalism work.

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Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric Power OIS telephoto zoom lens.

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  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 ASPH. LensB&H
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  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. LensB&H
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  • Olympus M.Zuiko Pro professional splash, dust and freeze-proof prime and zoom lensesB&H

TheCameraStoreTV: TCSTV Live: Mirrorless Photojournalism and Sports with Rob Galbraith

“With the Sony A9, Panasonic G9, Fuji X-T2, we’re seeing mirrorless camera makers start to target the last DSLR stronghold, sports and photojournalism. This week Rob Galbraith is joining us to discuss how much progress has been made, and what mirrorless cameras still need to tackle to completely dominate the industry.”

Comparing DSLRs to mirrorless cameras (DSLMs) for photojournalism

Images created by Compact Camera Meter.

Based on size, weight and capabilities, mirrorless cameras are catching up to if not overtaking their DSLR ancestors. Fujifilm X-T2, Panasonic DC-G9, Sony Alpha 9 and Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, each with their f/2.8 or thereabouts standard zooms.
Hefty. A typical three f/2.8 zooms, one fast prime lens kit often carried by photojournalists using DSLRs such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
Light. A typical three f/2.8 zooms, one fast prime lens kit that might be carried by photojournalists using DSLMs aka mirrorless cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9.

My Panasonic plus Olympus version of the four lens DSLR-style mirrorless photojournalism kit

I am partial to the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lenses for their many attractive qualities for documentary photography and moviemaking, most especially their manual clutch focus for when focus is critical, so here is my own list of components.

This list is based on the range of assignments I worked on during my newspaper photography years. Add a GH5 to the list and you have an excellent kit for Super 16/Micro Four Thirds documentary moviemaking and photography.

It is early days in learning about the G9 at the moment, but I would love to know whether it is possible to use its 80 megapixel high resolution mode for environmental portraiture and other forms of portrait photography, potentially making  the G9 a contender for magazine feature and fine art photography.

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Panasonic Announces Lumix DC-G9, DSLR-Style Micro Four Thirds Stills Photography Flagship Camera and Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Telephoto

Panasonic has pulled one out of its hat with the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9, an almost unexpected DSLR-style high-end flagship camera aimed directly at stills photographers but also with video capability, as well as the Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom with included 1.4x teleconvertor and optional Panasonic DMW-TC20 2x Teleconverter

Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 camera with Panasonic DMW-BGG9 Battery Grip and Panasonic Leica G 200mm f/2.8 Aspheric Power OIS lens.

Commentary

Although I am not fond of DLSR-style cameras for stills photography, preferring the DSLR form factor for video cameras so long as they are equipped with fully articulating monitors, I find the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 intriguing for its feature set and its promise as a smallish, fast-to-use camera for news, events and magazine feature photography.

For the urban documentary stills photography which I also practise, I still vastly prefer rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras with tilting electronic viewfinders and hope that we can expect a Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 tilting EVF camera in the near future.

It is early days insofar as hands-on professional user reviews of the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 go, and I am looking forward to learning about how its many new features work out in practice.

I can visualize how the G9’s wildlife and sports photography-oriented features will make the job of those photographers lighter, faster and easier.

As a former magazine and daily newspaper photographer I can extrapolate how photographers in those fields will benefit especially given the tight deadlines of the newspaper business.

The G9’s 80-megapixel high resolution mode has piqued my interest, even more so now that I have been asked if I want to take up architectural photography again.

Food for thought.

Digital medium format photography costs far more to get into than large format analog photography ever did, in my experience.

Unless shot strictly for magazine, print or web publication, architectural photographs need to be usable at high reproduction sizes for displays and posters.

I love Micro Four Thirds and APS-C mirrorless, and medium format digital hardware suitable for architectural photography is well beyond my current means.

Medium format image quality, micro four thirds sensor size?

The Panasonic Lumix DC-G9’s 80-megapixel high resolution mode used for landscape photography. Not the best way to demonstrate its effectiveness. I would like to see the 80-megapixel mode well demonstrated for use in architectural and environmental portrait photography, in HDR multiple bracketing for architecture and a single shot for portraits.
The incredible Linhof Master Technika Classic 4″x5″ hand-and-stand sheet film camera with universal viewfinder, rangefinder and shift, swing and tilt camera movements. Perfect for architectural photography and portraiture. I learned photography with one of these and taught photography with it at the same university art school.

Is the G9’s 80-megapixel high resolution mode the way to go when needing to go large?

Combine the G9 with a super wide-angle Olympus or Panasonic zoom lens, or a Laowa M43 or adapted prime lens, choose the ones offering the best optical correction, and select an easily portable tripod that extends high enough to shoot above eye level as needed.

Above all buy lenses with the very least optical distortions to avoid nasty curved parallels when shooting video.

