In this tutorial, you will learn an easy and effective way to work on audio from your video projects using digital audio workstation software. You will also learn about the powerful ‘reconform’ feature that will allow you to easily integrate changes after you have started editing and mixing the audio.

This tutorial uses Reaper and Vordio. Reaper is an inexpensive but powerful audio post-production program with a long track record in the music industry. Vordio is a workflow tool that converts your NLE's proprietary editing format to one that Reaper and other audio programs can understand. Crucially, it also let's you reconform the audio to incorporate changes made to the video edit.

The workflow described here has many benefits: it removes the need for a picture lock (meaning video and audio editors can work on a project at the same time), creates many editing efficiency gains and, potentially, save you lots of time and money.

How to Unleash the DAWsome Power of Reaper on Your Video Projects

Most non-linear video editing programs (or NLEs) include basic audio editing capabilities. Sometimes, however, you need more oomph in your audio toolkit. That’s where digital audio workstations (DAWs) come in. Unfortunately, moving your project between your NLE and your DAW isn't always as straightforward as it should be.

Using a DAW, you can edit and mix your audio more efficiently. When you have a video that has multiple dialogue tracks, sound effects and music tracks, things can get far too complicated for an NLE. Other times, you might find that the editing workflow is faster with a DAW, or that the mixing tools are more effective. Some otherwise terrific NLEs, such as Lightworks and DaVinci Resolve, have next to no features for working with audio, so processing the audio in a DAW is essential.

An XML project file is a special file that lets all kinds of programs interact with your audio and video edit. In principle, an XML file works by describing the structure of the audio regions in a way that's universally readable. In practice, DAWs have a hard time making sense of the many different standards and implementations of these exchange formats. Most software companies prefer you stay inside their ecosystem—Adobe Premier with Audition, Avid Media Composer with Pro Tools, Final Cut and Logic—so they don't tend to make complete interchangeability a priority.

However, with the increasing sophistication of low-cost alternative NLEs, like Lightworks and Resolve, there's more and more opportunity to step out of a dependency on expensive software packages. Combine either of these NLEs with Reaper and you have a reliable, pro-grade suite of audio and video post-production tools for very little cost.

Vordio workflow diagram

What You Need

To follow this lesson you will need to use an NLE supported by Vordio: Adobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, Editshare Lightworks, or Final Cut Pro 6, 7 and X.

Then you will need a copy of Reaper, which has an unlimited free trial and a very reasonable set of license options (ranging from $60 to $225).

You will also need Vordio, which is free to try and £40 to license.

Lastly, you'll need to set up Vordio to work with the free FFmpeg tool library. Install and open Vordio, then head to the Settings tab. If you don't already have FFmpeg installed, download and install the free tools. Locate FFmpeg and connect the two using the Browse button in Vordio.

1. Create Your XML Project File

In your NLE, open the video project that you want to transfer to Reaper and find the option to Export an XML file. Create a new folder and save the file to this directory.

Exporting an XML file
Exporting an XML file

2. Convert Your XML File to a Reaper Project

Open Vordio and go to the Convert XML tab. Click Browse and locate your XML file.

Converting the XML file
Converting the XML file

Hit Convert and wait. A new folder will be created in the same directory as your XML file. This folder now contains the Reaper project (with the .RPP file type).

If you, or an audio engineer you work with, use another DAW you can also convert your project to OpenTL. This format works with a number of other DAWs, like StudioOne and Logic.

3. Open The Reaper Project

Locate and Open the Reaper Project File

Navigate to the directory and find the Reaper project file. Double click to open the project in Reaper.

Locating the new Reaper project
Locating the new Reaper project

Check The Automatic Organization

Another great feature of Vordio is that it automatically categorises and organizes your audio files.

Checking the project
Checking the project 

Check that everything is correct. Click the dropdown arrows on the channel folders to view or hide the audio channel stacks.

Collapsing a channel folder
Collapsing a channel folder

Open The Video Window

If you can’t see the video, you can re-open the window by going to View and then View Window.

Opening the video window
Opening the video window

4. Make it Sound Fantastic

Alright! Now you have your video project open in Reaper: time to get to work on reducing background noise or sweetening the sound with EQ and compression.

5. Reconform Your Video and Audio

Vordio's reconform features allows video and sound editors to work in parallel. You can adjust the edit in your NLE, then use Vordio to update the audio edit in Reaper, whilst maintaining any audio processing already applied. The process is non-destructive and maintains fades, effects, automation changes and more.

This means that the audio editor or mixer can start working on the project right away, even if the final cut has not yet been decided. If any scenes are added, removed or adjusted by the director and video editor, these changes can easily be imported into the Reaper project without affecting any work the audio engineer has already done. The Reaper project is automatically adjusted to match the new edit, and any changes are colour coded so the audio engineer can easily see how the project has been affected.

Export a New XML File From the NLE

If you have made changes to the video edit, the first step is to open the project in your NLE and Export a new XML file.

Reconform

Once you have both the new XML file and the most recent Reaper project file, open Vordio and head to the Reconform tab. Using the Browse buttons, point Vordio to your files. Under Revised XML, locate the new video XML file you just created. Under Original RPP, select the current Reaper project. Press Start, then Finish.

Using the reaconform function in Vordio
Using the reaconform function in Vordio

Open Your Updated Project

A new Reaper project will be created in the same directory. Open it, and check that the changes have been applied.

The new Reaper project
The new Reaper project

You can see here that region colours have been added to indicate the changes that have been made:

  • Blue: no change
  • Green: Audio moved, duration unchanged
  • Yellow: Audio edge modified (duration changed)
  • Orange: Audio is new
  • Purple: Audio ‘locked’ to other reconformed audio moved
  • Red: Audio can’t be re-conformed because it doesn’t exist in new edit

You can reconform a project as many times as you like. Always select the most recent Reaper project when you want to reconform again. 

