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Recent Articles

How To Take The Perfect Silhouette

Filed in Tips by on April 16, 2015 4 Comments
How To Take The Perfect Silhouette

There are a few things in photography that kind of walk the line between mistake and brilliance. One of those is the silhouette. I’m sure you’ve taken lots of photos that you didn’t really mean to be silhouettes, and when you saw them after the fact you wished that you’d shot them differently. Loved-ones’ faces obscured in a silhouette aren’t always a good thing, especially if the shape of the silhouette itself has few identifying characteristics. But there are situations where silhouettes can be used creatively – so it’s a very good idea to know what to do and what not to do when it comes to deliberately including silhouettes in your photographs.
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How To Take Pictures Indoors Without a Flash

Filed in Tips by on April 8, 2015 5 Comments
How To Take Pictures Indoors Without a Flash

When you were a kid, your mom probably took a lot of pictures. When she wasn’t taking pictures outdoors, she was using a flash. Remember that? “Oh wait dear, don’t move, the flash has to warm up.”

If you look back at those photo albums full of all those pictures that your mom took when you were a kid, you may notice a common theme. Those photos probably don’t look very good. In them, your kid-self probably has a washed-out face and/or red eyes, and there are most likely some really big, ugly black shadows directly behind you. These are all hallmarks of direct flash.

Now that you’ve grown up and have a camera of your own, let’s see how to take photos that don’t look like the ones in your mom’s photo album.
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Repeating Patterns

Filed in Tips by on April 2, 2015 0 Comments
Repeating Patterns

The human eye loves pattern. Patterns are predictable, and in a way that makes them soothing. They are harmonious, and they have rhythm—not unlike a favorite piece of music. But they are also dynamic—patterns are always moving, even when they aren’t. Your eye moves across a pattern, from the first to the next to the next, and even when that pattern leaves your vision you still imagine that it continues on, outside of the world that you can see. There are a mirriad of patterns available in our world. Let’s talk about a few, and how using them can enhance your photos.
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5 Reasons your Camera Won’t Auto-Focus

Filed in Tips by on March 19, 2015 4 Comments
5 Reasons your Camera Won’t Auto-Focus

Autofocus is kind of like a microwave oven. Just a few short decades ago, it didn’t exist. And now we have no idea how we could live without it.

Today, the idea of shooting all of our images with manual focus seems a bit crazy. But here’s the thing, and you may find it hard to believe – there are some shooting situations where you need to shut off your autofocus. There are some shooting situations where your autofocus is going to hinder you instead of help you.

The simple reason why is this: your autofocus system just isn’t that smart. It uses certain visual cues to know where to focus, but it does all of that based on contrast and light. It isn’t able to intelligently look at a scene and understand what the subject is supposed to be, so it has to guess. In most cases, it gets it right. But there are certain situations where it’s almost always going to get it wrong. Here are the five most common:

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How to Choose Your Next Camera

Filed in Tips by on February 26, 2015 5 Comments
How to Choose Your Next Camera

I bet you thought you only needed one camera. Ah! I’m sorry, but that’s not true. You can get by with one camera, but there’s no such thing as a camera that can be everything to everyone.

Now, having said that, depending on who you are and what your photography style is, you will probably find that the camera you’ve chosen is good enough for most situations you find yourself in. But have you ever wished you could take your camera with you on the ski slopes, or that you could walk fearlessly out into the waves, camera in hand? Have you ever got so sick of lugging around your DSLR on a long hike that you fantasized about stashing it inside a tree trunk and picking it up again on your way back to the car? Have you ever been somewhere mundane, where you would never dream of taking a camera, only to find yourself cameraless as something really photoworthy happens?
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Gifts for Photographers this Christmas

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Gifts for Photographers this Christmas

The holiday season is finally over, and now you can put aside all that gift-buying stress and settle into the new year.

Wait, you mean it’s the holiday season again, already? How did that happen?

