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Archive for October, 2012

Tips for great Halloween photography

Tips for great Halloween photography

What do ghosts, goblins, and little princesses have in common? They come out after dark. You know, when it’s hard to get good pictures of them.

Halloween presents a lot of problems for photographers, because by the time all the action starts to happen that magic hour we love so much has already come and gone. But if you’re like every other camera-lugging mom, dad or hobbyist in search of a great shot, you don’t want to pass up a great night like Halloween just because the light isn’t right. There are still plenty of things you can do to get some great Halloween shots, and here’s a list to get you started.
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Five Surprising Locations for Photography

Five Surprising Locations for Photography

You can take a great photo anywhere. No, really. Field, junk yard, basement or parking lot–every place has a photo hidden in it somewhere. Your job as a photographer is to look at each new location as you would see it through your viewfinder. When you’re in that basement, find the beautiful, broken down chair sitting in a dusty sunbeam. Zoom in on a length of twisted wire in that overgrown field or record the coming and going of feet in that parking lot.

Stuck for ideas? Here are a five surprising locations for your photo sessions. View these places with an eye for the unusual and try shooting from different angles, isolating backgrounds and zooming in on the interesting features that most people overlook.
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Using Hard Light in Portrait Photography

Using Hard Light in Portrait Photography

Most modern portraits are shot in soft light. Soft lighting is more forgiving, more flattering and easier for beginners to master. So does that mean there’s no place for hard light in portrait photography? Just look at any collection of Hollywood portraits from the 1930s and you’ll have your answer. Golden age movie-stars often preferred to be shot in hard light, because hard light is dramatic and seductive. Drama and seduction, as we still understand today, help sell movie tickets. But shooting in hard light can be tricky. Here’s how to create hard light portraits that will give your subjects a glamorous, dramatic quality.
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Overcoming the Between-Season Doldrums

Overcoming the Between-Season Doldrums

If you live in an area that has two or four seasons, then you know what it’s like to feel the doldrums of between-season photography. Right now in many parts of the world, trees are bare, the color gone, and it’s too soon for the punch of snowscapes to compensate. If you’re outdoors, everything through the lens looks blah. The same goes for the winter to spring transition. Snow melts to muddy messes and the buds of spring don’t quite show themselves yet. These are the times when you need to think outside the box, ‘er lens.
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Shooting Stars – Ebook Review

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Shooting Stars – Ebook Review

[ebook review] For many amateur photographers, the night sky is an intimidating subject. Even a beginning photographer understands that good photos require good light, and there is very little of that in the night time. So, night sky photography must belong in the realm of the professional photographer – after all, you need special equipment to shoot in the dark, don’t you?

That’s why I was so excited when I read the new ebook by Phil Hart – Shooting Stars. He explained that most modern DSLR cameras are equipped with advanced image sensors that make it possible for almost anyone to capture amazing images of the night sky. But knowing that your camera is capable of taking good photos at night doesn’t really help much if you don’t have the right instruction. And that’s where Shooting Stars excels.
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Taking Perfect Pictures of Plants

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Taking Perfect Pictures of Plants

If your last photo shoot was at a zoo or a kid’s birthday party, you might be tired of moving subjects. Don’t worry, every photographer eventually wearies of shooting subjects who turn their butts towards you at the last second (zoos) or who have cake all over their faces (birthday parties). It’s time to relax and schedule a photo shoot with that most immobile and cooperative of subjects: Plants.
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Black and White Photography

Black and White Photography

Digital photography has done a lot of great things for us. It’s made film unnecessary, which means that individual shots no longer cost anything and you are now free to take as many pictures as you want without fear of wasted film. A related benefit is that you no longer need to choose a specific film to put in your camera–if you want to shoot at a higher ISO there’s no need to go out and purchase that high ISO film–instead, you just select the correct ISO in your camera’s settings. And the same is true for black and white vs. color. If your camera allows it, you can switch back and forth between black and white on the fly, or you can do as many conversions as you like in post-processing. But there are still some things you need to remember to ensure that your digital black and white images are as beautiful as the black and white film photos taken decades ago.
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Ask David: Reducing Blur In Pet Photos