Conclusion

Let's recap the NLE-Vordio-Reaper workflow: export an XML exchange file from your NLE, convert with Vordio to .RPP, open and work in Reaper, reconform as needed.

In short, Vordio lets your editing team to work with a lot more fluidity. Rather than making your audio engineer wait until a picture lock has been made, they can get to work straight away and start editing the audio even if you haven't yet decided on a final cut. Using Vordio, you can easily move between your NLE and Reaper, or send Reaper projects to a sound technician for editing. This will be particularly useful for larger projects where you have multiple channels of audio, or when you need to use the powerful plugins inside Reaper.


All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoRob Mayzes

In this tutorial, you will learn an easy and effective way to work on audio from your video projects using digital audio workstation software. You will also learn about the powerful ‘reconform’ feature that will allow you to easily integrate changes after you have started editing and mixing the audio.

This tutorial uses Reaper and Vordio. Reaper is an inexpensive but powerful audio post-production program with a long track record in the music industry. Vordio is a workflow tool that converts your NLE's proprietary editing format to one that Reaper and other audio programs can understand. Crucially, it also let's you reconform the audio to incorporate changes made to the video edit.

The workflow described here has many benefits: it removes the need for a picture lock (meaning video and audio editors can work on a project at the same time), creates many editing efficiency gains and, potentially, save you lots of time and money.

How to Unleash the DAWsome Power of Reaper on Your Video Projects

Most non-linear video editing programs (or NLEs) include basic audio editing capabilities. Sometimes, however, you need more oomph in your audio toolkit. That’s where digital audio workstations (DAWs) come in. Unfortunately, moving your project between your NLE and your DAW isn't always as straightforward as it should be.

Using a DAW, you can edit and mix your audio more efficiently. When you have a video that has multiple dialogue tracks, sound effects and music tracks, things can get far too complicated for an NLE. Other times, you might find that the editing workflow is faster with a DAW, or that the mixing tools are more effective. Some otherwise terrific NLEs, such as Lightworks and DaVinci Resolve, have next to no features for working with audio, so processing the audio in a DAW is essential.

An XML project file is a special file that lets all kinds of programs interact with your audio and video edit. In principle, an XML file works by describing the structure of the audio regions in a way that's universally readable. In practice, DAWs have a hard time making sense of the many different standards and implementations of these exchange formats. Most software companies prefer you stay inside their ecosystem—Adobe Premier with Audition, Avid Media Composer with Pro Tools, Final Cut and Logic—so they don't tend to make complete interchangeability a priority.

However, with the increasing sophistication of low-cost alternative NLEs, like Lightworks and Resolve, there's more and more opportunity to step out of a dependency on expensive software packages. Combine either of these NLEs with Reaper and you have a reliable, pro-grade suite of audio and video post-production tools for very little cost.

Vordio workflow diagram

What You Need

To follow this lesson you will need to use an NLE supported by Vordio: Adobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, Editshare Lightworks, or Final Cut Pro 6, 7 and X.

Then you will need a copy of Reaper, which has an unlimited free trial and a very reasonable set of license options (ranging from $60 to $225).

You will also need Vordio, which is free to try and £40 to license.

Lastly, you'll need to set up Vordio to work with the free FFmpeg tool library. Install and open Vordio, then head to the Settings tab. If you don't already have FFmpeg installed, download and install the free tools. Locate FFmpeg and connect the two using the Browse button in Vordio.

1. Create Your XML Project File

In your NLE, open the video project that you want to transfer to Reaper and find the option to Export an XML file. Create a new folder and save the file to this directory.

Exporting an XML file
Exporting an XML file

2. Convert Your XML File to a Reaper Project

Open Vordio and go to the Convert XML tab. Click Browse and locate your XML file.

Converting the XML file
Converting the XML file

Hit Convert and wait. A new folder will be created in the same directory as your XML file. This folder now contains the Reaper project (with the .RPP file type).

If you, or an audio engineer you work with, use another DAW you can also convert your project to OpenTL. This format works with a number of other DAWs, like StudioOne and Logic.

3. Open The Reaper Project

Locate and Open the Reaper Project File

Navigate to the directory and find the Reaper project file. Double click to open the project in Reaper.

Locating the new Reaper project
Locating the new Reaper project

Check The Automatic Organization

Another great feature of Vordio is that it automatically categorises and organizes your audio files.

Checking the project
Checking the project 

Check that everything is correct. Click the dropdown arrows on the channel folders to view or hide the audio channel stacks.

Collapsing a channel folder
Collapsing a channel folder

Open The Video Window

If you can’t see the video, you can re-open the window by going to View and then View Window.

Opening the video window
Opening the video window

4. Make it Sound Fantastic

Alright! Now you have your video project open in Reaper: time to get to work on reducing background noise or sweetening the sound with EQ and compression.

5. Reconform Your Video and Audio

Vordio's reconform features allows video and sound editors to work in parallel. You can adjust the edit in your NLE, then use Vordio to update the audio edit in Reaper, whilst maintaining any audio processing already applied. The process is non-destructive and maintains fades, effects, automation changes and more.

This means that the audio editor or mixer can start working on the project right away, even if the final cut has not yet been decided. If any scenes are added, removed or adjusted by the director and video editor, these changes can easily be imported into the Reaper project without affecting any work the audio engineer has already done. The Reaper project is automatically adjusted to match the new edit, and any changes are colour coded so the audio engineer can easily see how the project has been affected.

Export a New XML File From the NLE

If you have made changes to the video edit, the first step is to open the project in your NLE and Export a new XML file.

