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Common Mistakes

How to learn from your mistakes (or, why no photo is a wasted photo)

How to learn from your mistakes (or, why no photo is a wasted photo)

This might have been a harder sell a few decades ago, when a ruined photograph meant some sort of financial cost. Back in the day, if you ruined a whole roll of 36 exposures, you’d be pretty annoyed it yourself. Not only would you be out the cost of the film, you’d also be out of the cost of the development and the time that it took to take your film into the photo shop or pharmacy and wait around for it to come back. And after all of that, you might not be inclined to look at those exposures and try to figure out what went wrong. In fact, you might be annoyed enough that you just throw the whole lot in a trashcan and try to get on with your life.

Today, things are different. Today, we don’t have to pay for every exposure, so we can shoot 36 of them, or even 100, get them all completely wrong and not have to pay a dime. Of course, you might argue that there is a loss of time to take into consideration, but my counter argument would be that the time hasn’t really been lost. Because whenever you make a mistake of any kind, there is an opportunity to learn from that mistake. And these days we also have a little something called EXIF, which helps make it even easier to look at those failed photographs and judge exactly where they went wrong. Read on for more. Continue Reading »

The secret to perfect exposures

The secret to perfect exposures

If you use auto mode, aperture priority mode or shutter priority mode, you may have noticed something. Most of the time, your camera does a pretty good job figuring out how to expose a shot, but every now and then—maybe even more frequently than you’re comfortable with—you get a photo that’s really overexposed, or really underexposed. How can this happen in auto mode (or priority mode) and is there anything you can do about it? Read on to find the answer. Continue Reading »

How To Take Memorable Photos

How To Take Memorable Photos

Quick, think back on all the photos you’ve seen in your life. What, you can’t remember them all? You can’t even remember most of them? So which ones do you remember? Chances are, there are a few that immediately come to mind. How about Raising the flag on Iwo Jima, by Joe Rosenthal? Or Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry, or Lunch Atop a Skyscraper by Charles C. Ebbets? And now that you can name a handful of unforgettable images, can you put your finger on what it is that makes them so unforgettable?

Not all photos are memorable. In fact, most photos aren’t memorable. Just cruise through Flickr or some other photo sharing service and then quiz yourself 15 minutes later about what you saw. How many photos do you think you’ll be able to describe from memory? One or two? Any at all?

As a photographer, you want your photos to be memorable. It’s probably the main reason why you take photos in the first place – either because you want to preserve your own memories, or because you want to create art that someone else will remember. So creating images that will remain in your viewer’s mind long after he looks the other way is quite possibly the most important photography challenge you face. Let’s see how…
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3 Ways to Deal With Messy Shooting Situations

3 Ways to Deal With Messy Shooting Situations

Photography is an art, and art is supposed to be clean and meaningful. But what happens when you’ve scheduled a shoot where your subject lives or works, only to find a huge mess once you get there? It happens to me more often than you might think, and I don’t want to be impolite and simply start cleaning (even though it would yield better photos). That’s why I’ve come up with three techniques you can use to cheat your way through the mess.
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How to avoid blooming

How to avoid blooming

Your mother told you never to look at the sun, or you’ll go blind. Whenever some cameras take a picture of a very bright object (like the sun), the light can get so intense that it doesn’t just affect one part of the image. The light streaks out from the light source and creates a supernova like effect that can consume a significant frame. It’s called “blooming,” and in this article, I’ll show you how to stop it.
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6 Ways To Fix Too Bright and Too Dark Photos

6 Ways To Fix Too Bright and Too Dark Photos

Another email I received this week was from Mark Jones. Mark writes:

I would like some advice on the attached picture. I tried to photograph my band playing a gig in a pub and the light was shining through the window meaning the drummer/guitarist was in almost complete dark, how?why? What should i have had the camera set to?

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Fixing Blurry Images Caused by Shallow Depth of Field

Fixing Blurry Images Caused by Shallow Depth of Field

Sometimes some of the subjects in your shots are in focus, but other subjects that are a little closer or further away are out of focus.

This is an unwanted side effect of having what’s called a ‘Shallow Depth Of Field’.
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