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 Monday, July 27, 2015
Facebook Cover Photo Continuous Image Example
by Sean Setters
 
In this day and age, Facebook is as ubiquitous as Coca-Cola (and maybe even more so). As such, I'm guessing that most of our site visitors have Facebook accounts. With that in mind, I thought I would share some things to keep in mind when making your profile cover photo.
 
First of all, the cover photo is that wide, panoramic-looking image that adorns the top of a user's profile. As a photographer, this space offers a great opportunity to show off your skills and/or creativity. But to create an image with the greatest impact, you need to understand the following:
 
1) The Facebook cover photo’s dimensions are 851 x 315 pixels.
Utilizing the space accordingly means having to keep that [uncommon] aspect ratio in mind. I strongly suggest uploading your cover photo at a resolution of 2048 x 768px so that it looks best when someone clicks on the image to view it full screen.
 
2) The image is blocked in several areas, either by the profile picture or by the user’s name or miscellaneous buttons.
Understanding where those visual blockages occur can help with deciding on your image's composition. We've designed a handy Photoshop CS5 (and later) template to help you out with that.
 
3) Facebook darkens the bottom part of your cover photo with a gradient.
Not only is a substantial amount of the bottom part of the image blocked by various buttons, but you'll notice that the bottom part of your cover photo image is darkened. Be sure to keep this in mind when choosing your image framing as this darkening can further de-emphasize this part of the image.
 
4) Only the bottom half of your cover image will be seen when someone loads your profile on a computer.
When someone clicks on your profile, only the bottom half of the cover photo is visible. The full cover photo is only displayed if the user scrolls up.
 
5) Your cover photo will look completely different on mobile devices as only the center part of your cover photo will be displayed.
If you care about how your image will look on mobile devices (and you probably should), then you must keep in mind that mobile devices will display only the middle-part of your image (just how much of the "middle-part" shows depends on the device's orientation and resolution).
 
Here's what you'll see when opening the Cover Photo Template:
 
Facebook Cover Photo Template TDP on Load

How to use the template:
 
  1. Crop your image using a ratio of 851 by 315. Downsize the image to 2048 pixels wide. Otherwise, simply import your photo at 100% resolution and downsize/position the image for optimal framing. If you import at 100%, you'll need to crop your cover photo before exporting it for use (851x315 ratio)
  2. Place the image in the layer group named "Place 2048px Cover Photo Here" and position the image so that it snaps into an upper corner of the template.
  3. If you'd like to watermark your image, place your watermark just above your cover photo layer and position it for optimal visibility, taking into account the areas of the image which will be covered by various elements.
  4. Use the template to preview how your cover photo will look on the initial load, full monitor and various mobile screens.
  5. If you imported a 2048px resolution image and you're happy with it, you can simply upload it to Facebook using the small camera icon at the top/left of your profile picture. If you imported a larger image, you'll need to turn off the overlay group layer and crop the image using an 851x315 ratio selection box and save the image for uploading.
You can toggle the visibility of the smartphone and initial view guide layer group to see your entire cover photo in all its glory. You can also get rid of the PS guides by pressing CONTROL+H for a much cleaner view.
 
Bonus Tip: The guides can be used to create a continuous cover photo where your image continues through your profile picture (like the one at the top of this post). In order to get it right, you'll need to do the following:
 
  1. Make a square selection on your cover photo layer that encompasses the part of the image that is covered by the profile picture.
  2. I'm not quite sure why, but to get it to line up just right on Facebook, you'll need to move the selection down by pressing the down arrow twice.
  3. Edit --> Crop
  4. Make the Overlay Group Layer invisible and save your new profile picture.
  5. When updating your profile picture on Facebook, be sure to set the Zoom/Crop to none. Otherwise, Facebook will default to a zoom/crop that does not include the white area at the bottom of the image.
Did I miss any good tips/considerations when making a cover photo? Let us know in the comments.
Post Date: 7/27/2015 8:51:55 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM Lens
Post Date: 7/27/2015 8:01:21 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
For a limited time, B&H has the Lensbaby Special Edition Spark 50mm f/2 Lens for Canon/Nikon available for $59.95 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $129.95.
 
If you've ever wanted to experiment with a Lensbaby lens, this looks like a great opportunity to pick one up inexpensively. In fact, I'm adding one to my cart right now. [Sean]
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 50mm Lens with f/2 Aperture
  • Sweet Spot Selective Focus Lens
  • Nine Selectable Bokeh Shapes
  • f/2.8, f/4, and f/5.6 Aperture Discs
Category: Lensbaby Deals
Post Date: 7/27/2015 6:45:51 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, July 24, 2015
Rode Microphones Logo
24th Jul 2015 – RØDE Microphones is extremely proud to announce its acquisition of legendary audio technology manufacturer, Aphex.
 
RØDE founder and Managing Director, Peter Freedman, today announced the purchase of the US based company, well known for its range of audio signal processing equipment that features various proprietary technologies including the iconic “Aural Exciter”.
 
