Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sponsored: AT&T LG G4 Smartphone Sweepstakes & Photography Tips

Disclosure:  I received an LG G4 from AT&T and was compensated by AT&T for this post, however the opinions are entirely my own.    

I was so excited to be contacted to try out the LG G4 smartphone because I had heard about the amazing photo capabilities on this phone.  It really is fantastic, just wait until you see the photos captured with this phone below.  To celebrate the capture capability and 2TB storage on the LG G4, AT&T is giving away one LG G4 every 4,000 seconds (or every 66 minutes).  The 4,000 Seconds Sweepstakes started on May 29th and runs through June 20th, so you still have a chance to win (check out all the details on how to enter at the bottom of this post).

I take A LOT of photos with my smartphone, so having the opportunity to try out this phone with its advanced camera features was definitely something I was eager to do.  And I have to tell you I was blown away by all of its' features!

First off, let me say that I was most impressed by it's manual capabilities.  The LG G4 allows you to adjust your ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed and has an impressive 1.8 aperture.  As a photographer, having these features in a smartphone is beyond exciting! I was amazed by the images I could take with this phone.  Just check out these photos, with a few tips on settings, taken in my backyard.

For this snail shot, I used the manual mode and and set the aperture to 1.8 because I wanted the background blurred out and the focus on the snail.   Pretty awesome!

In the photo below, I kept the aperture at 1.8 in order to get the bokeh in the background.

Here is another image where I kept the aperture at 1.8 (can you tell that I love this feature?) and did a top down photo.  I love images where you change the perspective to add interest.

In this next image, I was drawn to how the light was shining through all the vases of flowers. I increased my aperture just a bit (to make sure all the vases were in focus).     :)

For action shots, having the ability to manually set the shutter speed is a great feature.  In this photo, I increased the shutter speed in order to freeze the motion.

Some of the other camera features on this phone are the ability to shoot RAW photos (for those of you who like to do some post-processing), a voice command feature to activate the shutter (i.e. "say cheese" and click), the ability to get the perfect selfie with an 8 MP front facing camera and convenient gesture interface (activate the shutter by opening and closing your fist).  Oh and let's not forget about the skin softening tool (bye, bye wrinkles).

Here's a selfie I captured with my mom (notice my dog Lulu photobombed us in the background).

The LG G4 has an auto mode (your average phone camera mode) and simple mode (a more pared down auto mode) for those of you who do not want to mess around with camera configurations.  All and all if you are looking for a new smartphone with an awesome camera, the LG G4 is definitely one to consider.  It is a great device for capturing hi-res images and video with plenty of storage space and it supports up to a 2 TB MicroSD card (MicroSD cards sold separately).

Additional features of the LG G4 include:
Dimensions: 5.86 x 3.0 x 0.38” (min 0.25”)
Operating System: Android Lollipop 5.1
Processor: 1.8 GHz 64 bit hexa-core processor
Battery: removable 3,000 mAh that provides up to 21 hours of talk time7

Ready to enter the Sweepstakes? For a chance to win, participants need to: 

1. Register at http://4kseconds.att.com/ 
2. Upload a picture they took from their phone. This can be done from a mobile device, tablet or computer. Images need to be .jpg or .png and less than 1 MB.

There is also a contest component to this program. All submitted photos (deemed eligible by the Official Rules) will also be housed on a gallery on the sweepstakes website. These will be open to public voting in order to determine a public appeal score. The photos will also be judged by a panel of judges. 

The photo with the highest combination score from the judges and public appeal will be deemed the Grand Prize Winner and will receive a 55” Class Smart Curved 4K OLED 3D TV with webOS 2.0 and a 3D-Blu-Ray Disc Home Theatre System with Smart TV and Wireless Speakers. The second and third highest ranked photos will be deemed the First and Second Prize Winner. These winners will receive a 65” Class IPS 4K UHD Smart LED TV with webOS 2.0 and 3D-Capable Blu-ray Disc Home Theatre System with Smart TV and Wireless Speakers. The winners will be announced upon completion of the Judging Period, which ends July 9th. 

