1st
March

Another one from my archives today. I so can’t wait for a better weather to start and get some nice new shots again :)

This is a HDR from 7 exposures, created in Oloneo Photoengine, finished in Photoshop.

Castle on the hill
Technique: Oloneo Photoengine, Number of exposures: 7, Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D mark II, Lens: Canon 24-70mm F2.8, Focal length: 45mm, Aperture: 2.8, Middle exposure time: 2s, ISO: 100, Tripod used: yes, Location: 48.136873, 17.104699
28th
February

Video tutorials

You know that I offer video tutorials for sale on this blog, but I also watch a lot of them from many other photographers. Right now I’m watching the Trey Ratcliff’s Complete HDR Tutorial, The Ultimate Landscape Photography Course by Jay and Varina Patel and the Cityscape tutorial by Beboy. I like to switch from one to another, as sometimes watching one in a row is hard, as they are quite long. Especially the one from Beboy is a little problematic for me, as it’s in French, and I don’t speak any French :). But since I have quite a lot of knowledge of Photoshop already, I can watch it and get almost everything he is showing there. It just take a little longer.

There is always something more to learn. In taking and in editing photos. What are you currently learning? Or what video series are you watching? Feel free to share in the comments.

Moon over Bratislava

Still haven’t done many new photos this year. The weather in Bratislava is nothing spectacular right now, and my travels for this year will start a little later. So for now, another one from my library, taken around 2 years ago :)

Btw. this was really taken at f2.8. It was quite late after sunset, and it was really dark.

Moon over Bratislava
Technique: Oloneo Photoengine, Number of exposures: 6, Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D mark II, Lens: Canon 24-70mm F2.8, Focal length: 42mm, Aperture: 2.8, Middle exposure time: 4s, ISO: 400, Tripod used: yes, Location: 48.136873, 17.104699
27th
February

I know you all want a post about the blue/black dress (or white/gold?) today, but no, not from me :)

Today’s post is about a question I got few days ago. A question if I knew about any free Photoshop alternative. This is quite an interesting question, and to tell the truth, I knew about none that was really suitable. I’ve been using Photoshop for the last 15 years, and I never thought about looking for something else. So I started searching. For me a Photoshop alternative would have to be a local program that works solidly with layers. I’m not a big fan of online editors that work in a browser, as the stability of browsers is horrible as it is, and I don’t trust them with my work.

Gimp

Over and over again I seen Gimp to be suggested as the best alternative. There are two alternative there, the Gimp and Gimpshop, which is a version that tries to emulate Photoshop more, with more Photoshop like interface. So I decided to give it a try. First I went for the Gimpshop, as that would probably be easier. My experiment ended already by the installer, when it tried to install some strange additional software onto my system and the installation dialog didn’t even had any cancel button. Sorry, that’s not what I want to have on my PC. So I switched to the normal Gimp, at least there I got only what I wanted.

I actually tried Gimp some 10 years ago, and first look at the latest version, it looked exactly as before. So I tried to go and edit a photo. The first big problem was that Gimp does not support 16-bit files (I found an announcement from 2012 that this should be implemented, but not in the current version). Thats already a deal breaker for me, but I thought I try and blend an image. The layers work fine, so the basic blending is possible. While trying to do luminance masking I was not so successful. First I could not find the RGB channel, so I could only work on R, G or B and then the intersection of selection worked strangely, so I could not create more specific selection.

gimp

And there where my experiments with Gimp stopped. It is just so far away from my workflow, that I can’t use it. Maybe I just missed something, but the UI just didn’t fit my style.

But if I should suggest you a free Photoshop alternative, this is still the best one you can get. You can use layers, you can do basic blending, you can do image edits. But if you want to edit photos every day, I would still go with Photoshop. Even just the support from third party plug-ins is worth the investments.

Affinity photo

There is also a new alternative, that is currently in beta. It’s called Affinity photo, and it looks very modern and capable. For me the problem here is that it’s mac only, so I have no way to try it out. But I think you should give it a try :)

Photoshop alternative?

So to tell the truth, I could not find a free alternative to Photoshop that I could suggest. Maybe some of you have some tips? If yes, feel free to share.

26th
February

This is just one of those photo situations, where you just have to go with a HDR. For a moment I even thought of just using the darkest exposure, and so a silhouette shot. But that I remembered, that that’s just not my style :)

This is a HDR from 6 exposures, created in Oloneo Photoengine, finished in Photoshop. I wanted to get this nice yellow/golden glow in the sky here, and I hope I got it :)

The golden sunset
Technique: Photoshop edit, Number of exposures: 6, Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D mark II, Lens: Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS II, Focal length: 115mm, Aperture: 16, Middle exposure time: 1/25s, ISO: 100, Tripod used: yes, Location: 48.137018, 17.113230
25th
February

This will be a little rant. I haven’t posted one in a long time, so it’s time for one again.

As probably every photographer, I get a lot of requests from different people, asking if I would provide my photos for free. In the past, I did so from time to time, but looking back, I think it was only because of my beginners naivety. You know how it is. When you start taking photos, it’s just such a great feeling to see you photos used somewhere. Anywhere is great. But over time, I learned that doing so is never good. It just makes someone else profit from my work, and I get nothing from it.

If you think about it. If I let someone use a photo for free, who payed for the photo? I did. I payed for something so some company can use it and profit from it. I payed with my time, with money for the equipment, sometimes even with my health. And not only that. If I provide a photo to someone, the photo lowers in value. It happens over and over that potential customers first question is: Is someone already using this photo? And if yes, their interest is gone.

WatermarkSo some time ago, I decide to stop this practice completely. But I still get the requests, and so many times I’m just shocked. You would not believe the excuses why they can’t afford the photos, why they should not pay for the photos, or what is commercial use and what isn’t. It takes so much to stay civil while replying to such emails. Would you believe someone who told you that they want to make a brochure and they made no budget for the photos? That they think that promotional material is not commercial use? That non-profit organizations have no budget at all? I don’t think so.

Sometimes this just reads as an insult. Insult to me and my work. It’s funny, to read from companies like this, how great my work is, how great my photos are, how much they want to use them, and right after that, how worthless it is. Yes, they gave a value to all my work. And the value they gave was a big fat zero. It’s even funnier, if you take into account, that the person writing to me, get’s even payed for the time spend writing the email. So even that is more valuable than my work.

One interesting thing I noticed is, especially by non-profit organizations, is, that mostly the bigger ones think they should get the photos for free. The smaller ones, usually ones that promote arts, approach me about buying the photos, even if they have a limited budget. I usually agree to provide photos for them at a big discount, as I also like to support those causes. But bigger companies, boosting on their web-pages how much money they have to work with, don’t even ask for the price. They either get it for free, or they don’t care.

You would think that this is all about money, and you are right. I would love to just take photos for fun. To just do what I like to do. But until I can go to a shop, and say, I have no budget this week, I take it for free, this is just not possible. And I hope one day, people like this will understand that. One good thing is, that there are also good companies. The ones that value the work and also pay fairly for it. It’s such a pleasure to work with those.

And to every photographer out there. Never work for free. It’s never worth it.