Reconform

Once you have both the new XML file and the most recent Reaper project file, open Vordio and head to the Reconform tab. Using the Browse buttons, point Vordio to your files. Under Revised XML, locate the new video XML file you just created. Under Original RPP, select the current Reaper project. Press Start, then Finish.

Using the reaconform function in Vordio
Using the reaconform function in Vordio

Open Your Updated Project

A new Reaper project will be created in the same directory. Open it, and check that the changes have been applied.

The new Reaper project
The new Reaper project

You can see here that region colours have been added to indicate the changes that have been made:

  • Blue: no change
  • Green: Audio moved, duration unchanged
  • Yellow: Audio edge modified (duration changed)
  • Orange: Audio is new
  • Purple: Audio ‘locked’ to other reconformed audio moved
  • Red: Audio can’t be re-conformed because it doesn’t exist in new edit

You can reconform a project as many times as you like. Always select the most recent Reaper project when you want to reconform again. 

Conclusion

Let's recap the NLE-Vordio-Reaper workflow: export an XML exchange file from your NLE, convert with Vordio to .RPP, open and work in Reaper, reconform as needed.

In short, Vordio lets your editing team to work with a lot more fluidity. Rather than making your audio engineer wait until a picture lock has been made, they can get to work straight away and start editing the audio even if you haven't yet decided on a final cut. Using Vordio, you can easily move between your NLE and Reaper, or send Reaper projects to a sound technician for editing. This will be particularly useful for larger projects where you have multiple channels of audio, or when you need to use the powerful plugins inside Reaper.


All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoRob Mayzes

course on Getting Started in Commercial PhotographyScreenshot from course on Getting Started in Commercial Photography

The key to success as a commercial photographer is to find your niche and become known for a certain style or specialty. 

In this short video from my course on Getting Started in Commercial Photography, I'll show you how to define a niche for your business by building a creative commercial identity.

Watch the Tutorial

Watch the Full Course

Getting your first paying job in the world of commercial photography is not so hard. If your friends and family know you're into photography, there's a good chance someone has asked you to take pictures for them. The real challenge is making the leap from your first few photography gigs into a regular healthy income. 

In the full course, Getting Started in Commercial Photography, you'll learn everything you need to start your commercial photography business—and keep it going.

And if you're looking for a way to showcase your work, check out this popular Responsive Photography Theme on Envato Market.

Responsive Photography Theme on Envato Market

All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoBen Lucas

course on Getting Started in Commercial PhotographyScreenshot from course on Getting Started in Commercial Photography

The key to success as a commercial photographer is to find your niche and become known for a certain style or specialty. 

In this short video from my course on Getting Started in Commercial Photography, I'll show you how to define a niche for your business by building a creative commercial identity.

Watch the Tutorial

Watch the Full Course

Getting your first paying job in the world of commercial photography is not so hard. If your friends and family know you're into photography, there's a good chance someone has asked you to take pictures for them. The real challenge is making the leap from your first few photography gigs into a regular healthy income. 

In the full course, Getting Started in Commercial Photography, you'll learn everything you need to start your commercial photography business—and keep it going.

And if you're looking for a way to showcase your work, check out this popular Responsive Photography Theme on Envato Market.

Responsive Photography Theme on Envato Market

All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoBen Lucas

Whether it’s on holiday or as a vocation, the opportunity to take great pictures while you’re away from home is too good miss. It can be hard to know how much gear to take with you, how to use your time wisely and how to get the best possible shots you can. Here, we’ll go through some of our top travel photography tips to get you ready to pack your bags and head out on your next adventure.

What You Need

The Kit

You really have to know what you want in order to know what kit to take. If you’re road tripping, then great, you can take more equipment with you; but if you’re backpacking or doing a lot of walking around then chances are you won’t have the bag space, or energy, to lug around everything.

A Good Walk-Around Lens 

A good ‘walk-around’ lens is key. What I mean by that, is a lens that will give you a decent focal range in order to capture most eventualities. I recently bought a 24-85mm because I was sick of switching out lenses and missing opportunities while I was on holiday, not to mention the weight of carrying several lenses around hot cities.

The 24-85mm is a perfect traveler because the wide-angle end of the range is great for landscapes and impressive architecture shots and the longer, short-telephoto end is good to grab stuff that isn’t right in front of you, and also any street photos you might want. There are many versions of the 24-85mm about. While in general wider apertures are best, they also mean lugging about a lot more glass, so for traveling lenses with smaller maximum apertures (around f/4) are worth considering.

If you were going on a holiday where there was a lot of wildlife, this probably wouldn’t be the lens for you; or at the very least, you’d need a long zoom as an alternative.

If you don’t have a particular lens that you think you might need, consider renting one. Long zoom lenses in particular can be very expensive so if you’re only going to need it for the duration of your trip, it can be much more cost effective to rent rather than buy.

A Filter or Two

Filters give you added opportunities with your chosen lenses. I find a polariser is particularly useful as it dulls a bright sky or water, lessens reflections on buildings and also can be used to give you added scope for a long exposure if you’ve not got a neutral density filter handy.

Added to these benefits, filters protect the end of your lens. When you’re shooting on holiday or while travelling, you can constantly be snapping away and as a result, not replace your lens cap each time. This increases the chances of your glass being knocked and damaged and a filter is a much cheaper thing to replace than your lens!

Spares

A spare memory card and battery are essential. You don’t want to miss out on pictures of somewhere you may never go back to just because you've run out of storage or power. Even if you take your charger with you (which I recommend), still have a spare battery and keep it in your bag with you when you’re out and about.

A Safe and Secure Bag

If you’re flying, always take your camera and lenses through in your hand luggage. Even then, though, it should be in a padded bag to protect it from being knocked around in transit.

Ideally, have a bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag but still has the same padding and security. If you’re walking around with hundreds or even thousands of pounds worth of kit then I always think it’s best if it doesn’t look like it.