Learn more at this AT&T Consumer Blog post and Mobile Minute video.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Few Reasons Why You Need a Professional Head Shot.....

by: Kristina Rust Photography

I understand that the thought of getting in front of the camera all by yourself can make you cringe but having a professional photo is extremely important and here’s why:
1. A professional headshot conveys a look of professionalism and credibility for you and your company. Your image is your first impression, be sure to make it a strong one.
2. People like to do business with others they know. Having a headshot helps people feel like they already know you.
3. You’ll use it all over the Internet. A polished headshot is necessary for social media. A consistent professional headshot should be used on all your social media channels…LinkedIn, Twitter, Website, etc.
4. You might need a headshot for a speaking engagement, book jacket, or event and you’ll be ready.
5. A professional headshot will show you at your best. Rather than using that selfie or photo where you cropped out your friends, a professional headshot will demonstrate that you made an investment in yourself and that you take yourself seriously.
As you can see from the sample images above, a headshot does not have to be stuffy or in front of a blue backdrop.  Your headshot can reflect your style and personality and still look professional.  If you’d like to learn more about my headshot services, please contact me at kristina.rust@gmail.com or call 408.207.5010.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

How to Prepare for Your Head Shot Session | By Kristina Rust Photography

Trying to figure out what to wear for your head shot session?  No need to stress, here are a few tips to help you pull together the perfect look……
  • Be timeless…. Try to pick outfits that are not too trendy and that will not look dated in a year.
  • No logos or large graphics…these tend to distract from your lovely face and we don’t want you to be walking advertisements.
  • Layer…bring a sweater or scarf to add a bit of “texture” to your images as well as variety.
  • Accessorize…. add color and interest with accessories but don’t let them overwhelm the outfit.  We don’t want that HUGE chunky necklace to be the center of attention.  Again, think complement.  Headbands, scarves, and cardigans are all great ways to add a little extra pop.
  • Patterns are great.  Patterns and prints are terrific but make sure they are not too fine of a print or the pattern will look pixelated.
  • Make-up….a little extra make-up is good for the camera but don’t go too heavy handed.  If you feel like you could use a little extra assistance, consider hiring a professional make-up artist (it is more affordable than you think).
  • Glasses...f you wear glasses-please note there might be a bit of glare.  Non-glare glasses are ideal.
  • The Right Fit….do not wear clothes that are too baggy as they add unwanted pounds and clothes that are too tight never look right.
  • Hair…if you highlight your hair do so before the shoot so you don’t have roots.   If you are in need of a haircut do that a week or two before the shoot so you can feel comfortable with your new do.  And one tip that I love and used myself was to go to blow-dry bar and have your hair professionally styled.
And if you are interested in updating your profile picture for your website, LinkedIn, blog or Facebook page, please visit my website to see more examples of my work or email me at kristina.rust@gmail.com.  I'd love to work with you. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Spider Pro Camera Holster Review

By:  Kristina Rust Photography

When I was at ClickAway last fall, I saw a few photographers using the Spider Pro Holster and was very intrigued.  It looked like a great alternative to wearing your camera around your neck or across your body.  Flash forward a few months and I had the opportunity to try one out myself and I have to say I really love it!

Now I must admit, I have not taken it out on a shoot just yet (I'm really excited to do so) but in just trying it out around my home and neighborhood, I'm very impressed.

What I really like is that the Spider Pro is a comfortable and secure way to carry my camera.  It's a nice change from having a strap digging into my neck.  I also love that I don't have to worry about my camera strap dangling in front of my camera and getting in the way of the lens.

The Spider Pro Holster is a belt system that you wear evenly across your waist, keeping the weight of your gear off your shoulders and back.  A metal plate attaches to the bottom of your camera and the attached pin slides into the holster and locks into place (this is very important...make sure it is locked into place lest you end up with some damaged gear).  The camera then swivels into position (which is upside with the lens pointing behind you) leaving your hands free.

While it felt strange at first (I was reluctant to trust that my camera really was secure hanging from my hip), I quickly got used to having my camera on my waist.  

Here is a video that provides a great overview of this very cool product!


The Spider Pro has a variety of accessories you can purchase such as lens pouches and adapter kits so that you can attach your Spider Pro to belts from Think Tank and LowePro.

If you are looking for an alternative to wearing your camera around your neck or across your body, I would highly recommend giving this a try.  If you have one already, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Disclosure:  I was provided a Spider Pro Holster in exchange for this review.  The opinions are entirely my own.