Behind the photo: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

Visiting the remote city of Jaisalmer was one of the best experiences during my trip to India. It is not part of the usual tourist routes (the small city is locates in the Tar desert about 30km from the border of Pakistan) and the easiest way I found to get there was a 14 hour train ride from New Delhi. Traveling with a train in India is an adventure that you can’t explain with words, you have to experience it for yourself 🙂 Anyway I arrived on the train station in Jaisalmer and managed to find the guy who was supposed to take me to my hotel. During the check in I found out that the biggest attraction in the city (and the reason most people come) is the camel safari in the Tar desert. I couldn’t say no 🙂

During a camel safari in the Tar desert close to the city of Jaisalmer, Rajahstan, India. Photo: iPhone 4s

During a camel safari in the Tar desert close to the city of Jaisalmer, Rajahstan, India. Photo: iPhone 4s

Our group started the same day 3 hours before the sunset. After an hour in a couple of 4x4s, we arrived at the point where we were supposed to start the actual camel safari. For some reason I was the first one to have been assigned a camel and as I found out a bit later – the most unluckiest one. My camel had a bit of a “temper”, just enough so that I can honestly say that this ride was the first and the last one I will ever take on a camel’s back!

In order to save the memory from the journey I wanted to take a photo and since getting out my big camera while riding proved impossible, I took one photo with my iPhone 4s. It is an old phone and the camera is not particularly good, but I love this image.

The moral of the story: The best camera is the one you always have with you!



Gallery: New York, USA

Here is a small selection of photos from my trip to New York. All photos are taken with Canon 5D Mark III (lenses: Canon 35mm F1.4L, Canon 24mm F1.4L and Sigma 85mm F1.4) and Fujifilm X100S.

Would you like to learn how to bring your vacation photos to the next level? It is really easy!

Please look at the menu above to learn more about my photography workshops.



Gallery: Saint Emilion, France

Here is a small selection of photos from a past trip to Saint-Emilion in France. All photos are taken with Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200 F2.8L, Canon 45mm TS-E.

Would you like to learn how to bring your vacation photos to the next level? It is really easy!

Please look at the menu above to learn more about my photography workshops.



Gallery: India

Here is a small selection of photos from my recent trip to India. All photos are taken with Canon 5D Mark III (lenses: Canon 35mm F1.4L, Canon 24mm F1.4L and Sigma 85mm F1.4) and Fujifilm X100S.

Would you like to learn how to bring your vacation photos to the next level? It is really easy!

Please look at the menu above to learn more about my photography workshops.



Camera purchase guide for beginners

There are so many options available on the market today, that it can be frustrating and difficult to even start the process of searching for a (new) camera. This short camera purchase guide for beginners is designed to teach you everything you need to know about buying a (new) camera, so that you can feel confident with your purchase.

When deciding what camera to buy there are a few questions you need to be prepared to answer:

  • What will be the primary use of your camera? Nice vacation photos, documenting epic parties with friends or maybe a solid camera that will allow you to develop your hobby into a business?
  • Do you plan on upgrading every year, every few years or maybe never?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you favour simplicity and ease of use over functions and manual control? Will size and weight be an issue?

Let’s see what are the most popular camera type available on the market today!

Camera purchase guide for beginners

DSLR

When you think of a big, professional and fancy camera, you’re probably picturing a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. These cameras consist of two parts — the camera body and the lens. The lenses can be taken off and changed depending on the situation or your need. Being able to change the lens will give you a great creative control over the final look of your photos.

DSLRs allow you to look through the lens as you compose your image. This gives you the most accurate idea of what your final image will look like (composition wise) when you take the photo. Depending on the model, DSLRs camera bodies can have a full frame sensor (typically the size of 35mm film, or a bit smaller) or a crop one (smaller than 35mm film, for example by factor of 1.6).

When it comes to the final image quality the lens will play a great role! Simply put the better the quality of the lens, the better the quality of the final image created. If you’re interested in pursuing photography as a serious hobby or professionally then a DSLR is probably what you’re looking for.

