The Safdies sit with PTA and Learn how to Seduce and Destroy

The Safdies participated in a round table discussion with Paul Thomas Anderson. Listen in.

The best way to learn about film and filmmaking is to listen to the people doing the work. That’s why I was so excited to see that A24 got the Safdie brothers and Paul Thomas Anderson together for a little chat after the release of Uncut Gems.

Their conversation ranges from shooting on New York Streets to Kubrick to Tarantino to Little Nicky.

It’s a wealth of information on both of their careers and experiences coming up in Hollywood.

Listen to the Safdies and PTA here!

The Safdies sit with PTA and Learn how to Seduce and Destroy

Podcasts are great ways to show a relaxed conversation between filmmakers at the top of their game. You don’t get an overly produced sense of reality, and the conversation moves forward, almost like a general meeting.

So what are some cool things we heard about and learned from this meeting between PTA and the Safdies?

Obviously, what connects these guys right now is their work with Adam Sandler.

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Photographer Captures Eerie Images of Venice Underwater

This past November, Venice experienced its worst flooding in over 50 years, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency. But while news of the flooding caused thousands to cancel their travel plans, photographer Natalia Elena Massi did the exact opposite: she packed her bags and drove to Venice.

Massi lives about 60 miles away in the city of Brescia, and she’s been a frequent visitor to Venice.

“I love Venice, and I visit it whenever I can,” she tells Bored Panda in a fascinating interview about her experience. “This time, I decided to go and photograph the city with the hope of finding it beautiful anyway.”

At its worst, the high-water mark reportedly reached 6 feet 2 inches, just two inches shy of the record set in 1966.

The prospect of capturing “such an extraordinary event” was too much to pass up, but Massi had no idea how difficult it would be to do justice to the flooding that occurred, both photographically and physically. Lighting changed constantly—from dark alleyways to flooded Piazza San Marco—and the physical exertion of trudging through water “well above your knees” left her soaked and exhausted.

However, Massi is adamant that the experience was absolutely worth it.

“The atmosphere was surreal,” she tells Bored Panda. “Even in tragedy, I found Venice more beautiful than ever. The water that threatened it made it even more fascinating.”

Here’s a selection of the photographs that she captured that day:

A big thank you to Ms. Massi for allowing us to share these images.

To see more of her work—which is usually more conceptual and surreal in character—be sure to visit her website or give her a follow on Facebook and Instagram.

(via Reddit)

Image credits: All photos by Natalia Elena Massi and used with permission.

Why Artists are Never Happy: A Candid Message for Creatives

Whether you’re a photographer, a filmmaker, a YouTuber, or a painter, this latest video by Kaiwan Shaban will probably hit home on some level. It’s an honest, candid message for artists of all stripes who struggle with the fact that they are never quite satisfied with the work they are creating.

Shaban draws liberally from his own struggles as a photographer and filmmaker to create a video that ties his personal struggle into the universal dissatisfaction experienced by many, if not all, creatives.

“I often ask myself, ‘when am I going to be fully satisfied with my work?’” narrates Shaban, “and the answer is: ‘never.’ […] Creativity is an endless arcade game, a game that has only two options: game over, or continue.”

While Shaban’s message might seem negative, the point he’s trying to make is not. His point is that the only way to find contentment in your art is to see it as a journey of growth and improvement and struggle with no destination or end-game; to share your talent freely with the world and appreciate its impact; and to surround yourself with others who are on the same creative journey.

“I guess, what I’m trying to say is,” concludes Shaban, “You are not alone.”

If you’re starting the year with a case of creative block, or you’ve been feeling down or stuck in your creative journey as a photographer, give the video up top a watch. It may not snap you out of this feeling, but it might just help you feel less alone.

(via DIY Photography)

Oppo patent shows camera module that pops out of the side of a smartphone

Smartphone manufacturers have come up with a variety of solutions to maximize the screen surface to size ration on smartphones, including hole-punch front cameras, camera notches and pop-up mechanisms of various kinds.

In a patent filing found in the CNIPA (China National Intellectual Property Administration) database Oppo is now adding a new variant: the sideways pop-out front camera.

In the reference images, we can see a motorized camera module placed on the right-hand side of the phone on roughly the same height as the rear camera. The power button is located on the same side of the phone while volume rockers and SIM-tray can be found on the left. The speaker and USB-C connectors are at the bottom.

As usual, there is no way of knowing if this idea ever makes it into an actual production device but it’s good to see manufacturers are looking into new ways of optimizing space in the thin bodies of modern smartphones.

Video: Adobe Lightroom trick makes it easy to search images for sensor spots

Professional photographer Anthony Morganti of ‘I Am Mr Photographer‘ has published a new video that shows viewers how to systematically search for sensor spots (or water droplets and other unwanted specks) in an image using Adobe Lightroom Classic. The method is very simple and relies on a few keyboard shortcuts, as Morganti explains in his video.

