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Great photos are born in the camera.

Hello. I’m Arnie Lee the chief reporter, writer, editor, publisher and photographer at Stay Focused. I’ve been involved with photography for well over 50 years.

I’m here and you’re here because we all love taking pictures. Read on and you’ll find helpful hints and tips for turning your snapshots into gallery quality photographs as we show you how to get it right in the camera. All of these tips are short and right-to-the-point. Click on tags in the sidebar to FIND ARTICLE BY CONTENTS.

You’ll also find other E-zine articles based on our long experience in the field of photography. We happily share our know-how with you so in hopes that you’ll discover new ways to enjoy your picturetaking even more.

Note: You can click on any of the photos to enlarge.

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Some Day My Prints Will Come

For decades I was schooled in conventional (film) photography. So it’s natural that I am a lover of photographic prints. And although I enjoy the convenience and portability of electronic display devices, I simply prefer to view my work on hardcopy prints.

Last last year, I ordered a large format printer – the Epson P800. Normally it makes prints up to size 17″ x 22″. Add a roll paper feeder and it can produce enormous panoramas up to 129″ wide. Since the printer was in high demand at the time, my waiting time was about a month for delivery.

When I finally received the printer, I was preoccupied with a lot of other work. To ensure that the printer was working properly I used to make only two or three prints and then set it aside.

Jump ahead two months and I’m attending the WPPI Conference & Expo. I think to myself that I should learn about printing papers to get the best results from the investment in my Epson P800. And so at WPPI I stop at several makers of fine art papers to get educated.


Hahnemuhle is a German based company that offers a wide variety of papers. I look at their large catalog and am stumped by some of the terminology. So I start asking questions.

What is baryta paper? I’m told that it is paper coated with barium sulphate, a substance used on traditional photographic paper. When baryta paper is used for inkjet printing, it supposedly reproduces the effect of silver halide processing.

Many of the paper descriptions include a gsm value. I find that gsm is an acronym for grams per square meter. Thus a square meter of Canvas Metallic 350 gsm paper is heavier than FineArt Baryta Satin 3500 gsm paper.

I am also curious about paper with the rag description. I learn that this paper is made from cotton linters or rags and is superior to wood-based paper.


The helpful representative left me with this sampler – a collection of their fine art photography papers and other helpful literature. For more information please visit Hahnemuhle.

Namhoon Kim is the Marketing Manager for Durico Media. The company is based in southern California. As you can see from the below photograph, they have a rather large selection of papers.

I helped myself to about a dozen of their print samples all on different paper stock. I find that the samples are the only way to determine if a paper is suitable for one of my prints. Reading a catalog description does not give me the know-how to select a paper – I require hands-on to feel the surface and a sample photograph to give me the visual feedback.

For more information, please visit Durico Imaging.


Epson is probably best known as a manufacturer of printers. They also are a large producer of high quality printing papers.

My visit to Epson is to find out more about their printing papers and luckily I am handed a “Print Sample Guide” to take with me. It has their complete line of papers with printed samples: photographic, matte, cotton fine art and canvas.

Before I depart the representative shows me their new software Epson Print Layout. This app is for users of Epson professional printers and provides a convenient and elegant way to organize, set up and print your images. If you’re a user of a high end Epson printer, you can download a copy of the Epson software from here.

For more information about their papers, please visit Epson.


Paperwise, I’m 3 for 3. I walked away with samples from three different manufacturers. So with samples in hand, I am prepared to make my paper choices. Now I’m ready to fire up that printer that has been sitting idle waiting for me.

 

 
Written by: Arnie lee

 

 

Hover and Shoot


You don’t ordinarily think of looking at drones at the Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference & Expo. However, DJI had a booth there showing off the new Mavic Pro.


At the DJI booth, representative Laura Schutz showed me the company’s newest drone. She emphasized that drones are now simpler to fly. And drones are now much more affordable.

Users have invented innovative ways to use drones for airborne photography. DJI, a pioneer in the industry, recently released the Mavic Pro which builds on the simpler and affordable features.