Pros*

  • Great picture quality
  • Great autofocus
  • Great low light capability
  • Great build quality
  • Superb manual control

Cons*

  • High price
  • Mostly big and heavy bodies and lenses

*As usual these depend on the camera brand and model

Mirrorless and Micro Four Thirds

In recent years, mirrorless cameras have become hugely popular. They have a lot of the same features as DSLRs but in a smaller and lighter body (they lack a mirror inside the camera body as the DSLRs, hence the name). Like DSLRs, most mirrorless cameras also come with the option to buy separately the body and the lens. On the market there are mirrorless cameras that have a full frame size sensor, the same size as the ones found in professional level DSLRs, making them even more appealing.

The mirrorless camera bodies and the lenses designed for them are generally much smaller and lighter compared to DSLR cameras and lenses. This makes them the perfect travel companion for everybody who prefers smaller size, but do not want to compromise with the quality of the photographs.

Not all mirrorless cameras have interchangeable lenses. If you need a high quality, low weight and small camera this is the way to go. A recent example of such a camera is a Fujifilm X100F with a fixed 23mm F2.0 lens (35mm format equivalent: 35mm)

(A subset of the mirrorless camera category are Micro Four Thirds cameras, a title that refers to the size of their sensor)

Pros*

  • Very good picture quality comparable with the DSLRs picture quality
  • Mostly great autofocus
  • Manual control
  • Lower price than DSLRs, smaller and mostly lighter bodies and lenses

Cons*

  • Shorter battery life
  • Somewhat less durable than DSLRs

*As usual these depend on the camera brand and model

Compact Point-and-Shoots

The big advantage of the point-and-shoot cameras is its size. They are even smaller than most mirrorless cameras on the market today. These cameras have permanently attached lenses (i.e. not interchangeable) that generally covers a wide zoom range.

Typically, they have the smallest sensors, meaning your image quality won’t be nearly as good as it would be with a higher-level mirrorless or DSLR camera. Most models will also lack manual controls for key settings (shutter speed, aperture, ISO etc..). Autofocus speeds will most likely be lower and the lag time between pressing the shutter taking the photo will be longer.

Generally Point-and-shoot cameras are cheaper and simpler to use. If you want to get serious about photography, Point-and-shoot cameras will be a great limiting factor. But if size and weight are an issue Point-and-shoot cameras are the real winner. They will also be generally the cheapest type of cameras.

Pros*

  • Low price
  • Low weight and small size
  • Ease of use

Cons*

  • Lower picture quality compared to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras
  • Slow autofocus
  • Bigger lag from start to taking photos
  • Not really usable at higher ISO speeds

Still confused? Ask me a questions!



Gallery: Chamonix

Here are a few photos from my recent hiking holiday in Chamonix, France. All photos are taken with Fujifilm X-Pro2 and 23mm F/1.4.

Would you like to learn how to bring your vacation photos to the next level? It is really easy!

Please look at the menu above to learn more about my photography workshops.



Gallery: Kitzbuhel

Here are a few photos from my recent ski holiday in Kitzbuhel, Austria. All photos are taken with Fujifilm X-Pro2, 23mm F/1.4 and 35mm F/2.

Would you like to learn how to bring your vacation photos to the next level? It is really easy!

Please look at the menu above to learn more about my photography workshops.



My photography equipment

Buying the right camera and lens can seem daunting for inexperienced photographers. There are so many choices and going trough all of them, comparing prices and specifications is a lot of work!

If you are not sure where to start you can always Ask me a question!

As a professional photographer I need to work with equipment on which I can rely 100%. This is my current choice of cameras, lenses and other accessories. Please consider buying from this Amazon.fr links as this will help me keep this site alive and be able to help more people buy the right photography gear. Thank you for your support!