Make sure your bag is comfortable, preferably one that goes on your back like a rucksack to distribute the weight evenly. Often, shoulder strap bags can cause aches and discomfort during long periods of carrying them.

Good camera bags have a waterproof pull-out section to protect your bag from the rain. Make sure your bag has some protection or at least is water resistant to keep your camera dry until you get out of the rain.


A Non-Descript Camera Strap

This isn’t essential but I do think it’s a useful tip. Camera straps for more expensive cameras tend to say on them exactly what they are and that’s a walking advert for anyone in the know. A thief may be more likely to risk being caught to steal something they know is worth £2000 than something that could be worth a couple of hundred.

Insurance

This is the most important aspect of travel: make sure you’re insured. Normal holiday insurance generally won’t cover something as expensive as a DSLR. In fact, most standard policies in the UK will limit you to claiming £200 max per item, so check your policy to see how much you’re covered for.

You don’t necessarily have to take out separate insurance just for travel. If you have photographers’ insurance, this generally will cover you when you travel, or at the very least can be added to quite cheaply. Same with your home insurance policy and even your car’s insurance policy, so it’s always worth checking.

Inspiration

Rio De Janeiro From the Sky

Rio De Janeiro Brazil
Image: Photodune

Getting up high is a great way to capture the stunning beauty of a place. Unless there’s an easy way up, many regular tourists overlook stunning heights as they’re not willing to make the walk.

Bungalows on a Lake

bungalows
Image: Photodune

This scene contrasts a small piece of everyday life with nature. Keeping the bungalows to the lower third really shows how, here, the trees dominate the landscape.

Balloons at Sunrise

balloons at sunrise
Image: Photodune

This is a great example of how the time of day can make a photograph. Being at a vantage point at dawn can reap its own rewards, often appearing to show ‘layers’ of a place punctuated by early morning mist.

Market Day

market day
Image: Photodune

Portraits of people in their natural environment really help to tell a story of a place. If you think someone may be uncomfortable at having had their photograph taken, it may help to explain what you were doing, show them the photograph and even offer to send it to them if they have an email address.

Parasols by the Shore

Orange parasols at the sea
Image: Photodune

The colour contrast here is lovely but it’s the timing that’s really the key to this being a great photograph. How often do you see a beach nearly empty on holiday? The overcast sky has created a great opportunity that the photographer has really used to their advantage.

Technique

Have a Plan

You may have limited time in a new place, so make the most of it by planning ahead. Do research before you travel and note down any particular places you want to go, how to get there and how much it will cost. This will save you a lot of time and effort later.

Googling a landmark now includes a really useful section about how busy the place is at a particular time. This can save you hours of queueing or waiting for things to quiet off so again, this is something to make a note of.

Grab a map as soon as you get to your destination in case plans change or you find yourself lost. In developed cities, most cafes and bars have free wi-fi so you can make use of this to add to your plans or double check arrangements.

Get Off the Beaten Path

Try and make your own plans as and when you can, rather than joining tourist groups or planned excursions. There are a lot of reasons for this:

  1. It will cost you less to do it on your own. Tour operators hike up the price because most people like the ease of someone else organising it for them. Fair enough! I was recently in Amsterdam and saw an organised trip to Zaanse Schans for 60 Euros per person. We were already planning to go on our own the next day. It cost us ten Euros to get the train there and back and four Euros to get into one of the windmills. That’s a saving of 46 Euros per person.
  2. You can avoid the crowds. I visited a Colosseum a couple of years back where only a handful of other people were looking around. As I left, a coach load of tourists arrived: perfect timing.
  3. You may surprise yourself. Getting off the beaten path can lead to some lovely discoveries. Moving away from the tourist drag and into the local heart of an area can be the most rewarding parts of a trip.
  4. The food will likely be better and cheaper. Seeking out tasty places to eat away from the main attractions is a great alternative way to see and learn about a place you're visiting.

Make Time

Rushing something rarely produces great results. Give yourself time to properly photograph the places, things and people you see. There’ll always be more we wish we could have done. It's better to do a few things very well than everything badly!

It may be that you want to visit somewhere twice because the lighting wasn’t right the first time. Give yourself spare time in your schedule if you can. That way, if something is taking longer than you thought or you want to spend more time somewhere, it won’t come at the expense of something else you really wanted to do.

Tell a Story

Every place you visit has a story and you have the opportunity to tell it through your eyes, via your photographs. Think about what makes this particular place unique or special. Engage with the locals and be open and polite about what you’re doing.

It can be hard to communicate your intentions if you don’t speak the language, but learning a simple ‘hello’ can be enough to bridge a gap and show that you’re respectful enough to at least try. Make eye contact, smile and be willing to explain what it is you’re doing if asked.

Potential Problems

Don’t be so worried about getting the perfect pictures that you forget to enjoy your holiday. It’s okay to put the camera down now and then and engage with your surroundings. You don’t want to arrive home from the trip of a lifetime and find that you saw most of it through a lens. Your pictures should be a reminder of the amazing time you had, not the only things you can remember from the place!

Over-editing when you get home can be a problem too. Too many adjustments can leave an image looking overdone, so knowing when to stop is a real skill. Working on non-destructive layers and saving your progress as an editable file like a PSD in Photoshop means that if you make a mistake or you have your image printed and it doesn’t look great, you can go back and work on your picture without starting from scratch.

Top Tips to Getting Great Travel Shots

  1. Don’t pack for every eventuality, think carefully about what you really need.
  2. Be insured. A standard travel policy is often not enough to cover even a moderately priced DSLR.
  3. Tone down your camera bag and strap so you don’t become a walking advert for expensive camera gear.
  4. Go off the beaten track and avoid tourist traps to get the best experiences and more unique images.
  5. Tell a story. Engage with the locals and be open and friendly; really try to capture what makes a place.

