Malia Campbell Photography

Seattle Real Estate Photography by Malia Campbell

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Recording audio with the iPhone

If you watched my Agent Testimonial video from the previous post you may have noticed that I wasn’t using super duper fancy audio recording equipment. I wasn’t even using mediocre equipment. In fact, all audio was recorded using the built in microphone on the Canon 5D Mark2. Now don’t get me wrong, the 5D2 is an amazing camera for both still photography and video. The audio recording, however, is lacking. The voices are tinny and the ambient noise in the room was difficult to remove (although I did manage to get rid of about 90% of it using a combination of techniques in Final Cut Express 4 and iMovie ’11).

After lots and lots and lots of research I stumbled across a technique that intrigued me.  It was suggested to record the audio with the Voice Memo feature on your iPhone and then lay the track (Voice Memo) in afterward.  Recording audio on an external device and then laying the audio in manually is a pretty popular technique but it was the iPhone detail that excited me (you guys all know by now that I love DIY and “alternate method” technology!).  I wasn’t sure how great the sound would be from the iPhone but I figured it had to be better than the 5d2.  What do you think?

Note: the iPhone was recording while in Scott’s hand, on the couch.

Do you have tips or tricks that you use when recording videos? Share them in the comments!

Written by Malia Campbell Photography

February 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Reviews, Video

Gear: Lightstands

The discontinued Slik SDV-20

If you’re shooting interiors with speedlites I probably don’t need to tell you how awesome the Slik SDV-20s (pictured left) are.  If you’re not familiar with this tripod (used as a lightstand) or why it’s perfect for shooting interiors read this.  There’s a small problem with the SDV-20, though – they’re no longer in production.  If you can luck yourself into a used one on eBay or Craigslist it’s totally worth it.  Since I’m neither patient nor tenacious enough to try and track down a used SDV-20 I did some research and found a really good alternative.

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Written by Malia Campbell Photography

December 30, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Posted in How To, Reviews

In my (software) “toolbox”

With the glut of products available to digital photographers it can be overwhelming determining what to spend your money on.  Which programs are necessary and which are just nice to have?  Which programs are worth the money?  Which are worth the free download?

I don’t claim to know every product out there but here’s a list of what I use.

Written by Malia Campbell Photography

July 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Posted in Reviews, Words

Exporting photos: Lightroom or Bridge?

Several months ago I made the transition from a PC to a Mac. Switching platforms was easier than I expected (thankfully) but one thing I hadn’t anticipated was the change it caused in my workflow. Some things, bad habits mostly, that I was able to do easily on my PC weren’t possible on a Mac.

One change to my workflow has been how I export files for delivery to clients. On my PC I had an action set up in Photoshop to resize, sharpen and save images as .jpgs. For some reason I’m having difficulties with creating actions on the Mac (sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t) and even more bizarre, I’m unable to save a .tif as a .jpg.

Partly because of this and partly because of my new archiving system (The DAM Book has changed my life!) I started using Lightroom for exporting files. It was quick, I could save my settings for each resolution batch and it auto sharpened for web or print, which I liked.

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Written by Malia Campbell Photography

February 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Posted in Reviews, Words

Photomatix vs Enfuse

There are two popular programs to create HDR and Exposure Blend images: Photomatix and Enfuse. I’ve always been a Photomatix girl – I just prefer the user interface and the simplicity of the program over Enfuse.

I recently acquired a new computer (that’s a whole other post) and decided to download the Enfuse plug-in for Lightroom, just to see. I can’t say I’m an expert at Enfuse (or Photomatix for that matter) but thought I’d post a comparison between images for you.

For the test,to make it a more honest comparison, I spent only ten minutes on each image.  Each image was composed of three bracketed images +/- 2 stops.



My thoughts after the jump

Written by Malia Campbell Photography

January 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Posted in Reviews

Cool lighting app

A cool little app for your iPhone to document your lighting setups.

I just downloaded this but haven’t used it yet. As soon as I do I’ll post a review here. If you have experience with this app I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Edit: Just tried the app out.

Clamshell, Rim light, Hair light

My thoughts after the jump

Written by Malia Campbell Photography

December 16, 2009 at 7:54 am

Review: Wacom Intuos4

With HDR photography, real estate or otherwise, there tends to be a lot of post processing involved. I’m still pretty new to all of this (read: slow) so a typical house takes me about 20 minutes to shoot but up to two(ish) hours to post process. Photos that I want to use in my portfolio, however, take much longer. Much. Longer.  This swimming pool shot, for example, took me a little over two hours to process.  After that amount of time, working with a mouse, my wrists are sore and my hand is cramped into a painful mouse-claw.

I’ve worked with borrowed tablets before with great enthusiam before finally purchasing a Wacom Graphire Bluetooth tablet.  I really like the idea of a wireless tablet but in reality this tablet is not ideal for any kind of photo processing.  The Bluetooth connection has a delay which makes any detail work impossible.  After much thought I’ve concluded that the only thing this tablet can be used for is writing and even that would take a tremendous amount of effort to acclimate to.

That tablet was returned almost immediately and I went back to the mouse-claw with (not so) secret fantasies of the WacomIntuos3 tablet. This is the borrowed tablet I’d worked with in the past and, though tethered by a USB cable, I loved it. Around this time, though, I noticed a discussion in the PFRE group about tablets and there was mention of the Wacom Bamboo tablet, which can be purchased for around $100.  Shortly after this the Intuos4 tablet was released so I had a decision to make.  Do I get the bare bones, cheaper model and save a few bucks or do I invest in something a little nicer, a little sturdier and a little more expensive?

I had been working with another Seattle-based photographer who uses the Bamboo tablet and saw it in action and decided that if it was good enough for him, it would be good enough for me.  The $200 price difference could fund a batch of postcards or an upgrade in my website.

I headed down to Fry’s Electronics and discovered that they did not have the Bamboo tablet at the price they advertised but they had the Intuos4 at a price that I could swallow.  So with that super long introduction here are my thoughts on the Intuos4 tablet:

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Written by Malia Campbell Photography

October 27, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Posted in Reviews