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Recent Articles

What Filters Work Best?

Filed in Tips by on July 23, 2015 0 Comments
What Filters Work Best?

Buried deep within my closet is my collection of screw-on filters. I have warming and cooling filters for adjusting white balance, I have a red filter that can be used to increase the contrast in a black and white image, I have a yellow filter for darkening a black and white sky, I have special effects filters that soften images, add starbursts and do other cool things that were actually popular back in the 80s. I haven’t dragged that box out in years and haven’t really had a need to, either. Why not?
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Ask David: Why does aperture decrease when zoom increases?

Filed in Tips by on July 21, 2015 3 Comments
Ask David: Why does aperture decrease when zoom increases?

You’re the proud owner of a new lens. It’s a pretty awesome lens, if you do say so yourself. It zooms all the way out to 300mm, and down to 70mm, which means you can use it in a lot of situations – from photographing those birds in your backyard trees to capturing great candid shots of your kids playing on the lawn below them. But you just noticed something about that brand new lens – the aperture doesn’t always stay where you want it to. Why?
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What You Need to Know About Zooming

Filed in Tips by on July 20, 2015 0 Comments
What You Need to Know About Zooming

If your DSLR camera came with a lens, it was probably a “kit” zoom lens. Kit lenses are great for beginners. The ones that come bundled with most DSLRs typically have a very good range of zoom, usually somewhere in the range of 35mm to 70mm. Most hobby photographers don’t need to move much beyond that range of zoom for the majority of what they do with their cameras. But even if you love your kit lens and you never, ever plan to leave it, you do need to know a little bit about how it works and what it is capable of. With that in mind, here is your primer on zoom lenses.
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Mastering Composition

Filed in Tips by on July 17, 2015 5 Comments
Mastering Composition

(or, why you can’t just point your camera at something and press the button)

A bad photo is easy to spot. Even a lay person knows a bad photo when she sees one. The only people who don’t seem to notice bad photos are the people who take them.

You know the sort of image I mean. Just go to Facebook and click on any random friend’s collection of family and vacation photos. Sure, some are going to be great because some people have a better natural eye for composition than others. But a lot of them are going to be bad. Kids in chaotic clusters trying to chase a soccer ball. People who appear as tiny specs in front of giant landmarks. Seascapes with no sense of dimension. Where did all these images go wrong?
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A Field Guide to Great Landscapes

Filed in Tips by on July 9, 2015 4 Comments
A Field Guide to Great Landscapes

Anyone who is not a photographer will probably tell you it’s easy to shoot a landscape. Step one: find beautiful scenery. Step two: point your camera at it. Step three: take a picture.

Of course, that’s an over simplification. But not too much! With just a few extra steps, you’ll be taking superb landscape photos wherever you are.
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What You Need to Know Before Buying a Camera

Filed in Tips by on June 26, 2015 2 Comments
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Camera

Today, extra megapixels are really just par for the course. Consumers have convinced themselves that they want those extra megapixels, so manufactures will continue to provide to them. That means that until consumers come to realize how little those megapixels actually do for the average photographer, you’re going to have to filter out all that megapixel-related marketing noise whenever you go to purchase a new camera.

So where does that leave you, the consumer, when you enter that camera shop or your local Best Buy? You need to be armed with all the right questions, otherwise you may end up making a purchasing decision that’s based on factors that really aren’t that important to you.
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Printing images – size does matter

Filed in Tips by on June 11, 2015 8 Comments
Printing images – size does matter

Digital cameras do a lot of things that film cameras could never do. But in a way, film photographers had it kind of easy. There was no such thing as “file size”, because everything you shot on a roll of film was exactly the same “size” as everything else you shot on that roll of film.

Today we are blessed – or perhaps cursed – with the ability to shoot photos at any resolution and quality setting we want. But all of these choices come at a cost, and that cost is most obvious when you try to print the photos that you take with your digital camera. Let’s see why….
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How to Organize Your Digital Photographs

Filed in Tips by on June 11, 2015 5 Comments
How to Organize Your Digital Photographs

Film photographers were so much more organized than we are. They had shoeboxes. Remember shoeboxes? When you got your photos back from the lab, you flipped through them, you gave away a few extra copies, and then you stuck them in a shoebox, promising yourself that one day real soon you would put them into a photo album.

