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Tips

Beyond Snapshots (or, why do all those other photos look better than mine)

Filed in Tips by on July 31, 2014 0 Comments
Beyond Snapshots (or, why do all those other photos look better than mine)

There are two types of photos in this world. No, I don’t mean black and white vs. color. I don’t mean digital vs. film. I mean snapshots vs. works of art.

You have probably taken your share of snapshots. We all have. Snapshots are what happen when we whip out our iPhones to grab a picture of Kid A or Kid B holding that preschool graduation diploma or smearing spaghetti sauce all over his face. And don’t get me wrong, a snapshot of something you want to remember is better than no photo at all. But why settle for a mere snapshot when you can have a work of art instead?
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Understanding Your Camera’s Settings

Filed in Tips by on July 31, 2014 0 Comments
Understanding Your Camera’s Settings

You finally did it. Goodbye point and shoot cameras with fixed lenses, bogus “digital zoom” and little idiot-proof icons in place of real settings. Goodbye sub-par images and limited functionality. You’ve finally entered the world of DSLR photography.

If you’re like a lot of people, the euphoria wore off as soon as you picked up your DSLR’s manual. That thing is like a brick with pages. Flipping through it is an exercise in uselessness and sitting down to read it is something you might have time to do after retirement.

So, maybe you put the manual away and sheepishly set your camera to “Auto.” And maybe that’s where it’s been ever since.

Today, I’ll show you what the most common settings on your camera do, and how to use them effectively.
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Ask David: What camera settings should I use on a sunny day?

Filed in Ask David, Tips by on July 25, 2014 0 Comments
Ask David: What camera settings should I use on a sunny day?

When you are photographing during the sunniest part of the day you are combating two major issues: The first is overexposure and the second is harsh shadows.

First, let’s tackle overexposure. Overexposure occurs when too much light gets into your camera and washes out your photo. To combat overexposure, it’s best to shoot in full manual mode because it will give you the most control. As you adjust each setting, keep an eye on your light meter. It’s going to give you a ballpark as you change your settings and will be your first indication if your shot is going be overexposed.
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Ask David: What’s the best way to change my camera lens?

Filed in Ask David, Tips by on July 25, 2014 0 Comments
Ask David: What’s the best way to change my camera lens?

What’s the best way to change lenses? What happens if I get dust on my lens? What about on my sensor?

The best way to change your lens is as fast as you can without damaging your gear. Minimizing the amount of time the camera and back element of the lenses are exposed to the elements minimizes the potential for dirt and other particulates to get into your camera body. Don’t change your lenses in a rainstorm, while cleaning out a dusty attic, or on the sand at the beach if at all avoidable. Those environments can wreak havoc on the internal workings of your camera.

Here is my typical lens change procedure, step by step:
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Ask David: What are the red and silver lines on Canon lenses?

Filed in Ask David, Tips by on July 25, 2014 0 Comments
Ask David: What are the red and silver lines on Canon lenses?

“Why do some Canon lenses have a red line and others have a silver line? What’s the difference? What about the gold line and the green line?”

Canon uses the different colored rings to denote a lens’s features and distinguish the different lenses from each other. It should be noted that while the colored rings always mean the same thing when used; Canon has been a little wishy-washy about always using them. Just because a lens is lacking the colored ring, doesn’t mean it doesn’t fall into one of the established lens divisions, it just means you will have to look harder to get the information you seek. Let’s discuss what each of the lines mean.
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Pointers for the Perfect Self-Portrait

Filed in Tips by on July 17, 2014 0 Comments
Pointers for the Perfect Self-Portrait

Are you guilty of an occasional selfie? Most of us are. It’s true, we are a selfie-obsessed culture but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Self-portraits have a long history as part of an artist’s journey of self-discovery. They give us a way to try out new techniques, fail in privacy, learn, grow and adapt as photographers. They are also a way to chart how we physically change over time. Here are some items and practices that help me achieve the self-portrait I set out to create.
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Intermediate Night Photography

Filed in Tips by on July 17, 2014 1 Comment
Intermediate Night Photography

If you have dabbled in night photography, you are probably familiar with the unique lighting scenarios and magical images you can capture once the lights are out. You may think of night as a black time, but streetlights, signs, and car headlights add colored light to photos that you do not encounter during the light of day. You can challenge yourself and create beautiful images capturing fluorescent, tungsten, yellow/orange streetlights, or even multi colored neon light sources. There are also natural sources of light in the moon and stars just begging to be photographed. If you have already gone to the dark side and delved into the exciting world of night photography, read on to discover some new tricks to try. Jaw dropping photos await!
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How Important is a Lens Hood?