Yes, it is true, the months have flown by practically without you noticing and it’s now time to shop for the holidays again. You’re a photographer, so you likely have friends who are also photographers. If not, you probably enjoy getting gifts yourself (who doesn’t?) but you may not really have any ideas about what you might want this year. Whether you’re in the first category or the second category, I’m going to make this easy for you. Because at the rate at which the holiday season comes and goes, you need all the help you can get.
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Improve your Photographer’s Eye

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Improve your Photographer’s Eye

Are your photos boring?

All looking the same. Shot after shot of boring landscapes (you now can’t remember where they were taken!) or the same photo of your family every Christmas.

It’s time to wake up your Photographer’s Eye.
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Ask David: When do I use different shutter speeds?

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Ask David: When do I use different shutter speeds?

Your camera is an amazing creative tool. That’s not really intuitive to a lot of beginners, because cameras are so good at recording reality. But the fact is that you can use your camera to manipulate reality just as you can use it to recreate reality and the simplest creative tool your camera has is shutter speed. Shutter speed works in two directions–you can either slow it down or speed it up. Use a slow shutter speed to emphasize movement. Use a faster shutter speed to freeze movement. So how do you decide when to choose a slow shutter speed, and when to choose a faster one?
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A Primer on Lens Filters

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A Primer on Lens Filters

During the old days of film, the lens filter was an important piece of equipment. It was often used to balance colors or to add special effects to an image but today’s digital technology lets us set white balance manually, or make changes after-the-fact in post-processing. Is there still any use for those filters? If so, how can we use them? How can they help improve our photos? Now’s your chance to find out.
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Shooting Modes Explained: What M, AV, TV, P, and B Really Mean

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Shooting Modes Explained: What M, AV, TV, P, and B Really Mean

Good news, you’ve got a fancy new camera. Bad news, you have no idea how to use it or what any of the settings do or mean. Making the jump from a point and shoot to a DSLR requires you to embrace a massive learning curve. Below is some information to demystify the shooting modes and help you differentiate each mode from the others.
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15 Tips to Boost Your Zoo Photography

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15 Tips to Boost Your Zoo Photography

For many of us, the zoo is the closest thing we are going to get to going on safari. If you know what you’re doing, you might even be able to take photos that look like you are on safari without the price tag of a vacation in a foreign country. Likewise, photographing in a zoo will allow you to get shots of animals from all over the world in a single day instead of needing to take several trips. Photographing animals in the zoo also produces some interesting challenges. Here are some pointers to help you get the most out of your day at the zoo.
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Tips for Scouting Locations… and Actually Using Them

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Tips for Scouting Locations… and Actually Using Them

Are you getting bored with your ‘go to’ locations? Let me guess, you’ve explored every nook and cranny, found all the hidden spots and stellar backgrounds. If you aren’t there yet there will come a day when you flip through your portfolio and realize you’ve over-utilized those favorite locations. If you’re there already, you are due for some location scouting and if you haven’t, well, a little forethought never hurt anyone. Here are some things I’ve found help me find and remember stunning locations.
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Create photos that win competitions!

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Create photos that win competitions!

I recently had a chat with Photography Secrets reader and Dash participant Janet Patkowa. Janet has seen her photos improve so much over the last few months of participating in the Photography Dash that not only did she gain the confidence to enter not one, but two photographic competitions… but the judges awarded her second place in BOTH!

I recorded this interview with Janet and asked her how she took the winning photos. Watch the interview here (and see the photos that won her second place):
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Photography workshops – how to prepare for and get the most out of them

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Photography workshops – how to prepare for and get the most out of them

There will come a point in your life as a photographer where you find yourself fantasizing about attending a workshop. You feel like you’ve hit a talent plateau and now you’re stuck. No amount of reading or shooting will make you feel like you are moving forward. This is probably the time for a workshop. Continue Reading »

Lifestyle Photography: Newborns

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Lifestyle Photography: Newborns

There is nothing sweeter or more ephemeral than a newborn baby. Those sweet milk drunk smiles and three hour naps don’t last long. All parents will, at one point or another, find themselves astonished to look down at their child and realize that little baby has turned into a child.
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