Using this method, Lightroom users zoom in on the image and set the zoom box to the upper left-hand side of the image. From there, Morganti simply uses his computer’s Page Down function to scan through zoomed portions of the image in columns. The video includes instructions for viewers using Mac and viewers whose keyboards lack dedicated shortcut keys, among other things.

7 Mistakes Photographers Make When Shooting Professional Headshots

Let’s face it — in-office corporate headshots will not be your most exciting project as a photographer. In fact, in many ways, they’re a photographer’s worst nightmare.

First, you don’t control the environment, and more often than not will be in less-than-ideal conditions for the shoot. Second, even with good conditions, you may get little to no time to scope the location for the shoot beforehand. And third, most corporate shoots contain a 50/50 mixture of helpfully enthusiastic and borderline miserable participants.

As a result, LinkedIn and company websites are littered with awful company headshots, leaving clients dissatisfied and photographers out-of-work. And that’s a shame, because as far as shoots go, they pay exceptionally well. And contrary to individual headshots, where your customer only needs new photos every three to four years, these clients can come back to you again and again as they hire new employees.

Despite the difficulties, these shots are worth your while, and worth getting right.

Executing classic corporate headshots will pay your bills

So, without any further ado, here are the seven biggest mistakes photographers make when taking corporate office headshots.

Mistake #1: Not scoping out the location beforehand

A quick five-minute trip by your client’s office can guarantee that you get access to the best conference room or office space for your headshots. If you don’t stop by, there’s always a risk that you won’t bring enough light blockers and/or will get stuck in a room that’s too small.

It’s worth it, 100 percent of the time, to do a quick scoping visit beforehand. Your client will appreciate the extra effort.

Mistake #2: Not sending a reminder email to participants

Your job is not to be a “photographer” — it’s to deliver an end result. You need to be doing everything in your power to facilitate a successful outcome. That means getting a list of participants and emailing or texting them the day before and the day of your shoot.

If you don’t put in this extra effort, some employees will undoubtedly show up unprepared.

Mistake #3: Not blocking light contamination

Offices are special places. Chances are, 90 percent of your client’s office locations won’t have beautiful, natural light to work with. As a result, you’ll need to bring studio lighting. However, the combination of studio lighting and iridescent office lights can make for nasty, yellow-tinged headshots.

It’s fort-building time. Creating a studio environment when you don’t have access to a windowless room.

In every studio on-site delivered, I bring a gym bag full of old mobile backdrops. When in a pinch, I’ll throw these bad boys on the windows to control light contamination. A little bit of ambient light is OK, but nothing should be directly hitting the side of your subject’s face.

When in doubt, you can also turn off all lights and push your setup into the corner of the office.

For this on-site, I turned off all lights and pushed my setup into the corner.
One of the shots taken with the above setup.

Mistake #4: Not using a grey card / white balance issues

Similar to what we discussed in Mistake #3, every office is different and requires resetting your white balance for ambient light.

While shooting in RAW will allow you to adjust the white balance at your computer later, getting natural skin tones while “eye balling” color balance is both a waste of time and likely inaccurate.

In my experience, it is extremely difficult to individually nail the white balance after you’ve been sitting at your computer editing for 4 hours straight. Your eyes lose the ability to judge colors effectively.

Your clients will absolutely notice the difference.

Mistake #5: Not coaching the subjects

Every single participant needs to receive a brief 30-second training on how to get the most out of their headshots. They need clear instructions on how the session will play out, and an explanation of some keys to success. Your photography may be perfect, but if the participant feels uncomfortable, the photos will suck.

A little coaching can go a long way to making subjects comfortable with your process.

Mistake #6: Too few photos of each subject

Too many photographers embrace the “shut up, sit down, smile, get out” headshot-factory style process, which includes three to five photos. These types of experiences are usually delivered by photographers who are under a crunch from clients who want to get a massive amount of headshots taken during a short time.

While it’s tempting to cave to a client’s original request (particularly if they’re considering other vendors at different price points), you have a duty to properly inform clients that you’ll need several photos of each employee in order to get them something the employee will like. I wouldn’t take less than 20 photos of each employee.

At a bare minimum, make sure every participant gets a couple photos from either side of their face. If they wear glasses, let them do some with and some without.

Mistake #7: Not retouching every headshot individually

Yellow teeth, acne, and stray hairs stick out like sore thumbs. Perfect professional headshots can be ruined with batch editing that doesn’t take care of teeth, hair and acne. Even if the client doesn’t want to pay for airbrushing, I’d still offer this service for free.

You don’t want your brand associated with any bad photos, ever. Period.

