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The TDS 2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Photographers

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"The 2019 TDS Workshop Season" - TDS Photography Podcast 661

Daily Post

A Portable Product Studio Using an iMac Box

I have a location assignment on Monday where I have to shoot wine bottles at the winery, both with scenery backdrops and on seamless paper. Fortunately, I've designed a semi-portable product shot studio using an iMac box, a table, seamless paper, and lots of clips.

If this has piqued your curiosity, read on. Let's start with a finished product using this setup.

Whiskey Bottle Black Backdrop Whiskey bottle photographed using the "iMac Box" semi-portable studio. One LED light in a softbox. RAW file file processed in Capture One Pro 11.

I always bring my own table because I've learned not to depend on clients for suitable working surfaces. This puts me in complete control of my shooting environment. At this point, I'm sure you're wondering about the iMac box. It is a critical element for this rig.

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Why? Because it is the right height for my backdrop stand, it is very stable, and the way the box opens allows for an adjustable connector for the seamless paper. That way I can get just the right slope so I can create a gentle curve for a studio effect.

For the white backdrop images, I use a small softbox for the front lighting and a second light on the background to keep it nice and bright. The second light can also provide a bit of rim lighting on the product if necessary. These are both LED units that run off batteries.

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I cut the seamless paper so it fits semi-perfectly with this set up. Wooden yardsticks help me expand the width slightly beyond the iMac box, and they provide nice helpful anchors on both ends of the seamless.

The camera, (in this case a Pentax KP DSLR with the wonderful HD DA 20-40mm f/2.8-4 ED Limited now on sale for $596, $200 off and a steal) is positioned on a tripod with the flip LCD angled upward for easy viewing. I also bring my own stool that's just the right height for this working environment.

From here, it's just basic photography. Adjust the lighting, set the exposure, check the color, then take the picture. Once the first product is successfully recorded, the process is fast for additional shots.

Whiskey Bottle White Backdrop Test subject with portable studio on white seamless. Two lights, one on the background

When this part of the shoot is complete, everything breaks down quickly and can be carried for transport in the back of the Audi A3. Yes, I have to drop the back seats to accommodate the table.

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Some folks may wonder why I don't use a popup cube product studio for this assignment. I do have one, and I love it. That's what I use for the product shots for the TheFilmCameraShop that I run. The problem is that the popups are not quite big enough for group shots of wine bottles and other larger subjects. If I knew all the items were going to be small, then I would indeed go that route.

So there it is... a versatile portable studio that's relatively nimble and very efficient. Wish me luck on the shoot.

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Want to learn more about Capture One Pro? Take a look at my course titled, Capture One Pro 11 Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning. You can also tune in on lynda.com if you prefer your training there. Either way, I have four hours of entertaining education that will help you master this excellent photo management and editing application.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Weekly Podcast

"The 2019 TDS Workshop Season" - TDS Photography Podcast 661

This is The Digital Story Podcast #661, Nov. 13, 2018. Today's theme is "The 2019 TDS Workshop Season." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Every year we strive to make our photography events even more compelling than the season before. For 2019, we have what I consider our best offering to date. Four unique events in fantastic destinations at truly affordable prices. And in today's TDS Photography Podcast, I will share each one of them with you. So sit back, tune in, and contemplate the possibilities for your next photography adventure.

The 2019 TDS Workshop Season

Here is the event slate for 2019! You can reserve your spot by visiting the 2019 TDS Workshops page and placing your $100 deposit for the event of your choice.

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  • Joshua Tree National Park - March 13-15, 2019 - This will be our first workshop visit to Joshua Tree. This fascinating environment is perfect for landscape work by day and night photography once the sun sets. We'll also visit the Salton Sea to capture migratory birds and to explore this unusual body of water. During our lab sessions, there will be instruction on maximizing your results with Aurora HDR, Lightroom CC, and Luminar. Add a little aerial photography, and we're set for photographically satisfying adventure. Three days, $725
  • San Francisco Street Photography - April 26-28, 2019 - We'll work entirely on location in San Francisco. We'll book a hotel in picturesque Union Square that will serve as our headquarters during the event. No rental car will be necessary. We'll explore the City's hidden treasures and capture them through our lenses. And we're adding new shooting locations again this year, including twilight assignments. This is San Francisco like you've never seen it before. And as a bonus, Olympus Visionary Mike Boening will be joining the teaching staff and leading sessions on street shooting and night photography. Two instructors, three days, small group, and all for just $725. (That's right, it's 3 full days in one of the most photogenic cities in the U.S.)
  • The Sonoma Coast Exploration - July 17-19, 2019 - Northern California's rugged coastline is the perfect setting to fine-tune our landscape and long-exposure water images. Plus, we'll visit a former Russian fort, movie locations, and interesting fishing villages. This workshop is the perfect escape from summer heat and humidity while adding hundreds of beautiful images to your photo library. During our lab sessions, there will be instruction on maximizing your results with Aurora HDR, Lightroom CC, and Luminar. If a workshop could be relaxing and stimulating all at the same time, this is it. 3 days - $725.
  • Humboldt Redwoods Photography Workshop - Sept. 18-20, 2019 - There is magic in the forest. If you've never experienced the magnificent redwoods of Humboldt County, you are in for a treat. Every detail of this vibrant ecosystem presents a photographic opportunity. The fern-covered floor with Dogwoods and azaleas, the towering Redwoods, fallen logs across bubbling streams... so much to work with. Additionally, we'll explore the fascinating Eel River and its wildlife. During our lab sessions, there will be instruction on maximizing your results with Aurora HDR, Lightroom CC, and Luminar. This workshop will delight your eyes and satisfy your soul. 3 days - $725

You can reserve your spot by visiting the 2019 TDS Workshops page and placing your $100 deposit for the event of your choice.

The Portfoliobox Inspirational Photographer

I got to thinking about some of the great PortfolioBox photographers out there, and how they could inspire us both artistically, but also in terms of our presentation online. So I started digging.

Each week for the month of November, I'm going to feature an inspirational photographer who uses Portfoliobox as his/her platform for presenting their work. This week I want to point you to Eva Fidziukiewicz. Not only is her fashion work outstanding, but her unique Portfoliobox design is equally appealing.

If you've signed up for a Portfoliobox Pro account, and have published at least one page, then send me the link to that site. Use the Contact Form on the Nimble Photographer and provide your name, the link, and the subject of the page or site you've published. I will add it to our PortfolioBox Pro Directory.

To create your own Portfoliobox site, click on the tile or use this link to get started. If you upgrade to a Pro site, you'll save 20 percent off the $83 annual price.

Using Aperture and Automator to Add IPTC to Your Pictures

Former Aperture users... don't delete the app quite yet. I have a helpful, practical purpose for keeping it on your hard drive: to add IPTC metadata (semi-automatically) to your pictures.

I'm using the Automator/Aperture tandem to include my copyright and author info with images that may fall outside my normal workflow, and don't have camera functions to include them. I've been adding data to iPhone images and those from the Fujifilm XF10. Here's how it works.

Coming Next Week - The Official 2018 TDS Holiday Gift Guide

That's right. It's that time of year. And I have handpicked 10 fun, creative, useful gift suggestions for that favorite photographer in your life (who also might be you!). You definitely won't want to miss this show.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: Continuing this month - Photo Critique. Check out the post on Patreon. Send your images to me with the subject line, "Photo Critique." More details on our Patreon page.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Portfoliobox - Your PortfolioBox site is the best way to show off your best images.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.