Further Resources

Final Thoughts

Travel is exciting and the chance to get some amazing photographs makes it all the more appealing. Remember, don’t overload yourself with kit. If you take something to cover every eventuality then you’ll end up sore and tired. Think carefully about what you’ll really need, and if there’s something you don’t have then consider a rental for the duration of the holiday, rather than buying.

Travelling with a wealth of equipment also potentially makes you a bigger target for theft so try to get a bag and camera strap that doesn’t advertise your expensive kit. It’s also wise to be insured, a standard travel policy won’t usually cover large items, but check your home and car insurance; they might.

Plan well and thoroughly. This doesn’t mean that you can’t deviate from what you have if the opportunity rises, but it will potentially save you time, stress and money if you know what you want to do and where you want to be, before you travel. It also has the benefit of helping you avoid busy times at popular locations.

Don’t be afraid to make your own plans and decisions rather than doing what a tourist typically does, it could save you money and give you a much richer experience.

Be open and friendly to locals and make an effort with the language, even if it’s just a few words they’ll really appreciate you trying and are much more likely to help you out, show you the sites people don’t always see and again, add to the richness and authenticity of your experience in their country.

Think about what story you want to tell with your images; capture details and highlight the important parts of the culture you experience.

Above all, it’s important to actually experience the moment as well as capture it. We can get all too caught up in getting the perfect shot but that’s only a small part of it so remember to occasionally put the camera to one side and enjoy where you are.

All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoMarie Gardiner

Whether it’s on holiday or as a vocation, the opportunity to take great pictures while you’re away from home is too good miss. It can be hard to know how much gear to take with you, how to use your time wisely and how to get the best possible shots you can. Here, we’ll go through some of our top travel photography tips to get you ready to pack your bags and head out on your next adventure.

What You Need

The Kit

You really have to know what you want in order to know what kit to take. If you’re road tripping, then great, you can take more equipment with you; but if you’re backpacking or doing a lot of walking around then chances are you won’t have the bag space, or energy, to lug around everything.

A Good Walk-Around Lens 

A good ‘walk-around’ lens is key. What I mean by that, is a lens that will give you a decent focal range in order to capture most eventualities. I recently bought a 24-85mm because I was sick of switching out lenses and missing opportunities while I was on holiday, not to mention the weight of carrying several lenses around hot cities.

The 24-85mm is a perfect traveler because the wide-angle end of the range is great for landscapes and impressive architecture shots and the longer, short-telephoto end is good to grab stuff that isn’t right in front of you, and also any street photos you might want. There are many versions of the 24-85mm about. While in general wider apertures are best, they also mean lugging about a lot more glass, so for traveling lenses with smaller maximum apertures (around f/4) are worth considering.

If you were going on a holiday where there was a lot of wildlife, this probably wouldn’t be the lens for you; or at the very least, you’d need a long zoom as an alternative.

If you don’t have a particular lens that you think you might need, consider renting one. Long zoom lenses in particular can be very expensive so if you’re only going to need it for the duration of your trip, it can be much more cost effective to rent rather than buy.

A Filter or Two

Filters give you added opportunities with your chosen lenses. I find a polariser is particularly useful as it dulls a bright sky or water, lessens reflections on buildings and also can be used to give you added scope for a long exposure if you’ve not got a neutral density filter handy.

Added to these benefits, filters protect the end of your lens. When you’re shooting on holiday or while travelling, you can constantly be snapping away and as a result, not replace your lens cap each time. This increases the chances of your glass being knocked and damaged and a filter is a much cheaper thing to replace than your lens!

Spares

A spare memory card and battery are essential. You don’t want to miss out on pictures of somewhere you may never go back to just because you've run out of storage or power. Even if you take your charger with you (which I recommend), still have a spare battery and keep it in your bag with you when you’re out and about.

A Safe and Secure Bag

If you’re flying, always take your camera and lenses through in your hand luggage. Even then, though, it should be in a padded bag to protect it from being knocked around in transit.

Ideally, have a bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag but still has the same padding and security. If you’re walking around with hundreds or even thousands of pounds worth of kit then I always think it’s best if it doesn’t look like it.

Make sure your bag is comfortable, preferably one that goes on your back like a rucksack to distribute the weight evenly. Often, shoulder strap bags can cause aches and discomfort during long periods of carrying them.

Good camera bags have a waterproof pull-out section to protect your bag from the rain. Make sure your bag has some protection or at least is water resistant to keep your camera dry until you get out of the rain.


A Non-Descript Camera Strap

This isn’t essential but I do think it’s a useful tip. Camera straps for more expensive cameras tend to say on them exactly what they are and that’s a walking advert for anyone in the know. A thief may be more likely to risk being caught to steal something they know is worth £2000 than something that could be worth a couple of hundred.

Insurance

This is the most important aspect of travel: make sure you’re insured. Normal holiday insurance generally won’t cover something as expensive as a DSLR. In fact, most standard policies in the UK will limit you to claiming £200 max per item, so check your policy to see how much you’re covered for.

You don’t necessarily have to take out separate insurance just for travel. If you have photographers’ insurance, this generally will cover you when you travel, or at the very least can be added to quite cheaply. Same with your home insurance policy and even your car’s insurance policy, so it’s always worth checking.

Inspiration

Rio De Janeiro From the Sky

Rio De Janeiro Brazil
Image: Photodune

Getting up high is a great way to capture the stunning beauty of a place. Unless there’s an easy way up, many regular tourists overlook stunning heights as they’re not willing to make the walk.

Bungalows on a Lake

bungalows
Image: Photodune

This scene contrasts a small piece of everyday life with nature. Keeping the bungalows to the lower third really shows how, here, the trees dominate the landscape.

