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Composition

Using Unique Angles to Create Spectacular Photos

Using Unique Angles to Create Spectacular Photos

Have you ever found yourself in a rut? I don’t mean a professional one, or a personal one, I mean a photographic one. Let’s say you take pictures every single day, and when you open them up on your computer you just find yourself, well, bored. All those pictures of your grandkids look exactly the same. Your landscapes all look exactly the same. Even your street photos seem to be missing something. No matter what you do, you just can’t seem to break out of that boring photo rut.

Creative block is difficult to overcome, no matter what your art form. So what can you do to jumpstart your way out of this rut? Read on to find out. Continue Reading »

Using Vertical Lines in Your photography

Using Vertical Lines in Your photography

I know you’ve heard a lot about diagonal lines, and how they can be used to add depth and dimension to a photograph. Diagonal lines are wonderful because they act as arrows, drawing your viewer’s eye into a scene and encouraging it to spend some time looking around. But what about vertical lines? What do they do for your photographs? Keep reading to find out. Continue Reading »

Using Horizontal Lines in Your Photography

Using Horizontal Lines in Your Photography

Diagonal lines lead the eye, vertical lines imply strength, height and majesty, now what about horizontal lines? We use horizontal lines in our photography probably more than we even realize. Almost every landscape photograph has a horizontal line, or at least an implied horizontal line—and that’s the horizon. But you can find horizontal lines in other places too, and you can use them to create different moods and emotions in your photos. Keep reading to find out how. Continue Reading »

How to Give Your Subject a Sense of Scale

How to Give Your Subject a Sense of Scale

The trouble with photographs is the size we print them at. If you get your prints done at the local pharmacy or from online services like Shutterfly or Snapfish, the chances are pretty good that you order most of them at that old standard size of 4×6. And when you think about it, most of the things that you take photographs of are actually a whole lot bigger than that, with the exception of macro subjects. Even when your subject is an average-sized person, he or she dwarfs that 4×6 image stamped on a two dimensional surface. So what’s a photographer to do to give that tiny little image a real sense of scale?
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The Three Composition Rules That Work Best (and why)

The Three Composition Rules That Work Best (and why)

Photography rules, as you know, are really just guidelines. If you break the rules of thirds, for example, you will not be punished. The hand of the photography gods will not come out of the sky and take your DSLR away from you. You will not be shamed by the composition police (well, maybe in some circles you will, but you should probably just avoid those people). The rule of thirds – like all those other rules – is just there to give you an idea about how to compose a photograph. There’s no law that says you have to use it.

But the thing is, those rules exist because most of the time, they do work. So how can you look at any given scene and know for sure which one (if any) of the many compositional rules you should apply?
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Mastering Composition

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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Repeating Patterns

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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Effectively Using Repeating Patterns in Your Photographs

Effectively Using Repeating Patterns in Your Photographs

Repetition in our mundane daily lives can be boring. Repeating patterns however, add life, zeal and impact to an image. Patterns are to photography, what rhythm is to music. Repeating patterns, if captured the right way, strengthen an image. Ten pillars on a porch, a hundred umbrellas on the beach, a thousand bricks on a wall and a million petals on a field… repetition takes a life of its own.
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How To Do It: Blurred Backgrounds

How To Do It: Blurred Backgrounds

You see it all the time in professional photographs; amazing portraits with the subject in front of a soft, blurred background. That beautiful baby or gorgeous model immediately draws your eye. How do they do that? Do you need years of training and top of the line equipment to make this happen? Definitely not! You do not need to be an expert or have an expensive lens to achieve this look. This is one of the easiest things you can try to add a new dimension to your photography. A little knowledge, your DSLR, and a kit lens are all that is required. I will describe simple adjustments you can make today to get that out-of-focus background and add artistic flair to your photos.
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Breaking the Rules: Ignoring the Rule of Thirds

Breaking the Rules: Ignoring the Rule of Thirds

I’m not going to say, “Rules were meant to be broken”, because everyone already knows that. Besides, it’s such a cliché. So I’ll just say that in photography, the word “rule” doesn’t mean the same thing as at means, say, in politics. Not that it means anything there, either.

In photography, rules are like pirate code: they’re really more like guidelines. You can break them, but you need to have a good reason. So to help you along in that goal, I’d like to welcome you to my series on breaking photography rules, starting with the grand master of all photography rules, the rule of thirds.
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Different Perspectives To Spice Up Your Photos

Different Perspectives To Spice Up Your Photos

Perspective refers to the relationship of imaged objects in a photograph. Sounds exciting, right? Believe it or not it actually is! You probably do not give it much thought but every time you take a picture your camera is taking a three dimensional scene and creating a two dimensional image of it. Perspective is what gives a sense of depth and spatial relationships between the objects in your photograph. Just by putting a little thought and creativity into perspective you can dramatically improve the composition of your photos. Read on to discover what you can do as a photographer to try new perspectives in your composition and freshen up your photos.
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Using a Vanishing Point in your Photography

Using a Vanishing Point in your Photography

Let’s put things into perspective. Yes, I know, stupid pun. There are lots of little tricks we use as photographers to subtly convey the point we want to show. Using perspective and a vanishing point in your photos is a great way to emphasize the large scale of a landscape, or to add a sense of drama to your images. Let’s see how.
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10 Tips to Finding the Perfect Background

10 Tips to Finding the Perfect Background

Unless you’re a professional portrait photographer, you probably don’t have backdrops for shooting portraits. That’s okay, because there are a lot of ways to exclude or include backgrounds that best enhance your portraits. From blurring the background to finding an appropriate one and more, I’ve got Ten Tips that you can use the next time you’re photographing someone, whether it’s a more formal portrait or a candid shot. The first few speak to post-processing, while the rest are tricks you can use in the field.
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What is Vignetting? How Can I Avoid It or Get Rid of It?

What is Vignetting? How Can I Avoid It or Get Rid of It?

Vignetting is one of those photography occurrences that people seem to love or hate. If you’re not even sure what it is, technically speaking, vignetting is a decrease in brightness of a photograph around its edges, usually most apparent in the corners, which are furthest from the center of your photograph. The brightness of the photograph is compromised in these darkened spots, and vignetting can have a negative effect on the accurate saturation.

When it comes to photography, vignetting is often undesirable; although to some degree, its popularity is on the rise due to Instagram and other camera app filter capabilities. However, when you’re using your DSLR, you should know when it’s going to happen and how to avoid it if you don’t want the effect. Let me get to the bottom of it for you.
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How to fix (or just avoid) Distracting Backgrounds

How to fix (or just avoid) Distracting Backgrounds

Have you ever snapped what seemed like a great picture only to discover that there was something in the background that slaughtered your otherwise perfect shot? Maybe it was a person wearing bright colors doing something incredibly boring, like feeding a parking meter. Maybe it was a photobomb, and not the good kind, either. And then there’s those non-animate background distractions: tree branches that seem to grow right out of your subject’s head, or signs directing the whole neighborhood and everyone who sees your photo to the nearest laundromat.

Yes, backgrounds are important. And to the extent that they can actually turn a great shot into something terrible, they can sometimes be even more important than your subject.
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