The legendary medium format Rolleiflex 4.0 FT telephoto twin lens reflex camera, brilliant for portrait and documentary photography along with its siblings the Rolleiflex 2.8 FX-N with standard lens and Rolleiflex 4.0 FW TLR with wide lens, last in a long line of such instruments. I had a couple of Rolleiflex TLRs and used them for documentary and portrait photography until they were stolen.

Shoot HDR brackets when the light and subject dynamic range demand it, then process in Skylum (formerly Macphun) Aurora HDR 2018.

Apply optical and perspective corrections there or in other applications like Capture One Pro, DxO ViewPoint, Luminar 2018PTLens or Photoshop and there you have it.

Another possibility comes to mind.

I made a living in magazine editorial portraiture as a result of my fine art portrait photography, relying on large and medium format analog cameras for the most part, supplemented with Leica analog rangefinders when portability and speed were of the essence.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 tilting viewfinder camera. I found that using TLR cameras’ waist-level viewfinders allowed me to be right in the middle of the action when shooting documentary photographs, effectively almost invisible. Shooting portraits the same way had a similar effect in that looking downwards with the top of my head to my subjects helped them relax far more than if I had been pointing an SLR at them at eye level. The GX8 gives me a similar experience to that of my Rolleiflexes and it is unique amongst contemporary digital cameras.

Photographic prints shown in galleries gain authority and power when printed large, traits often lost when reproduced small.

Should I consider getting back into creating larger format photographs for exhibition?

My question is, then, does the G9’s 80-megapixel high resolution mode permit applying it to the sort of portrait photography I love to this day?

One thing I know for sure is that Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds sensors have close to the perfect aspect ratio for environmental, full-face, head-and-shoulders and full-figure portrait photography, whether in landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) orientation – 4:3 or 3:4.

If the Panasonic Lumix G9’s 80 megapixel high res mode proves usable for my type of portrait photography, then that nudges it well into medium format territory for me, but at a far more affordable price than the other current contender, the Fujifilm GFX 50S.

Panasonic Lumix GH5, G9 and GX8 and then some, compared at Compact Camera Meter

Until the unexpected appearance of the G9, the GX9 was the Lumix stills-oriented camera most expected to be announced late this year or early the next.

Until now, the GX8 has been Panasonic’s flagship stills photography camera.

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5, DC-G9 and DMC-GX8 with Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f2.8-4.0 Aspheric zoom lens, at Compact Camera Meter.
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5, DC-G9 and DMC-GX8 with Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f2.8 Power OIS telephoto lens, at Compact Camera Meter.

The rangefinder-style GX8 is very different in size and weight to the DSLR-style G9 so I compared it with the G9 and GH5 at the Camera Size website, with two lenses in which I am interested, the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric zoom and the Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200m f/2.8 Power OIS telephoto.

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro, DC-G9 with Panasonic Leica Elmarit 200mm f2.8 Power OIS telephoto, and Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS II USM at Compact Camera Meter. Enough said.

Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 gallery

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200m f/2.8 Power OIS gallery

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  • Aurora HDR 2018
  • Laowa – low and zero distortion super wide-angle and long lenses for macrophotography and other applications including architecture, cityscapes and landscapes.
  • Luminar 2018

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Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris. Samurai image from Wallhaven.

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Reuters: Reuters launches grant program to develop the next generation of photojournalists

https://www.reuters.com/article/rpb-grants/reuters-launches-grant-program-to-develop-the-next-generation-of-photojournalists-idUSKCN1BF0YJ

“… Reuters is launching a grant program which seeks to recruit and develop a diverse new generation of photojournalists to tell original human stories from around the world.

Reuters is offering up to eight $5,000 USD grants to passionate photojournalists or photojournalism students who are interested in working on photo assignments and projects to advance their abilities and tell new stories….”

PDN: Sexism in the Photo Industry: Can’t We Do Better?

https://www.pdnonline.com/features/industry-updates/sexism-photo-industry-cant-better/

“… Sexism—from paternalism to discrimination to outright harassment—is a problem in just about every work setting, and the photo industry is no exception. As photographer Nadiya Nacorda puts it, “Sexism does not stop at the photo industry’s doorstep. It comes inside, and goes in your fridge, cracks open a beer, and sits on the couch.” Female photographers we interviewed expressed anger, frustration and resignation over the sexism they frequently encounter. They also expressed defiance—and hope….”

Uncertain Future? Two Photojournalists Discuss Current State of Photojournalism

Two recent articles at The New York Times – access is paywalled but 10 articles per month are free – provide two differing points of view about the current and future state of the profession of photojournalism in the United States at least. 

In the NYT‘s Lens: Photography, Video and Visual Journalism section, Lens Co-Editor James Estrin discusses photojournalism’s future with longtime news photographer and NPPA editor Donald R. Winslow at The Uncertain Future of Photojournalism.

Several days after that article was published, young female NYT photographer and video journalist Leslye Davis had a follow-up conversation about the same subject with James Estrin, Photojournalism’s Uncertain Future? She Begs to Differ.

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