Balloons at Sunrise

balloons at sunrise
Image: Photodune

This is a great example of how the time of day can make a photograph. Being at a vantage point at dawn can reap its own rewards, often appearing to show ‘layers’ of a place punctuated by early morning mist.

Market Day

market day
Image: Photodune

Portraits of people in their natural environment really help to tell a story of a place. If you think someone may be uncomfortable at having had their photograph taken, it may help to explain what you were doing, show them the photograph and even offer to send it to them if they have an email address.

Parasols by the Shore

Orange parasols at the sea
Image: Photodune

The colour contrast here is lovely but it’s the timing that’s really the key to this being a great photograph. How often do you see a beach nearly empty on holiday? The overcast sky has created a great opportunity that the photographer has really used to their advantage.

Technique

Have a Plan

You may have limited time in a new place, so make the most of it by planning ahead. Do research before you travel and note down any particular places you want to go, how to get there and how much it will cost. This will save you a lot of time and effort later.

Googling a landmark now includes a really useful section about how busy the place is at a particular time. This can save you hours of queueing or waiting for things to quiet off so again, this is something to make a note of.

Grab a map as soon as you get to your destination in case plans change or you find yourself lost. In developed cities, most cafes and bars have free wi-fi so you can make use of this to add to your plans or double check arrangements.

Get Off the Beaten Path

Try and make your own plans as and when you can, rather than joining tourist groups or planned excursions. There are a lot of reasons for this:

  1. It will cost you less to do it on your own. Tour operators hike up the price because most people like the ease of someone else organising it for them. Fair enough! I was recently in Amsterdam and saw an organised trip to Zaanse Schans for 60 Euros per person. We were already planning to go on our own the next day. It cost us ten Euros to get the train there and back and four Euros to get into one of the windmills. That’s a saving of 46 Euros per person.
  2. You can avoid the crowds. I visited a Colosseum a couple of years back where only a handful of other people were looking around. As I left, a coach load of tourists arrived: perfect timing.
  3. You may surprise yourself. Getting off the beaten path can lead to some lovely discoveries. Moving away from the tourist drag and into the local heart of an area can be the most rewarding parts of a trip.
  4. The food will likely be better and cheaper. Seeking out tasty places to eat away from the main attractions is a great alternative way to see and learn about a place you're visiting.

Make Time

Rushing something rarely produces great results. Give yourself time to properly photograph the places, things and people you see. There’ll always be more we wish we could have done. It's better to do a few things very well than everything badly!

It may be that you want to visit somewhere twice because the lighting wasn’t right the first time. Give yourself spare time in your schedule if you can. That way, if something is taking longer than you thought or you want to spend more time somewhere, it won’t come at the expense of something else you really wanted to do.

Tell a Story

Every place you visit has a story and you have the opportunity to tell it through your eyes, via your photographs. Think about what makes this particular place unique or special. Engage with the locals and be open and polite about what you’re doing.

It can be hard to communicate your intentions if you don’t speak the language, but learning a simple ‘hello’ can be enough to bridge a gap and show that you’re respectful enough to at least try. Make eye contact, smile and be willing to explain what it is you’re doing if asked.

Potential Problems

Don’t be so worried about getting the perfect pictures that you forget to enjoy your holiday. It’s okay to put the camera down now and then and engage with your surroundings. You don’t want to arrive home from the trip of a lifetime and find that you saw most of it through a lens. Your pictures should be a reminder of the amazing time you had, not the only things you can remember from the place!

Over-editing when you get home can be a problem too. Too many adjustments can leave an image looking overdone, so knowing when to stop is a real skill. Working on non-destructive layers and saving your progress as an editable file like a PSD in Photoshop means that if you make a mistake or you have your image printed and it doesn’t look great, you can go back and work on your picture without starting from scratch.

Top Tips to Getting Great Travel Shots

  1. Don’t pack for every eventuality, think carefully about what you really need.
  2. Be insured. A standard travel policy is often not enough to cover even a moderately priced DSLR.
  3. Tone down your camera bag and strap so you don’t become a walking advert for expensive camera gear.
  4. Go off the beaten track and avoid tourist traps to get the best experiences and more unique images.
  5. Tell a story. Engage with the locals and be open and friendly; really try to capture what makes a place.

Further Resources

Final Thoughts

Travel is exciting and the chance to get some amazing photographs makes it all the more appealing. Remember, don’t overload yourself with kit. If you take something to cover every eventuality then you’ll end up sore and tired. Think carefully about what you’ll really need, and if there’s something you don’t have then consider a rental for the duration of the holiday, rather than buying.

Travelling with a wealth of equipment also potentially makes you a bigger target for theft so try to get a bag and camera strap that doesn’t advertise your expensive kit. It’s also wise to be insured, a standard travel policy won’t usually cover large items, but check your home and car insurance; they might.

Plan well and thoroughly. This doesn’t mean that you can’t deviate from what you have if the opportunity rises, but it will potentially save you time, stress and money if you know what you want to do and where you want to be, before you travel. It also has the benefit of helping you avoid busy times at popular locations.

Don’t be afraid to make your own plans and decisions rather than doing what a tourist typically does, it could save you money and give you a much richer experience.

Be open and friendly to locals and make an effort with the language, even if it’s just a few words they’ll really appreciate you trying and are much more likely to help you out, show you the sites people don’t always see and again, add to the richness and authenticity of your experience in their country.

Think about what story you want to tell with your images; capture details and highlight the important parts of the culture you experience.

Above all, it’s important to actually experience the moment as well as capture it. We can get all too caught up in getting the perfect shot but that’s only a small part of it so remember to occasionally put the camera to one side and enjoy where you are.