Filed in Tips by on July 10, 2014 6 Comments
How Important is a Lens Hood?

The lens hood; that ubiquitous, sometimes-cumbersome piece of plastic found at the tip of lenses nowadays. Is it really useful? How important is it anyway? Is it just an aesthetic piece of apparatus that can make your camera look cool? If we better understood the hood’s many uses, then we can begin to realize its value and indispensability. Let’s see just what this gadget is really for:
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Lens Focal Lengths for Common Situations

Filed in Tips by on July 10, 2014 2 Comments
Lens Focal Lengths for Common Situations

Have you ever wondered what lens you should be using to get a shot? What type of photos do you take? Are you all about people and portraits? Do you get in on the sports action? Are you always on the lookout for wildlife? Different photographic situations call for different lenses. If you have only your kit lens, take a moment to feel deprived, and then read on because someday you will likely be in the market for an additional lens. Lenses come in different focal lengths that serve different purposes so read on to understand more about different lenses to use in a variety of common photographic situations.
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Taking Fabulous Photos in a “No Flash” Zone

Filed in Tips by on July 10, 2014 1 Comment
Taking Fabulous Photos in a “No Flash” Zone

In low light situations, the flash is usually your “go to” solution. But what if you can’t use it? You may be in a “no flash” zone in a museum or aquarium, or it may not be socially appropriate for flash usage. Your best friend probably wouldn’t appreciate you flashing away like paparazzi while she says her wedding vows. It is still possible to take a good picture in low light conditions without using your flash. It requires a bit more work on your part, but you will likely be pleased with the result. Flashes create unflattering light, flatten digital images, and cause reflections off glass display cases so it may not be the best solution anyway.
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Dazzling Fireworks Photography

Filed in Tips by on July 3, 2014 7 Comments
Dazzling Fireworks Photography

Fireworks are fantastic to see in photos but are hard to shoot well. However, there are a number of techniques that can allow you to take some spectacular shots of fireworks. In this video, I’ll show you the techniques you can use to take some dazzling fireworks photos.
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Ask David: Should I purchase an off-brand lens for my camera?

Filed in Tips by on July 3, 2014 0 Comments
Ask David: Should I purchase an off-brand lens for my camera?

Off brand, or third-party lenses, have both perks and pitfalls. Some photographers will swear by third-party lenses, while others swear they are not as sharp or reliable as a proprietary lens. The first and probably the most important advantage of an off brand lens is the price. Quite often, third-party gear companies make lenses that are similar in capability to those produced by major camera companies at a fraction of the cost, especially when you get into higher end or more specialized lenses. For example, a Canon 24-105mm f/4L USM lens retails for about $1100, while a very similar lens by Sigma retails for $899.
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Ask David : Should I Purchase a 16-270mm lens?

Filed in Tips by on July 3, 2014 10 Comments
Ask David : Should I Purchase a 16-270mm lens?

I was recently asked this question: “I have a 18-55 mm and 75-300 mm lens. I am considering buying a 16-270 mm. Is this a good idea?”

My first instinct is to say no. Between the two zoom lenses you already have, you cover pretty much all of the ground a 16-270mm lens is capable of perusing plus some. Also, as a rule of thumb, a range with a longer lens (ie 16-260mm) is not normally going to produce the same quality as a lens with a shorter zoom range (ie 18-55) or a prime lens.

I would look into lenses that cover ground my current gear doesn’t but ultimately, it truly depends on the type of photography you shoot the most. Let me explain.
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How to Create the Perfect Silhouette

Filed in Tips by on July 3, 2014 0 Comments
How to Create the Perfect Silhouette

Have you ever seen a silhouette of two people embracing each other on the beach and wondered how to translate it into a beautiful image? The romance of a silhouette is rarely matched. They are timeless and mysterious. These iconic images use the shape of a person, item or structure, devoid of details to create a simple but emotional photograph. Despite their simple structure, there are some technical and artistic techniques you can use to make the process easier and the end result better.
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Why Do Cloudy Day Photos Seem Flat?

Filed in Tips by on June 27, 2014 0 Comments
Why Do Cloudy Day Photos Seem Flat?

If you’re like most beginners in photography, taking photos on a cloudy day is almost often a challenge. It seems no matter how much you try and how often you hear well-meaning advice from professionals, the tips don’t seem to work. The photos you take almost always come out darn flat! What could be wrong?

First you’ll need to understand some fundamental aspects of lighting and their visual relationship to the subjects of the photos you take. Hopefully these will explain why cloudy day photos seem to be flat.
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