The Mavic Pro is compact. When not in use, the rotor arms fold tightly against the unit’s body making it easy to store and transport.

Owing to its efficient motors, flying time is up to 27 minutes at 40 mph.

The unit’s remote controller has a range of more than 4 miles. It can send livestream directly to popular smartphones.

Mavic Pro has five built-in sensors that can detect and avoid obstacles during flight. There is also a set of backup sensors that can take over in case one is malfunctioning.


Specifically for photography is a camera that shoots 4K at 30fps mounted on 3-axis gimbal for smooth, jumpfree video. Stills are captured at 12MP.

Its GPS capabilities enable accurate positioning whatever your location.

In “ActiveTrack” mode, the drone follows or flies alongside the subject.

In “Gesture Mode”, the Mavic follows you until you give it the go-ahead to snap your “selfie”.

The “Terrain Follow” mode flies the drone at a fixed altitude above the ground.


This Mavic Pro is taking video footage of me.

The Mavic Pro has many features which set it apart from other drones. The DJI website has many videos that demonstrate these features.


The suggested price of the Mavic Pro is $1000.

For more information about the Mavic Pro, please visit DJI.


 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

Canon’s Latest Mirrorless


This past February at the Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference & Expo, I stopped at the Canon booth to take a look at the company’s new M5 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.


Canon is best known for their full featured DSLR cameras. Although I own several high end DSLRs from both Canon and Nikon, I’ve been a devoted user of mirrorless cameras for at least five years owing to the compact size and electronic viewfinder that I highly value.

Sony has been a leader in the mirrorless realm with Fujifilm, Panasonic and Olympus close behind. Canon has been playing catch up with its M series for a couple of years. I now consider the M5 a strong contender.

The new M5 now uses a 24MP sensor with Dual Pixel AF for faster and more precise autofocus. This is Canon’s first M series with built-in viewfinder. The M5 combines in-camera digital and optical lens stabilization. The tilting LCD has doubles as a touchscreen. And the camera has a built-in flash.


This is the Canon M5 with the 18-150mm EF-M lens.


The tilting LCD also functions as a touchscreen. Touch the screen to activate focus manually.

As you can see the M5 has a convenient, dedicated exposure compensation dial.

The M5 also captures full HD 60p movies in MP4 format. The touchscreen can be used during video operations to affect focus.

The camera includes Wi-fi and NFC capabilities as well as bluetooth to send images to a smartphone.

The suggested price of Canon M5 with 15-45mm EF-M lens is $1099. The suggested price of the Canon M5 with the 18-150mm EF-M lens is $1479.

For more information about the M5, please visit Canon.


 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

Instant Photography – prints while you shoot


At the Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference & Expo held earlier in February, I couldn’t help but notice several attractive displays at the huge Fujifilm booth.


Fujifilm has been producing instant photo cameras since before the turn of the century (2000) as a successor to the groundbreaking Polaroid line.

Their most popular model is the Instax 70 Mini which comes in six vivid colors – white, yellow, blue, gold, red and black.

All of these cameras feature auto focus, auto exposure, self-timer, fill flash and tripod socket. They also have a convenient “selfie” mode.

Fujifilm’s line of instant photograph cameras are an attractive addition for enhancing wedding, reunion, or party events. Make the rounds among the guests with one of these cameras and there’s an exciting picture for them to see.



Instax Mini film is packaged in sets to produce 10 – 62mm x 46mm photos – about the size of a credit card.

In addition to photographs with white borders, the packages of film can be purchased with these designs and colors: black, sky blue, rainbow, candy pop, stained glass, shiny star, comic, air mail, stripe, and Hello Kitty. There is also a monochrome film package for producing black and white photos.

Here’s a photo of me taken with a colorful border. It takes about 90 seconds from pressing the shutter release until the photograph is fully “developed”.


Here’s a couple of wedding displays that were created from Instax cameras.