That’s a wrap! If you fix these top seven mistakes mistakes when taking office headshots, you’ll be way ahead of 90% of other photographers. If you have any questions or just want general advice, feel free to email me at

About the author: Dan St Louis is owner and head photographer at HeadShots Inc, a San Francisco-based photo studio focused exclusively on professional headshots for individuals and companies. When he’s not taking business headshots, he’s likely surfing or playing the latest video game. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.

OnePlus Teases Concept Smartphone with Rear Cameras that ‘Disappear’

OnePlus has something pretty cool in store for CES. It’s called the Concept One smartphone, and it features a rear camera assembly that “magically” disappears behind a sheet of electromagnetically controlled variable tinted glass.

OnePlus revealed this neat (and potentially useful?) feature in a teaser tweet published earlier today:

“We’re bringing the #OnePlusConceptOne to #CES2020, but you don’t have to wait,” reads the tweet. “You can get a sneak peek at it right here, along with its groundbreaking ‘invisible camera’ and color-shifting glass technology.”

According to WIRED, who got an early sneak peek at the Concept One, the effect is created by a sheet of electromagnetic glass that covers the cameras. Unfortunately, it’s also described as “anticlimactic” in person.

For our part, we have our fingers crossed that the tech might someday be used as an electronically controlled variable ND for smartphone photographers; a built-in variable ND on a smartphone would make this a lot more “climactic” in our opinion. Of course, that’s just wishful thinking at this point.

Check out the tweet above to see the effect in action.

(via The Verge)

How to Adapt Industrial Lenses for Extreme Macro Photography

If you ever visited some industrial surplus shops, very often you would see some cameras and lenses used in industrial automation. What you probably do not know is that these lenses can have very high optical performance and features we want: high resolving power, large image circle, low distortion, and often very long working distance compared to some of other lenses we use.

There are other lenses, but the best lenses are the so called line scan lenses. These line scan lenses often have very high resolving power that can match or beat a microscope objective.

Here is a lens that I ran into and bought it after checking scratches, molds, etc. I was told that it is a 12K line scan lens. After some googling, I found its specs here. So, it looks like it has 7um resolving power, over 118mm working distance, and image circle of 86mm.

With spec sheet like that, though at around 1.25x, it can beat some of the best objectives like this Mitutoyo 1x objective (though Mitutoyo 1x is APO) that boasts a resolving power of 11um, working distance of 11mm, etc.

Here are some of images taken with this lens.

The Setup

The setup shown above consists of a subject platform with 3 degrees of freedom (roll, pitch, yaw) and a platform with one degree of freedom (forward and backward). All of these 4 degrees of freedom are required to allow for fine alignments before taking an image.

This is how the lens is setup: Lens, M44x1-to-M52x0.75 lens, M42-to-M52 filter adapter, M42-to-Nikon AI, 3 segments of 28mm AI extension tubes and, finally, NEX-to-AI adapter so that a Sony a7 III can be mounted.
Image shot with the setup above. Note the vignetting pointed out by the arrow (though it happens in all 4 corners); this is caused by tubing, not by the lens. The lens can produce an image circle of 86mm

The image above looks very sharp (though I wish the printing on it can be sharper). If you look at the large square grid, there is very little distortion. The 1 deg and 2 deg pattern at the left and right corner are sharp, too, indicating good corner to corner coverage.

Making It Telecentric

One of my goals for this setup was to make it telecentric and, after playing with it for a bit, I finally got it very close to telecentric by adding a spacer and an aperture assembly. The spacer is about 32mm long, and sits between the back of the ProOptics lens and the aperture assembly.

Important note: depending on your aperture assembly and how you adapted your lens, this distance might be different.

Final result is very encouraging, yielding about 0.026% scaling factor between each image. The best part of this configuration is that you can remove or add additional extension tubes behind the aperture assembly without affecting telecentricity!

Making it telecentric by adding some spacer and an aperture assembly. Correction: the measurement in the picture should read M44x1 to M52x0.75. It is a custom made piece.

After making it telecentric, this is one of the resulting images. This was stacked from 151 images for a 12mm deep stack.

Scale from first to the last is about 1.045, so the scaling factor for between adjacent images is about 0.03%—a bit more than 0.02% for ideal measurement, but good enough. Without this telecentric modification, it is 0.052%.

Image Gallery

100% crop of another image
This is a small part of peacock feather, the bottom part usually looks “fluffy” but under this lens, each fiber looks pretty stiff.

100% crop of above image


Next time you visit an industrial surplus shop, if you see this kind of lens—particularly a “cheap” line scan lens—grab it!

About the author: Peter Y Lin is an extreme macro photographer and electronics enthusiast who often merges these twin passions to create beautiful imagery. You can find out more about Peter and see more of his work on his website. This article was also published here.