Founded in the mid-1970s, Aphex (then known as Aphex Systems) has since become one of the music and broadcast industries’ most revered brands, contributing to nearly every commercially successful record for decades. Today, Aphex products and technologies are used in a wide range of applications for music, film, video, theatre, gaming and communications.
 
The company’s legendary “Exciter” technology was inducted into the TEC “TECnology” Hall of Fame in 2013, in recognition of its contribution to improving decades of music and voice for countless artists, albums, movies, TV and radio shows around the world.
 
Aphex is regarded as an innovation leader, holding numerous patents, and licensing to a wide range of brands around the world. With its expertise in manufacturing, RØDE Microphones’ acquisition of Aphex heralds a giant leap for both companies.
 
“Growing up in professional audio as I did, I have always had incredible respect for Aphex.” commented Mr Freedman. “They’ve always been the best in the business at enhancing the recorded audio experience, and that is as true today as it was when the company was founded forty years ago”.
 
“I am so excited about creating the next chapter in the Aphex story, bringing the company’s game-changing technology to a wider audience, and improving the audio of hundreds of thousands of artists, engineers and content creators around the globe”.
 
Aphex will continue to trade as usual.
 
B&H carries Rode microphones.
Category: Rode News
Post Date: 7/24/2015 8:16:08 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
eBay (via GetItDigital) has the Nikon D750 DSLR Camera available for $1,539.99 with free shipping. Compare at $1,996.95 after $300.00 instant savings.
 
Note: This is likely a grey market item and therefore would not qualify for a Nikon USA warranty or repair service.
Posted to: Nikon News
Category: Nikon Deals
Post Date: 7/24/2015 8:03:46 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, July 23, 2015
Breakthrough Photography 77mm X3 10-Stop ND Filter
B&H has the Breakthrough Photography 77mm X3 10-Stop ND filter in stock with free expedited shipping. (thanks Paul)
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 1,000x Filter Factor, 10 Stop
  • Darkens Entire Image
  • Allows Reduced Shutter Speed
  • Allows Wider Aperture
  • MRC Multi-Resistant Coating
  • Nano Coating
  • Schott Superwhite B270 Glass
  • 77mm Front Filter Threads
  • Thin Brass Filter Ring
  • Knurled Sides
Post Date: 7/23/2015 6:30:55 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, July 22, 2015
COMODO Orbit Handheld Stabilization Rig
For a limited time, B&H has the COMODO Orbit Handheld Stabilization Rig available for $399.00 with free shipping. Regularly $1,299.00.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Single Shot Cinematic Tool
  • Dual Gimbal Handgrips
  • Load Capacity: 11 Pounds
  • Easy Balancing & Intuitive Operation
  • No Weights, Motors, Batteries Required
  • Tilt Control to Mimic Jib-Style Shots
  • Twin Grips for Multi-Operator Shooting
  • 1/4"-20 Camera Screw
  • 3/8"-16 & 1/4"-20 Accessory Threads
  • Carrying Case Included
Post Date: 7/22/2015 3:35:20 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Think Tank Photo Retrospective 50
B&H has a large selection of Think Tank Photo Shoulder Bags significantly reduced. Many are nearly half off! (thanks George)
Post Date: 7/22/2015 12:39:56 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
PocketWizard Logo
From PocketWizard:
 
New distribution channel allows LPA Design a closer connection with the photographer.
 
South Burlington, VT – As the wireless market and the photo industry as a whole continues to become more competitive and challenging, LPA Design, manufacturers of PocketWizard Photo Products, has realized the need to get closer to the photographer and has started selling direct to USA dealers. This change in distribution only affects the US market. LPA Design continues to rely on their network of global distributors and dealers throughout the world. “As we transition to our new sales and marketing approach, we are excited by the possibilities of working more directly with our Dealers and building closer relationships with the community of PocketWizard photographers. We’re exploring the means to hear and respond to our customers in a more direct and informative way. We’ve already heard some comments and suggestions, and are making changes that will offer a range of mutual long term benefits. We’ve had a great partnership with the MAC Group over the past 14 years, as they’ve been integral in building the PocketWizard brand in the US market. We wish them continued success in the future,” commented Heather Ambrose, Marketing Manager at LPA Design.
 
To spearhead our direct to dealer initiative, we have engaged the services of Lorenzo Gasperini of Inovanti, LLC to represent LPA Design / PocketWizard as our National Sales Manager. Lorenzo has a deep history with PocketWizard which started back in 1994 when he encountered PocketWizard and later joined Bogen Photo (Manfrotto USA) and LPA Design as the first US distributor. In 2000 Lorenzo joined the MAC Group and as the National Marketing Manager he inspired new products, markets and partnerships that lead to significant growth and success for the brand. In 2008 Lorenzo was paramount in building the PocketWizard brand internationally as the International Sales and Marketing Manager. In addition to his responsibilities with PocketWizard, Lorenzo (Inovanti) also works with the Sekonic light meter division and Syrp motion and linear control devices. Lorenzo has a tremendous amount of knowledge in the photographic and video market and will be an asset to the PocketWizard Sales and Marketing Team once again. PocketWizard looks forward to continuing toward a closer and stronger alliance with all their US dealers in an effort to strengthen their USA-built brand.
 
