Seamless Double Exposures of Milan’s Architecture and People

Lets face it, it takes awhile to get the absolute perfect double exposure. Although the Canon 5D Mark III might make it a little bit easier with it’s live view, the truth is that it takes time. For these double exposures, Francesco Paleari was able to do just that. He merged people with architecture in the most perfect sense.

Most of the time when you see double exposures they’re merging people with trees and flowers. Nothing out of the ordinary, or in a way where you think, whoa that is seamlessly executed. Francesco put a lot of thought and effort into these double exposures because he originally took them for a contest. Sadly he didn’t end up winning, but overall they’re perfectly connected. He aimed to capture “Milan in the profiles of the people who live it every day” and thats exactly what he did.

Milan Double Exposure Francesco Paleari Fstoppers 1 710x1065 Seamless Double Exposures of Milans Architecture and People

Gabriele with the Sforza Castle.

Milan Double Exposure Francesco Paleari Fstoppers 2 710x1065 Seamless Double Exposures of Milans Architecture and People
Elisa with the Chuch, Santa Maria delle Grazie

Milan Double Exposure Francesco Paleari Fstoppers 4 710x1065 Seamless Double Exposures of Milans Architecture and People
Pietro with the Basilica di San Lorenzo.

Be sure to check out Francesco’s other work on his Facebook page. If you have a 5D3 and you need help with your double exposures. We also would love to see any double exposures that made you say ‘Wow!” so post them in the comments!

Planning your wedding photography

Holding hands                                                                    

Throughout my career as a photojournalist many people have commented that they wished they had known me when they got married, because the photographer they hired did such a poor job. Now that our society is thoroughly entrenched in the digital era, where everyone is a photographer, consumers have to do a lot more homework to find the right photographer to document their special day, and there are a lot more pretenders than there are actual contenders.

Where to start?  Go online and search for wedding photographers in your area.  Every photographer has a website where you can check out their style and work, and if you find one that suits your needs make an appointment.  Some photographers will charge a consultation fee so make sure that is waived.  When you meet, ask the photographer to see a complete wedding shoot, or two, that they have recently done.  Photographers will only want to show you their best work, and perhaps they only can reap two or three good pictures out of an entire wedding shoot.  If they can’t show you a whole wedding shoot then I suggest you don’t hire them.

From the dozen or so weddings that I have shot, I have found that too many people get wrapped up in having pictures taken with the bride and groom and their families.  Yes, you want to have pictures with Uncle Charlie but make it one big group photo, rather than photos of just Uncle Charlie with the bride and groom like so many wedding parties do.  It takes too much time!  Save the bride and groom photos for the immediate family and the wedding party only.  Try to tie the location of the photo shoot to a place that may be special to the bride and groom, perhaps some where they had met. If you want more of a documentary style of photography rather than strictly posed pictures, perhaps think about hiring a photojournalist or a documentary photographer.

Photojournalists have to photograph everything in their varied careers and are good at ‘capturing the moment’, but good photojournalists are harder to find than wedding photographers.  Keep in mind that many newspapers or magazines don’t actually have photojournalists working for them anymore.   When you do find a wedding photographer you like, discuss what is expected of the said photographer.  You have to agree on locations, posed pictures with family and the bridal party and the price.  If you want a photographer for the whole day including the reception, it will cost more money.  Wedding photography can cost anywhere from 3000 SR to 50,000 SR.  Also negotiate what format, cds, dvds, prints, the final pictures will be on.  The more you communicate with the photographer ahead of time it may save you a big headache on your special day.

Hopefully, you’ll get married once and will want to cherish those memories forever.  And if you are really stuck, there are always one or two relatives willing to be the official photographer.  And if you are really, really stuck, hand out disposable cameras to each table at the reception.  It is amazing what other people see and document.

The Fotopro Tripod Looks the Part, but Fails in Functionality

The Fotopro Tripod Looks the Part, but Fails in Functionality

When an idea is good, it’s bound to sprout imitators. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this. Often it leads to a product that took the good from one idea and implemented other original concepts to make an end product amazing. But sometimes, and rather frequently in the photo industry, we end up with products that feel like hollow copies, existing to just take advantage of positive consumer feelings towards an existing product. That’s what I feel happened with the Fotopro tripod.

This design is not new. Both Benro (now spinoff brand MeFoto) and Three Legged Thing claim to be the originators of their specific tripod design, but they both have amazing product that function phenomenally, so it really doesn’t matter who came first. What is indisputable is that Fotopro came into existence much later than either of those other two brands with a design that is without argument identical, if not for a few minor aesthetic differences. Fotopro asked me to take a look at their tripod, since I was so smitten with the MeFoto version (and still am).

