Aperture is one of the three settings that make up “the exposure triangle.” Along with shutter speed, your aperture essentially controls how much light reaches your image sensor. Your image sensor, in turn, is responsible for forming the image, which is then saved to your memory card.
Because aperture is one of the three settings that you can use to control exposure, it may not be immediately clear why it might make a difference whether you choose a large aperture or a small one, just so long as you’re getting the correct exposure. But while getting good exposure should be one of your primary goals as a photographer, it doesn’t address things that you can do creatively to change your results. So with that in mind, here are a few situations where you might need a large aperture—both from a practical standpoint and from a creative one. Continue Reading »
If you’re like most pet-owning photographers, you have close to a billion photographs of your favorite dog or cat. Well maybe not a billion exactly, but let’s face it, your pet might actually be the most photographed pet in all the world. You’ve got pictures of him sleeping, you’ve got pictures of him sitting, you’ve got pictures of him standing around and you’ve got pictures of him just being generally adorable. But unless you’ve really spent some time thinking creatively about all the different ways you might be able to photograph him, the chances are you don’t have many images that have that real “wow” factor, or the ability to really impress someone who doesn’t already know your pet well. In this article, I’m going to let you in on some secrets for fun and unusual pet portraits that aren’t like anything you have in your current photo album. Read on to find out more. Continue Reading »
There are some things about photography that remain as true today as they were 100 years ago. Narrow apertures produce photos with broad depth of field, for example, while wide apertures produce images with shallow depth of field. Fast shutter speeds freeze action, slow shutter speeds create motion blur. And high ISOs create images with noise or grain, while low ISOs do not. Except that the last one isn’t really true anymore—but people still think it is. Read on to learn more. Continue Reading »
This is a question I hear from photographers at all learning stages, and unfortunately I can’t give you a black and white answer. Travelling with or without your DSLR is a very personal choice, and you might make a different decision than I would. What I can do for you, however, is give you a list of questions that you’ll want to answer before you decide whether to pack up your DSLR or leave it at home. Continue Reading »
If you’re like most other photographers, you almost certainly have some trees in your portfolio. You are drawn to them because they have great natural beauty and interesting shapes. They’re colorful, too. During the summer their leaves are a brilliant green, and in the autumn they turn spectacular shades of red, orange and yellow. In the springtime some of them will bear flowers. But many of us don’t ever go beyond stepping back and taking a photo of the tree in its entirety. After all, trees can be huge and imposing, and it seems natural to try and capture the whole impressive thing in a single image. But the really cool thing about trees is that they are more than just the sum of their parts.
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Shhhhh! Did you hear that? Is it the moans of the undead? The groans of trapped souls? Or is it just you looking in disappointment at last year’s Halloween photos? Continue Reading »
Are drones the future of photography? Probably.
In recent years, these amazing flying contraptions have become tremendously popular among photographers, and it’s easy to see why. You only have to look at the stunning photos and videos – all of which would have been extremely difficult or virtually impossible with any regular, non-airborne camera – to be convinced of the endless possibilities that drone photography has to offer.
Being a travel photographer, I knew I had to jump on the drone bandwagon. I could definitely see myself enjoying drone photography, and I knew it would give me more artistic freedom and provide me with exciting new opportunities for capturing the unbelievable sights that I frequently came upon during my travels.
With that in mind, I began my drone photography journey.
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Not every scene makes for a great landscape, and not every landscape makes for a great panorama. Panoramas, in fact, are pretty subjective. I’ve seen some really terrible landscape panoramas, and some really great panoramas that aren’t landscapes at all. So how do you know when to click over to that panorama setting on your brand new camera? Read on to find out.
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Some things in life are permanent and predictable. The Golden Gate Bridge. The Sydney Opera House. The rising and setting of the sun. And that one weird guy who always pushes his bike around the neighborhood instead of riding it. If you want to photograph these things, you’re not going to have any trouble seeking them out and getting the shot. You can do so year-round, with almost no exceptions.
Other things in life are fleeting. A lightning storm, for example. A rainbow. Or wildflowers. Here are a few tips for photographing the latter. Continue Reading »
If you’ve ever taken a basic drawing class, either in high school or in college, there’s a good chance that one of the first things your instructor asked you to sketch was a bowl of fruit. Now, looking at some classic still life paintings, you would think that the only thing the old masters had to do with their time was to sit around and contemplate bowls of fruit, but there was really a lot more to it than that. Because of its shape, a piece of fruit is a wonderful study in light and shadow. And depending on the skin or peel of that piece of fruit, it can also be a wonderful study in texture. So how can you use this abundant and classically photogenic subject to create beautiful images? Keep reading to find out. Continue Reading »
When you’re new to your camera, you will most likely just stick with your auto modes. After all, the photos your camera takes are all pretty good. You never really get camera shake or motion blur, and your photographs are usually pretty well exposed. There comes a point in time, though, when pretty good isn’t good enough anymore, and that’s when you’re going to want to move out of auto mode and into the more advanced settings. But before that happens, you have to understand why certain problems happen, sometimes even in those auto modes, and what you do to correct them.
[This is a continuation of my “Beginner Photography Questions” series. See the first post here.]
Every artist needs a source of inspiration, whether it’s a “muse” (your kids, your spouse), a list of your favorite photographers on Flickr or a place, such as a beautiful natural spot or your own neighborhood. But sometimes even the most tried and true sources of inspiration can fail to give you the kind of motivation you need, and that’s when you need to find other ideas. Personally, I like to adopt a project—not necessarily just a particular theme but a whole project idea, something that will require time and effort. I find that after I’ve spent a few hours, days or even weeks absorbed in a specific project, my creativity gets a big boost overall. Do you have any photo projects you’ve been longing to try out? Now is the time—and if not, here are some of my favorite ideas. Continue Reading »
If you’re new to your camera, or to photography in general, it can be really easy to get discouraged. After all, most modern cameras have a seemingly infinite number of
different buttons and menu options (confession: there are probably one or two menu options my own camera has that I still don’t know how to use), and that manual is approaching the size of War & Peace. If you spent some time bumbling around your menu system and then just put everything in auto mode in order to end the pain, I can’t say I blame you. But I’d also like to reassure you that being a beginner does not mean that you have to let your inexperience dampen your creativity. Even as a beginner, you can take some awesome, pro-quality images just by following a few basic tips. Here’s how.
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