All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoMarie Gardiner

DSLR FILM NOOB Podcast Episode 110

Episode 110 of DSLR FILM NOOB podcast is up. Mitch from planet5D.com joins me to discuss the Sony 50mm f1.4, Yi 4k action cam, Samyang lenses, and more.

New podcast logo 3 (1 of 1)

You can find the show notes here. You can find the show on itunes here, Soundcloud, or under the podcast tab above. You can also leave questions on reddit at r/dslr.

The post DSLR FILM NOOB Podcast Episode 110 appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Live streaming is a great way for people to connect and share their talents with the world. If you struggle with shyness or what to broadcast, however, you may be a little hesitant to go live. In this tutorial, you'll learn how get over the hump and start your own live video stream.

My 21 Day Periscope Challenge

Last month I went on a 21-day daily Periscope challenge. I wanted to face some of my fears while giving live streaming a real try. It was a fun way to stretch myself as an artist and a teacher.

What is Periscope?

Periscope is an interactive live streaming app that connects you to users all around the world at that very moment. You can chat with the person who's broadcasting as well as the other live viewers and share hearts of encouragement.

Periscope App Interface

Periscope has become a popular tool for anyone looking to build a following, connect with like-minded people, or just socialize with strangers.

Periscope isn't the only live video platform, though: there are options for just about every niche and community. Harry Guinness covered the big ones in his tutorial, Thinking of Getting Into Live Video Streaming? Here's Where to Start.

So if you've ever been interested in live streaming, but aren't sure where to begin, here are some tips from my 21-day experiment.

1. Don't Wait For the Right Time

If you're waiting for the perfect moment to do something, then you'll always be waiting.

  • "But I don't know how to talk to people"
  • "I'm too shy"
  • "I don't have time"
  • "I don't have the right equipment"
  • "I want everything to be perfect"

Any of these sound familiar? We all tend to get in our own way from time to time, especially when it comes to taking on new challenges.

The first three days of my daily broadcasts, for instance, I was horribly sick and considered postponing it. But then I remembered about all the other times when I procrastinated with my interests, sometimes waiting years before I actually attempted a new goal.

So with a runny nose and a hoarse voice, I started my first scope. It lasted four hours.

No matter how many times I may have practiced in front of a mirror, it didn't really prepare me for the actual experience. Although I was admittedly awkward in the beginning, I also had felt a sense of relief and accomplishment for pushing through despite my worries.

So whether you feel uncomfortable or even a little unprepared, take the leap by taking the first step towards your goals.

Get Started with Periscope the Easy Way

It doesn't take much to get started on Periscope. All you need is the app and a smartphone with enough storage to handle your live streams.

If you plan on keeping your hands busy while you 'scope it's important to have something sturdy to rest your phone on. Initially I just shoved my phone and its case into two rolls of tape, stacked on top of an old candle. Though my improvised rig held the phone in place pretty solidly (for a no-cost DIY solution), it altered the sound in a way I didn't like. Eventually, I upgraded my setup. 

Tools for Periscope Tripod Selfie Stick and Phone
Here's all you need to use Periscope. From left to right you there's the selfie stick, detachable mount, tripod, and smartphone.

Selfie sticks are affordable tools that allow you to live stream on the go. And if you purchase one with a detachable mount, you can easily use that mount on any small tripod.

Phone Tripod for Periscope
Using a tripod is ideal for Periscope, but you can also manage by placing your phone against a sturdy surface.

2. The Numbers Aren't Important

When you're just starting out, the last thing you should worry about is how many followers or viewers you get. It'll only cause unnecessary stress and may even discourage you from continuing with your streams.

As a beginner, getting viewers depends on a lot of factors, including:

  1. How many followers you already have
  2. Your followers sharing your broadcasts with others
  3. The quality, topic, title, and duration of your broadcasts
  4. Whether people can see you or not
  5. And the consistency of your broadcast schedule

As you can imagine, all of these things take time to understand. Cut yourself a break and embrace this early phase. Don't compare yourself to other streamers: they've probably had either months or even years of regular practice.

Learn To Talk To Yourself

As funny as it may seem, one of the best things you can do is just learn to talk to yourself. I saw Periscope as a gateway for getting more comfortable with public speaking. Even when I saw the little viewer icon at zero I forced myself to keep going.

People can join and leave your stream whenever they want. Because I keep talking, people who join have something to listen to when they enter my broadcast, even if they come mid-stream. Keeping talking made me that more appreciative of the people who did come in for a chat. Learning to talk to myself has also helped my videos be a little more worthwhile for replay viewers.

Acknowledge Replay Viewers

Periscope now automatically stores all your broadcasts. They're accessible on your profile, and your associated Twitter account, so anyone can view them at any time (unless you delete the individual videos).

As you gain more followers you'll notice that you get some "Replay Viewers" as well. These are people who couldn't make your live broadcast but are still tuning it to the recording.

Replay Viewers on Periscope
Don't worry about how many live viewers you have. Your followers can watch and re-watch your videos at any time by accessing your broadcasts through your Periscope profile.

So don't get discouraged! Even if you don't have a lot of live viewers your videos will still get watched. Be sure to acknowledge the presence of replay viewers and you'll see that your follower count increases even after you've stopped broadcasting.

3. Embrace the "Haters"

This wouldn't be the 21st century without haters. Haters come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, and they're on a mission to make you feel pretty crappy about yourself. Don't let haters get you down!

From a woman's perspective, the worst of it isn't so much that I receive haters, it's the inappropriate comments. This made me hide behind the camera by facing my phone towards my live digital painting.

May the Block Be With You

If the negativity is too much for you, there's always the Block button. In the last few months, Periscope has also unveiled a feature that allows viewers to vote on the level of offensiveness of a particular comment within the chat. Depending on the vote, the user can be removed or their chat privileges temporarily revoked, all without you ever lifting a finger.