The suggested price of Instax 70 Mini is $110. The Instax Mini Film sells for about $15 for 2 x 10-exposure packages.

There is also an Instax Wide 300 model camera which can take instant photos that are double wide: 62mm x 92mm.

For more information about the Instax line of cameras, please visit Fujifilm.


 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

Lightweight, Convenient and Protective


At this year’s Wedding and Portrait Photography International expo, I spent several hours talking to vendors of cameras, equipment, accessories and services. The people at the Think Tank booth, gifted me a small accessory for everyday use.


This accessory goes by an unorthodox name: My 2nd Brain 11. I suppose the name suggests that all of your necessities can be easily kept in this single case.

The “11” refers to the size of a tablet or notebook that it can hold, in this instance an 11″ model of either.

Load up the case with what you need, throw it over your shoulder and you’re ready to attack the world.



The inner pocket is well padded and provides protection for my iPad. The outer pocket is perfect for holding my cell phone. A non-zippered pocket on the reverse side conveniently holds standard letter-size papers.

The case opens wide and has several elastic-mesh pockets for securely holding pens, business cards, notepads, more. The padded shoulder strap is fully adjustable.

My 2nd Brain 11 comes in black and green. The suggested price of My 2nd Brain 11 is $85.

Think Tank also has larger My 2nd Brain cases for 13″ and 15″ tablets or notebooks.

For more information, please visit Think Tank.


 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

Keeps your camera close at hand


At this year’s Wedding and Portrait Photography International expo, I spent a considerable amount of time talking to many of the 200+ vendors of cameras, equipment, accessories and services. Spider Holster was one of these vendors that caught my attention.

The Spider Holster set of accessories provides a way to carry one or more cameras conveniently at your waist. The system uses a pin (ball-joint) mounted on a plate that attaches to your camera body. The ball-joint pin securely slides into a slot on a waist-mounted holster. The camera literally “hangs” at your waist leaving your hands free until you are ready to shoot again.



The camera hangs at the shooter’s waist with the lens facing backwards. If the shooter kneels, the lens will remain facing backwards and out of the way.

The pin bracket screws into the camera’s tripod socket. Notice that there are two positions to mount the pin. One position is for a left-hand holster and the other position for a right-hand holster.


The holster attaches to a waist belt. The ball-joint slides into to holster and has a safety latch to prevent the camera from inadvertently detaching.

Representative Ashley Cavanaugh is sporting a single holster. You can also attach a second holster to the waist belt enabling you to swap between two cameras.

To the right is a variety of brackets and plates. One of the plates lets you mount the camera directly on tripods that require an Arca-Swiss mount..

The SpiderPro single camera system includes the holster, the camera plate, the pin and single cam belt. The suggested price of the single camera system is $135.

The dual camera system includes two holsters, plates and pins and a dual cam belt. The suggested price of the dual camera system is $235.

For more information, please visit Spider Holster.


 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

Wrapping Up the Event

 



The cold and snowy winter days in Michigan have me longing for a warmer respite. So the call of the exciting Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference and Expo is excuse enough for me to hop on a plane to visit the warm climes of Las Vegas.

The goal of the conference portion of WPPI is to hone the skills of professionals who specialize in weddings, portraits, video, school and sporting photography. Classes, seminars and photo walks are led by noted pros and educators who share their techniques with attendees to help grow their business.

The expo portion of WPPI takes place in a huge hall where manufacturers of photo equipment, accessories, materials, and services can present their products to attendees.

The venue for WPPI was the huge Las Vegas Convention Center. Event organizers told me that the show outgrew the space at MGM Center. The LVCC was easily able to accommodate the 13,000 attendees and 230 exhibitors.


Convention goers are attracted to WPPI by the many well-know photographers and instructors that conduct more than 200 different classes. You may recognize some of their names and work: Joe McNally, Sue Bryce, Joe Switzer, Lindsay Adler, Tamara Lackey, Me Ra Koh, Bambi Cantrell, Katrin Eismann, Bob Davis, Jerry Ghionis, Roberto Valenzuela and Julianne Kost to name a few.