Today’s shoebox equivalent is the hard drive. I’m very sorry to say, that just because you store your digital photos on the computer does not mean that they are more organized. If you want to be able to retrieve your digital photographs with ease, you need to have an organizing system in place. In case you don’t know where to begin, here is a short list of suggestions.
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Twelve Mistakes Rookies Make

Filed in Tips by on June 11, 2015 0 Comments
Twelve Mistakes Rookies Make

No one is born knowing how to use a camera. Every single photographer you know from amateur to professional at one time picked up a DSLR (or an SLR) camera, turned it over awkwardly, looked at all those buttons and thought to himself, “How the heck do I use this thing?”

Rookie mistakes in any field are usually pretty predictable. That’s because they’re honest mistakes, and it’s pretty easy to see how the unschooled and unpracticed might end up making them. Even if you’ve come a long way since the first time you held a DSLR, it’s worth reviewing this list so you’ll know which mistakes you’ve moved past, and which ones you may still be making (don’t worry, your secret is safe with me).
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How To Shoot Maternity Photos

Filed in Tips by on June 5, 2015 0 Comments
How To Shoot Maternity Photos

[This is a guest post by photographer Becki Robins]

There are a few truly life-changing events in a person’s life, events that dwarf all of those little every day experiences. Marriage is one of them. Purchasing a home is another. And for many people, one of the most profound of those events is becoming a parent.

I’m sure you’ve shot plenty of baby photos, but what about maternity photos? They’re important too, and you need some special knowledge to do them right. Keep reading to find what you need to know.
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Choosing a Tripod

Filed in Tips by on June 5, 2015 1 Comment
Choosing a Tripod

A lot of photographers just don’t like tripods. If that’s you, I can certainly sympathize. Tripods are a pain. And once you’ve got your camera and tripod firmly planted in one spot, you don’t have a lot of incentive to undo everything and then move to another spot. But despite all their drawbacks, you really do need a tripod.

Without a tripod, you’ll miss out on creative motion blur images. You’ll also have no wonderful, unique low-light photographs, no landscapes with killer clarity and depth of field, no light painting. Without a tripod, you’re limiting yourself far, far more than you are when you use it in any one location.

But not all tripods are the same. So let’s find out what features are available that might actually be of use (or not) to you, personally.
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Why You Should “Get It Right In Camera”

Filed in Tips by on June 5, 2015 2 Comments
Why You Should “Get It Right In Camera”

I know, you spent a bundle on the latest piece of post-processing software. Your most over-used photography phrase is, “I’ll just fix it in post”.

It’s not surprising, really, and you’re not the only one. After all, post-processing has given us some really wonderful tools. We can make images sharper. We can clean up noise. We can fix underexposure and overexposure. We can adjust white balance. In a sense, we’ve kind of made things too easy on ourselves. Because that phrase “I’ll just fix it in post” is on a lot of photographers’ tongues, not just yours.
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The Five Values of Light

Filed in Tips by on May 28, 2015 1 Comment
The Five Values of Light

Before you became a photographer, there was exactly one sort of light. It was either on, or it was off. Sure, there were varying degrees of brightness – there was dim light and there was bright light, but it was all pretty much the same thing.

Then, when you learned how to use a camera, you discovered something new. There’s not just one kind of light. Light has color and direction. It can be hard or soft. It’s no longer just about how bright it is – now light has quality. And what’s more, that quality can make or break your photographs.
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How to Photograph Your Collections

Filed in Tips by on May 28, 2015 0 Comments
How to Photograph Your Collections

So wait, you mean photography isn’t your only hobby? You do other things with your time besides take pictures? Shocking!

Okay, I confess. I have other hobbies too. Most people do. But have you ever considered that you might be able to combine your passion for photography with your passion for your other hobbies? It’s true! And here’s how to do it.
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Metering 101: How To Use Your Camera’s Metering Modes

Filed in Tips by on May 28, 2015 2 Comments
Metering 101: How To Use Your Camera’s Metering Modes

All modern consumer-level cameras come equipped with a light meter. And a good thing too, because without a meter photography would be at best, a game of educated guesses, and at worse, a festival of complete and utter frustration. But if I had to guess, I’d say that this most-important piece of photography equipment is probably the most taken-for-granted of anything that comes equipped on a camera. You change your shutter speed, aperture and ISO pretty regularly. You probably also change your white balance setting and your focusing mode. But you may not pay a whole lot of attention to your meter.
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