The Fotopro tripod is designed, like MeFoto and Three Legged Thing, to be small, light weight, and quick to use on location. It’s not designed to be a heavy-duty tripod that can withstand all elements, and that’s ok. We can own other tripods. We don’t need one item to do everything, in fact I argue the opposite. Unfortunately, Fotopro’s attempt at this now-popular design is a feeble one, leaving me with an unfortunate distaste for the product I generally do not have for nearly anything I use. Rarely do I ever speak so frankly about a product I am dissatisfied with, and often times I will not do a review when I am unhappy with a product’s performance. However, through a series of photo and video shoots that were seriously hampered by the Fotopro tripod, I couldn’t let this one slide.

fotopro tripod review fstoppers 2 The Fotopro Tripod Looks the Part, but Fails in Functionality

A tripod is supposed to do a very short list of things right, otherwise, what is the point? Even though the Fotopro is as equally stable and lightweight as its competitors (aluminum versions anyhow, and the carbon fiber versions of MeFoto and Three Legged Thing are only marginally lighter), the functionality of the Fotopro version left me befuddled and frustrated.

What functionality? The Fotopro tripod is sticky where it should be smooth, and smooth where it should be tightly fastened. What I mean by this is that the legs and most especially the neck tightening ring are badly tuned. I am not exaggerating in this statement:

It took two people pulling with all their strength to get the neck of the Fotopro tripod to extend out of the base.

fotopro tripod review fstoppers 3 The Fotopro Tripod Looks the Part, but Fails in Functionality

This is truly, truly absurd. I would hold onto the legs while Mike Kelley would pull on the head. We would both lean back and pull with all our strength, and the Fotopro would only relent after a few seconds of intense pulling. Why is this important? Because the Fotopro tripod only breaks down to its smallest size when the neck is extended, and I always collapse the neck to maximize stability (a tall neck high above three legs is not the most stable option, and you should only do this if you have to). That means that on my own, I was incapable of putting this tripod away.

The head attaches to the neck of the tripod in the traditional manner, but had a terrible habit of unscrewing. There is a knob to loosen the swivel on the head so that you can pan smoothly, but no matter how loose I made that tightening screw, the head always seem to want to totally unscrew from the neck, which is extremely dangerous for your camera.

Let me simplify that: Attempting to pan head normally instead unscrewed tripod head from tripod 70% of the time.

Leveling with this tripod was also a farce. The little level bubble that you would use to determine the “level” or center of a plane doesn’t actually work right. You have to tilt significantly to get it to move at all, which means it’s impossible to use.

Simplified version: Both built-in levels do not work.

fotopro tripod review fstoppers The Fotopro Tripod Looks the Part, but Fails in Functionality

When I pick the angle I want, I aim my camera (while attached to the tripod), make sure I’m level (via other means than this tripod head’s built-in level obviously), and then tighten the head to maintain that angle, right? Not with this head. Like with a lot of lower quality tripod heads (think the really cheap Sunpak tripods you find at Best Buy), even when fully tightened, the head is actually too weak to support a DSLR. So the camera then dips slightly after you let go. This happens with the Fotopro tripod head, and it is extremely irritating.

Simplified version: Tripod head is not strong enough to support a DSLR with a pro-level lens.

The legs, which are twist lock not clip lock, are also quite sticky and often times required significant pulling to get to extend. On their own this would be but a minor annoyance. Combined with the other gripes it was the straw the broke the camel’s back.

What I liked:

  • The bag this tripod comes with is pretty nice. It even has a zippered side pouch
  • There is a little leather strap attached to the neck that makes picking it up easy
  • It’s pretty lightweight

What could use improvement

  • Neck and legs are preposterously sticky and difficult to extend and depress
  • Included tripod head pans poorly and isn’t strong enough to support any DSLR with a pro-level lens attached
  • Build quality feels sub-par
  • Head constantly wanted to unscrew itself

Some say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but if MeFoto or Three Legged Thing were anything like this tripod, no one would be happy. Sure it’s available in a ton of colors (so are the competitors) and the design is light weight and packs down to a very small package (just like the competitors), but when put in real business situations where I have clients to please and pictures to take, this tripod crumpled under the stress. It’s obviously not made to be used for anything more than a soccer-field sideline camera rest, and anyone looking for a reliable, lightweight tripod that is small and easy to use would be better served with either competitor to the Fotopro.

Mike Kelley’s one-line addition to this review: “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Note: For those of you wondering if I got a “faulty” or damaged tripod from Fotopro, it is indeed possible. However, after I reported these issues to Fotopro I received no response from them at all.


– Collected from Fstoppers