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Weekly Monday Contest

Published by Diana Tula · May 20th 2013

Want to get featured on our blog? Every Monday a theme is announced and you have until Sunday to submit your entry. You may already have a photo that suits or you can see it as a weekly photo challenge. For announced theme, deadline and how to enter continue reading.

Gallery

Last week we announced “Sunshine” theme and received a great number of sunny and bright entries. We have selected twelve photos to share with you today, these are thumbnails so make sure to click on each for a full size photograph. Take a look at all the contestants & pick your favourite.

New theme: What’s In My Bag

1. Select photo that fits this theme. Upload image to your 500px profile or pick an existing photo.
2. Add a tag "WIMB".
3. You are done. To track all entries click here.

Good luck this week! Theme is open to your interpretation and creativity, so get snapping and tagging. Deadline is May 26th at 12pm (EST). To make your efforts worthwhile there’s a random draw giveaway for all who enter for a chance to win 2 months of Awesome membership. Lucky draw winner is JC Shamrockah.


     

Photo Tutorial — Dreamy Great Gatsby Portraits

Published by Alex Flint · May 16th 2013

Hi everyone! My name is Alex Huff, I am a studio portrait photographer in San Francisco by night, and a product photographer & copy writer at BorrowLenses by day.

As a fan of both the book and the original Francis Ford Coppola written film, I wanted to create my own personal Great Gatsby cast of characters through my photography. In this tutorial, I am going to show you my process for creating Gatsby-esque portraits. I limited myself to a small indoor space to demonstrate that you can create a sun kissed, garden-like atmosphere even when you do not have access to that environment. It would also make for a fun photo booth set at a wedding.

Borrow Lenses Discount

Learn how to create dreamy Great Gatsby inspired portraits in our third instalment of a new photography tutorial series co-produced by 500px and BorrowLenses.com. Especially for 500px fans BorrowLenses invites you to receive 10% off any rental with coupon code: 500px.

Want more perks? As an added bonus when you order using the code "500px" you will also receive 25% off a 500px Awesome account. This discount is good for any rental duration and is not stackable. BorrowLenses.com rental orders ship to U.S. addresses only and accept U.S. credit cards.

Equipment

Continuous lighting and a fast aperture prime lens are used in this shoot.

Lighting and Camera Settings

I hang an average, translucent, plastic shower curtain in front of some average Christmas lights. This isn’t the first time I used a bath item as a light modifier. In this shot I fired gel-covered small flashes through a hotel shower door.

Behind the shower curtain, I place 1 Litepanel Flood and aim it over the model’s shoulder (with some directional variation for each model). I filter this with a full CTO Gel.

For my key light, I place the Kino Flo Celeb 200 DMX LED on a C-stand and aim it above and pointed down on the model at an angle. The 90 degree grid helps focus my light — otherwise it just spills out like a light bank. Depending on the position of the model, this gives me side lighting, Rembrandt lighting, and butterfly lighting. I set my temperature to around 4000k and dim and brighten to taste.

For my fill, I place 1 Litepanel Spot slightly below my model at the opposite side as my key light. I filter this with a A1/2 CTO Gel.

I wanted a dreamy and soft look for these portraits and also wanted my little Christmas lights to really spread and glow. For this effect, I used the rare Canon 50mm 1.0 lens. As a Nikon shooter who cannot shoot at these ultra-fast apertures due to mount constraints, this was a treat to use and really challenged my usual habit of shooting at the safe f/8, which is typically what I shoot at for my Chiaroscuro portraits. It also challenged the way I think about my light — even the light coming in from my window and the bare bulb hanging from the ceiling of the room were having small effects on my image.

My camera is set to ISO 100, 1/125th of a second shutter, and 1.0 aperture.

Flowers attached to light stands allow for fast and easy scenery adjustments.

Christmas lights behind a shower curtain create a cool, sparkling party effect.

Mood and Model Direction

My models are standing amongst a bunch of silk flowers that I attached to light stands so that I could easily move them up and down. I really wanted to see both my foreground and my background blurred out so I set some of the flowers very close to the camera and the rest behind the model. Further back still are my Christmas lights, all bokeh’d out to seem like far-off party lights.

I had the headpieces custom made by a local crafter and the boater hats were provided for the shoot by Goorin Brothers. The hair and makeup was done by Jessa Reanin. I recommend working with a makeup artist when possible —collaboration is great practice.

Headpieces handmade by Christy Howery. Hats provided by Goorin Brothers

Fortunately, all of my models are aware of the Great Gatsby story but if your models are not familiar with the particular era or story you are trying to convey, give them a sense of character to help them find the right body language and expression. Several of my models from the Game of Thrones shoot were unfamiliar with the show, so providing some background information helps. Magazine clippings and keeping a mirror on-hand are also helpful when giving a model direction.

I have my models each hold an item that at least tangentially fits the theme of my shoot: drinks, smokes, jewelry. This is a personal artistic choice but I also find that people love to have something in their hands so that is another excuse for using small props.

Editing

Adobe Lightroom and Nik Software are the editing programs I use. I use Lightroom mainly for broad edits, such as exposure or clarity adjustments, or for blemishes. I use Nik Software to be creative.

The RAW file in Lightroom with no edits.

EDIT 1: The RAW file is pretty much already where I want it. I increase the exposure a bit.

I increase the exposure a bit on my image.