At the expo, I made my way through the exhibit hall and stopped often to listen to many of the seminars and demonstrations sponsored by the major equipment manufacturers. Here’s a quick look at a wide variety of topics presented to attendees.



Lighting Techniques



A Nikon Demo



Self-Portraiture & Posing


presented by Brooke Shaden


Posing the Family


presented by Michele Celentano



Nikon Ambassador


Dixie Dixon


with an attentive audience



Photojournalist Joe Bussink

Talking Mirrorless Cameras at Fuji

My stay in Las Vegas was short but I did talk to dozens of equipment and accessory suppliers during my visit to WPPI. As soon as I get my act together, I’ll review some of items that caught my attention.


 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 

WPPI 2017

20th January 2017

Wedding & Portrait Photography International


Conference and Expo

 


 

 

In just a few days, the WPPI Convention will be underway. I’ll be heading out to the (hopefully) warm climes of Las Vegas to attend this annual gathering that takes places from Feb 5th through Feb 9th.

The WPPI is for photography professionals who are looking to enhance their various skills – posing, lighting, printing, marketing and sales. More than 200 classes are taught by expert photographers and speakers. In addition to the core wedding and portrait photography classes, a new Professional School & Sports Photography (PSPI) program has been developed to capture this growing segment.

To accommodate an expected 12,000 attendees, the WPPI has moved to the spacious Las Vegas Convention Center. These classes are led by 175 instructors including notables such as Katrin Eismann, Julianne Kost, Lindsay Adler, Joe McNally, Jerry Ghionis, Roberto Valenzuela, Bambi Cantrell and Bob Davis to name a few. Click here to see the wide variety of classes and instructors.

The expo portion of the convention has some 250 exhibitors in the hall showing the newest cameras, lenses, equipment, lighting, accessories, supplies, marketing material and services. All of the major camera manufacturers have booths where they demonstrate their latest wares.

For more information on this year’s convention, please visit the WPPI Conference & Expo website.

I hope to see you there.


Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

Missing in Action

07th October 2016

PhotoPlus Expo 2016

The PhotoExpo Conference and Expo is scheduled for October 19-22.

It’s a great way for anyone wanting to advance his/her photography skills – lighting, posing, business, etc – or wanting to get hands-on look at the newest equipment and technology. PhotoExpo 2016 takes place at the Javits Convention Center in the New York City.

 

 

Due to some personal issues, I am unable to attend this year’s PhotoExpo in New York City. Why not you take advantage of the show?

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


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PhotoPlus Expo 2016

28th September 2016

Like A Kid in A Toy Store

As a long time follower of all thing photographic, I’m attracted to places where I can see, touch and fawn over new and innovative photographic equipment, accessories and services.

The upcoming PhotoPlus Expo 2016 Conference and Exposition is magnetically drawing me to New York City where more than 250 exhibitors will gather to show off their latest products and services. It’s the largest photography and imaging show in North America and has the distinction of more than 30 years of continuous operation.

Additionally, dozens of noted professionals and instructors will conduct 100+ of in depth seminars and classes demonstrating posing, lighting, wedding, portrait, marketing and photofinishing techniques.

Over the many years that I’ve been attending PhotoPlus seminars and demos I come away a little smarter as a photographer. Unfortunately (for my wallet), I also leave itching for new camera equipment and accessories.

The conference includes daily photo walks where attendees will explore the sites and streets of New York City accompanied by well-known professionals.

One standout is the Drone+ Seminar led by photographer George Steinmetz as he shows his aerial films. Also joining him are representatives form the FAA that will explain regulations concerning commercial drone photography.

PhotoPlus takes place October 19-22 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. With the completion of the #7 subway last year, getting to Javits is an easy ride from other areas of the city.

If you share my enthusiasm for photography, visit PhotoPlus Expo 2016 for more details. Maybe I’ll see you there.

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


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