My Fuji camera system:

I currently use a Fuji XT-2 and Fuji X-Pro2 with 3 lenses – Fujinon XF23mmF1.4 R, XF35mmF2 R WR and XF56mmF1.2 R. It is a great quality and very light weight setup that’s good for my professional use and perfect as my vacation kit. Here is a sample gallery with photos taken with this kit: http://ivopopov.info/portfolio/chamonix/chamonix-france/

My Canon camera system:

This is my second gear kit. Canon 5D Mark III and the following lenses: 24mm F1.4L, 35mm F1.4L, 70-200mm F2.8L and Sigma 85mm F1.4. For lightning I rely on three Canon 600EX-RT and Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter to control them. Here is a sample gallery with photos taken with this kit: http://ivopopov.info/portfolio/travel/loire-valley/



RAW vs JPEG – A simple guide for beginners

RAW vs JPEG – A simple guide for beginners

The RAW vs JPEG topic seems like a never ending debate in photography. There are photographers who say always shoot RAW, while others say shoot JPEG. A number of questions come in mind when thinking about who should you listen to.

What is RAW format? What are the advantages and disadvantages of RAW versus JPEG and why? Will shooting in RAW complicate your post-production and workflow?

Having a thorough understanding of advantages and disadvantages of both formats is essential for beginner photographers to make the right decision on whether to use RAW format for their work or JPEG.

RAW images, or “digital negatives” are virtually unprocessed files that come directly from the camera sensor. Think of them in the same way as you think about the raw food ingredients you buy from the store – they need to be cooked before you can eat them. Same goes here – you will need to edit your images before you can share and show them. JPEG on other hand can be viewed and shared immediately after you take them.

RAW images preserve the most amount of information about an image and generally have better dynamic range than JPEG images. RAW files have way greater latitude for editing and fixing mistakes.

Here is an example image shot in RAW format and edited in Adobe Lightroom:

RAW vs JPEG - A simple guide for beginners

So, just a quick list with the advantages of the RAW files:

  • RAW files contain better dynamic range than JPEG (ratio between the maximum and minimum measurable light intensities of light and black) and can later be used to recover underexposed or overexposed images or parts of an image
  • Unlike JPEG, RAW files utilise lossless compression, so they do not suffer from image-compression artefacts
  • When a RAW image is generated by the camera, all camera settings (metadata), including camera-specific and manufacturer-specific information, are just added into the file – nor applied! This is a huge advantage over JPEG, because if you accidentally use a wrong setting (underexpose, overexpose or pick wrong White Balance) on your camera, you will still have an option to change it later

The biggest disadvantage of the RAW format is the need of post-processing (editing) the files. You will spend time and effort to do that, not to mention money on a software (like Adobe Lightroom).

So, just a quick list with the advantages of the JPEG files:

  • JPEG images are fully processed in camera and all settings you have adjusted on your camera such as White Balance are already applied to the image
  • JPEG images are much smaller than RAW images and therefore consume a lot less storage
  • Most modern cameras and software packages support JPEG images, making the format extremely compatible
  • JPEG files can be used / shared immediately after you take them, without the need of editing

So, what format should you use? My answer will always be this – do you plan on editing your images? If yes, RAW is the way to go. If you are serious about your photography, want to grow and want to be able to showcase or sell your work, you should be using RAW format.

For me shooting in RAW format far outweighs the advantages of using JPEG. I edit all my images, professional and personal, and RAW format gives me much more flexibility to do that.

Would you like to know more? Please take a look at the menu above and our photography workshops in Brussels!



A simple guide to Adobe Lightroom

A simple guide to Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is hands down the best software for managing, editing and displaying your photos. It is simple enough to be used from the amateur photographers and powerful enough to be the professional photographer’s best friend. I doesn’t matter if you only photograph your kids and family vacation, it can offer powerful tools to make your images stand out. It is very easy to use and is my choice when it comes to editing.

This article will give you a basic idea just how powerful Adobe Lightroom really is. If you want to know more please make sure you check the “Photo editing with Adobe Lightroom” workshop that I teach.

After you install Adobe Lightroom your first photo catalogue will be automatically created and you will brought straight to the “Library” module and presented with an option to “Import” your photos. At the top right-hand corner of your screen you will see all available Lightroom modules:

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