Ask David: Reducing Blur In Pet Photos

No one can argue that camera lenses and cute dogs go together like peanut butter and jelly. After all, who doesn’t want to capture memories of their dog from puppy to adulthood? Our dogs’ photos go on the mantel, in photo albums, and on our walls just like the rest of the family’s photos do. But, photographing your pup can be a bit of a challenge, as one reader found out. After a few valiant attempts at it, Ramona Samoila e-mailed me her photos and asked for an analysis. Here’s my response, and the happy ending.
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What is the Neutral Density Filter?

What is the Neutral Density Filter?

Photoshop has replaced a lot of the gadgets we used to depend on as photographers. Colored and soft focus filters are now no longer needed because their effects can be duplicated easily in post-processing. Warming/cooling filters for different types of light are also no longer useful because most digital cameras have a white balance setting that makes them completely obsolete. But some filters can’t be easily replaced with a simple Photoshop command, and one of the most practical is the neutral density filter. In this article, I’ll explain what a Neutral Density filter is, and when it’s helpful to use one.
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Six Classic Design Elements for Outstanding Photographs

Six Classic Design Elements for Outstanding Photographs

What’s the difference between a snapshot and a photograph? Between an ordinary photograph and a great photograph?

It may surprise you to hear that even in modern photography, the answer to those questions can be found in design principles that are centuries old. All great photographs contain at least one of six elements that great works of art also contain. Keep these design principles in mind, and your snapshots will become great photos almost without effort.
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Adobe Elements 11 Review

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Adobe Elements 11 Review

[review] Adobe Photoshop Elements is an entry-level photo editing program. Whether out of intimidation or price limits, most beginners shy away from Photoshop CS and start with Elements. But, with Adobe Elements 11’s new looks and features, many won’t feel the need to bump up to Photoshop CS because what they need in a photo-editor is more than sufficient in Elements.
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7 Tips for Photographing Teenagers

7 Tips for Photographing Teenagers

When it comes to photographing kids, most photography sites put their emphasis on little kids from chasing toddlers to capturing the crayon holding moments. Very few blogs focus their advice on capturing teenagers; however, technically, until they’re 18 in most countries, teenagers are kids too! And sometimes they can be harder to photograph than toddlers; however, the challenges are different. These can be some of the most rewarding images because you’re capturing them at a stage between innocence and loss of innocence. These tips will help you put a smile on even the kids sporting braces and attitudes.
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The Magical Image

The Magical Image

How many photos have you shot this year? This decade? How many have you shared online through avenues like social media? These are rhetorical questions, of course, but where I’m going with it is that every photographer wants to capture that one magical image. The life changing, and sometimes career changing, image that puts them on the map. You’ve seen them. The images that go viral and receive accolades worldwide like a hot YouTube video that lands a singer a record deal. A photograph of a special moment that captures the hearts of many and gets at the very least its fifteen minutes of fame. No matter how many photos, and some may have even been better technically, the photographer took in that year or decade or lifetime, the one that caught the attention and went viral was the “winner.” In many cases, it’s a spontaneous capture with innocent intentions. But because the image pulls at people’s heartstrings, it goes viral.
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Animal and Wildlife Photography

Animal and Wildlife Photography

We all have them. Those photos from the family camping trip or from a hike in the woods–you know, when you spotted a deer or a wild turkey and you snapped a photo with your point-and-shoot. And now when you show that photo to your friends and family, you have to tell them what they’re looking at because said deer or wild turkey is a mere spec in the center of the frame.

Wildlife photography is difficult, because wild animals are, believe it or not, even less willing to be photographed than an active toddler or a moody teenager. So what can you do to turn that little spec in the frame into a photo that any National Geographic photographer would be proud of?
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