EDIT 2: I use the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom to increase the clarity in key areas such as the straw hat (to regain some of the lost texture from overexposure), and the edge light on the cheek where there is smoke. I also added some increased saturation to the shirt to bring in more of the pink color.

Spot adjustments in Lightroom allow for editing in key spots of your image.

EDIT 3: Going right into Nik Color Efex Pro as a plugin from Lightroom, I go into the Vintage FilmEfex menu and choose film version 1. It’s much too strong for me as-is so I reduce both the film strength and the opacity. You can adjust the strength of any filter in Nik Color Efex Pro — you are not forced into marrying a super strong effect for your images. Optionally, you can use Control Points to apply the filter onto, say, the entire image except the face. Sometimes, I will use Control Points to keep a filter from applying to the eyes so that the color of the eyes stay true no matter how dramatically a filter changes the look of my image.

I like the look of the Vintage FilmEfex for this particular project.

Use control points in Nik Color Efex Pro to keep a filter from applying to certain parts of your image (or, conversely, apply the effect to only certain parts of your image).

EDIT 4: Lastly, I put an art deco frame around my collection that I made in Photoshop just to add a little extra flair. If you are into this, check out Evan Eckard’s tutorial on creating the Gatsby-esque poster effect.

Final characters set

Thanks

Thanks to Alex Huff and to BorrowLenses for sharing this tutorial. Have fun creating your own cast of characters. Let us know if you already tried Great Gatsby inspired photos, please share links in the comments below. We are excited to see your work!


     

Outstanding. Beautiful. Insanely Inspirational.

Published by Evgeny Tchebotarev · May 15th 2013

500px Portfolios - Theme Overview

500px Launches Redesigned Portfolios

We’re excited to announce that our completely redesigned Photo Portfolios are now available for all 500px members today. With 500px serving over a billion page views per month, 500px Portfolios give photographers an opportunity to get discovered and showcase their work to a large, global audience that’s passionate about the highest quality photos: the 500px community.

For the past several weeks, we’ve had over 1000 users beta testing the features and we’ve incorporated their feedback into the product. The overwhelming response is that the new Portfolio has exceeded their expectations.

We want to thank the members of our community who participated in the beta version and shared their thoughts and ideas. You helped us refine our UX and take it to the next level!

Stellar Community Reviews

"One of the first things I noticed is how beautiful it is," says photographer, author and digital media expert Scott Bourne. "I set up and customized my site effortlessly. The Portfolio redesign really makes your photos pop."

"Being able to completely personalize 500px Portfolios is an outstanding new feature,” says photographer and author Nicole S. Young. “I'm really excited about the direction 500px is headed.”

"The best just keeps getting better,” says photographer and Education Director for NAPP Matt Kloskowski. “500px's new Portfolios have taken an insanely inspirational website and made it a one-stop shop for finding, sharing and showing off beautiful photos."

New Features

The Portfolio redesign is based on three principles: It’s Easy to Use, Beautiful and Unique.

Photographers can now create a custom personal website on 500px with its own URL, tabs, pages and zero maintenance or incremental hosting fees. They can express their vision and style by:

  1. Setting up and customizing their Portfolio page in just a few minutes, seamlessly updating their photo collection as it grows.
  2. Showcasing photos in beautiful, minimal layouts with many options for sharing and interaction.
  3. Developing their own look and feel to the page design and access to additional features, such as complete CSS customization (for the brave).

We’re also increasing upload capacity for all accounts. Free accounts will now be able to upload 20 photos per week, while Plus and Awesome accounts will accept larger size of photos, up to 100Mb per file, and as always have unlimited uploads.

Over the next couple of months, we’re rolling out even more features including custom pages, full integration for Stores/ecommerce, blogs and localization.

This is the beginning of the next phase of our platform. 500px is rolling out a lot of new features over the next few months and continually working towards being the best place to get photos and photographers discovered. We have some exciting products in the pipeline.

500px Portfolios - Layout Design

Questions Answered Live

For more information about Portfolios and how photographers can get the most out of its features, take a look at the Google+ Hangout video Q&A 500px developers held with users.

Need help with new portfolios? We're here to assist, email help@500px.com.

Thank you & we hope you'll love your new portfolio!


     

Nina's clicks

Published by Diana Tula · May 14th 2013

Meet Nina and her magical clicks that take your mind off the everyday and into the realm of extraordinary. Nina takes the camera with her everywhere, photographing along the way the things that inspire her — be it some little things or memories from her travels. Warm light, blur and film-like colours of her images will leave you with an ambiance of happiness. Enjoy!

Say “Hi!” to Nina and add her to friends, just visit her 500px page, there you can see her full body of work and follow future uploads.

Our blog is a place to promote 500px photographers and their brilliant photos. Every week we want to introduce you to new and up and coming photographers, whom you may have not discovered yet. If you’d like to be featured on our blog or nominate your favourite photographer leave a comment below or email blog@500px.com.


     

New Portfolio Q&A Hangout. Today at 3pm!

Published by Alex Flint · May 14th 2013

Have New Portfolios questions?

Tune in LIVE today at 3PM EST for a Google hangout discussion with 500px. We'll be there to answer your questions about the new portfolios. Get an early start and ask your questions now on twitter, G+ and our other social networks.

To attend the hangout visit http://bit.ly/19hlYAl
     

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