4. Tackle Your Insecurities Head On

One of the reasons unwarranted criticism hurts is that we all have some level of insecurity.

For me, it took me a long time before I grew into my big gap and imperfect smile. I still cringe when I see my body language and my natural tendencies to cover it up. Holding onto insecurities can make or break your experience as you broadcast.

Make Yourself Feel Wonderful

Wear that t-shirt you love. Put on a little makeup. Spruce up your hair.

Do whatever it takes to make you feel more confident prior to pressing that record button. This not only helps how you feel, but also the energy you give off to your viewers.

It pays to know your angles and lighting too. So take what you've learned about photography here on Envato Tuts+ and apply it to live streaming.

5. Follow Your Passion

But what if you don't know what to broadcast? If you have trouble figuring out what to record, simply follow your passion.

Almost all of my broadcasts involved me showing how I create digital paintings, retouch photos, or tackle a creative project. By following my passion I was able to introduce myself as an artist to new people, have great conversations about art, teach viewers tricks and tools about Photoshop, and show them how my creative process unfolds.

My favorite 'scope happened on Day 13. It was around midnight and I had only 11 live viewers watching me paint a self-portrait. It might not've been a big crowd, but they were full of enthusiasm and kept asking me more and more questions about art.

Digital Paintings created on Periscope
Most of what I worked on were digital paintings or photo retouch work for future Envato Tuts+ Tutorials. Create things your passionate about for your viewers to enjoy.

Their enthusiasm reinvigorated my own and I was able to keep that broadcast going. So you see, the best part of following your passion is that you eventually meet other passionate people as well.

Embrace Randomness Too

Going to a festival today? Why not Periscope it?

One of my most popular broadcasts is only six minutes long, and was made as I explored a local park. This is when having a selfie stick is incredibly helpful to avoid a shaky broadcast. I myself have tuned into many broadcasts of people doing absolutely nothing?watching nature, or people on their way to work.

Explore with Periscope
Use Periscope to explore your local neighborhood. A selfie stick is essential for this type of broadcast.

Periscope is a fun and powerful way for artists to take advantage of social media, but don't mistake using Periscope for having to be professionally "on" all the time. Let people into the super casual aspects of your life and you'll make many great connections.

6. Keep a Journal

If you want to follow the progress of a personal challenge, consider keeping a journal. After each broadcast in my challenge I wrote down my stats as well as any general feelings about how it went.

By keeping a journal you're able to review your progress as well as develop new strategies to improve your live streams down the line. Should your streams be longer? Are certain topics better to talk about than others?

Discover what works and apply what you can. For instance, I learned that introducing myself on camera first allowed me to make more connections before facing the camera towards my computer.

Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself

Life happens. Between being sick, traveling to see family, and juggling my work schedule as a freelancer, I did miss four days of broadcasts. Sometimes I tried to make it up with extra streams and sometimes I just let it be.

Even if you embark on a personal daily challenge it's okay to let yourself rest. The purpose of this challenge is not to beat yourself up, but to show yourself that you are very capable of working towards your goals.

Although I'm still shy, I do feel a lot more comfortable with live streaming now. I look forward to sharing my art-making process again and I hope you've been inspired to share your talents with the world too.

What's Your Creative Challenge?

Haters, insecurities, shyness, and overall feelings of not being ready are just some reasons why we don't hit that record button, but I promise: if you just take a chance on yourself, you'll be on your way to smashing through all your goals.

So how will you challenge yourself today?

All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoMelody Nieves

Do you want to learn some great digital post-production techniques that will help you emulate a classic black and white film look?

If so, our new course, Give Your Digital Images a Black and White Film Look, is ideal for you. It's a short course, with a total viewing time of less than an hour, so you can easily fit it in, no matter how busy you are. 

Give Your Digital Images a Black and White Film Look

What You’ll Learn

Black and white film is a wonderfully organic, expressive, and emotional way to make pictures. Unfortunately, film is also finicky, inconvenient, and expensive. Digital photography lacks the inherent charm of film—raw digital images tend to be a bit cool and clinical out of camera—but it sure is handy! What if you could have the best of both?

In this course, Envato Tuts+ instructor Harry Guinness will show you how to emulate the look of black and white film with digital processing. By the end of this course, you'll have a hybrid black and white workflow that looks great and is highly flexible.

Watch the Introduction

Take the Course

You can take our new course straight away with a free 10-day trial of our monthly subscription. If you decide to continue, it costs just $15 a month, and you’ll get access to hundreds of courses, with new ones added every week.

Or if you're looking for a shortcut, you could try the Silver Photoshop action available on Envato Market. With just a few clicks, you can simulate the look of 28 B+W films from Agfa™, Foma™, Ilford™, Kodak™, Konica™, Polaroid™, and Rollei™. This action set also includes 15 contrast effects and 8 seamless film grains.

All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoAndrew Blackman

NAB 2016, Konova introduces the Sun Jib available in three different lengths (S400, S700, and S900). The design is slightly different than most jibs as the self leveling mechanism is completely enclosed into a single bar.

konova sun jib crane
Learn-More-sm Konova Sun Jib S400 S700 S900

The SunJib is not only simple and fast to setup, but also designed specifically to be 'Vibration and Flex Free' (no wiggle) allowing for smoother camera motion. They claim that you can stand a coin up on it's side and boom the SunJib without the coin falling over. This precision and smooth operation is helpful for longer focal length lenses, or close up Macro work where any movement would be highly exaggerated.

More information about the Konova Sun Jib is available at http://KonovaPhoto.com (found here)

konova sun jib vibration free
Learn-More-sm Konova Sun Jib S400 S700 S900

All credit is given to author CheesyCamCheesycam