B&H carries PocketWizard products.
Post Date: 7/22/2015 12:11:44 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Summer Photography Tips: Telephoto Lenses are for Flowers Too
Sure, telephoto lenses are great for wildlife, sports and many other uses, but they are also great for flowers! I've had my eye on a small field of wildflowers and, after spending a large number of contiguous hours of work putting the Lens MTF Comparison tool into place, I gave myself the freedom to go after some summer color in the form of flower pics.
 
I knew that making an image worth sharing from this field was going to be a challenge. The location was not well-suited for a grand landscape image incorporating the flower color in the foreground. The flowers were beautiful, but they were intermixed with other vegetation, were very random in position and most were imperfect including a random state of bloom (some were well-beyond peak).
 
I was biking to this location (2 cars - 4 drivers = a problem) and, since I wasn't sure what the best opportunity was going to be, I put lenses ranging from 16 to 300mm in focal length along with a Canon EOS 5Ds R in a Think Tank Photo StreetWalker Pro backpack and was on my way. After riding past and then walking back along the edge of the field, I found few standout subjects calling for emphasis. Sometimes, flowers look best when blurred out of focus, becoming blobs of color and this was what I determined the case to be for much of this field.
 
This pair of cosmos did appear to be a cut above the rest and I focused on them for a period of time. By using a 300mm telephoto focal length with a relatively short focus distance, a nice blur was created, making full use of the imperfect blooms in the background.
 
While simply setting up such a blur is easy and can be good enough, taking the shot to the next level requires some attention to detail. In this case, I oriented the tripod-mounted camera and lens so that the background of the in-focus flower was only green, making the flower pop. This perspective also placed a complementary same-color cosmos just out of focus with a matching pair more-strongly blurred above. An intermittent light breeze made this alignment a bit more challenging, but ... patience was the answer to that issue.
 
I used manual focus aided by the 5Ds R's 16x Live View, allowing precise focusing on the center of the flower (preventing AF from picking the petals just in front). While an f/5.6 aperture would have given an even stronger background blur and would also have created a nice image, I opted for f/8 in this case. F/8 kept more of the flower in focus and reduced vignetting to even out the background brightness. Lighting is courtesy of a bright cloudy sky.
 
Then, right on cue, the bee landed on my primary subject. I was shooting the scene in vertical orientation at that moment (creating a nearly identical image), but I wanted to post the horizontal format picture as it fits better on computer monitors. So, I simply copied the bee out of the vertical photo and pasted it into this one.
 
Go get some summer color (in your photos, not your skin). Mount your telephoto lens and go flower hunting!
 
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, 500px and Facebook. Also, if reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
Post Date: 7/22/2015 11:05:13 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR Camera
eBay (via ElectronicsValley – 99% Positive Feedback) has the Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR Camera available for $1,999.99 with free shipping. Compare at $2,499.00.
 
Note: This is likely a grey market item and therefore technically ineligible for a Canon USA warranty.
Post Date: 7/22/2015 7:41:05 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
Watch as Ryan Connolly explains the basics to using a shotgun microphone to get the cleanest audio possible.
 
B&H carries boompoles and the Rode NTG3 microphone.
 
Here are the other videos in this series:
 
Post Date: 7/22/2015 6:46:55 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
ikan 7
B&H has the ikan 7" HDMI LCD Field Monitor with Canon LP-E6 Type Battery Plate available for $169.00 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $299.00.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 7" 1024 x 600 HDMI & Composite Inputs
  • 450 cd/m² Brightness
  • 700:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 170° Viewing Angle
  • Monochrome Peaking, False Color
  • Clip Guides, 1:1 Movable Pixels
  • Auto image Flip, DSLR Scaling
  • 1/4"-20 Threaded Mounting Hole
  • 2 x User Assignable Function Buttons
  • Includes LP-E6 Type Battery Plate
 Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Lens MTF
It is with great pleasure that I announce the latest addition to the site's tools: Lens MTF Comparison
 
Required Reading: To get the most out of these beautiful charts and to learn about MTF measurements, please take some time to read through the Lens MTF Help page.
 
Many prime lens results are immediately available in the MTF tool and many additions are planned, including zoom lenses. We'll announce the additions as they become available. Aperture tests in addition to wide open are also expected to be included at some point.
 
These MTF charts are made available under agreement with my friend Roger Cicala and his crew at Olaf Optical Testing with support provided by LensRentals.com. Go rent a lens!
Post Date: 7/21/2015 7:29:21 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Lowepro Photo Sport Sling 100 AW (Orange)
B&H has the Lowepro Photo Sport Sling 100 AW (Orange) available for $49.99 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $99.99.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Holds DSLR, Lens, Flash, Phone, Personals
  • Dual Compartment Design
  • Side Access Pocket for Sling Operation
  • Ultra-Lightweight Construction
  • Reflective Piping for Trail Safety
  • Multiple Accessory Attachment Points
  • Built-in Rain Cover
  • Molded Airflow Backpad
  • Lifetime Warranty
Post Date: 7/21/2015 6:25:37 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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