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Archive for July, 2013

A Primer For Photographing Glass Objects

A Primer For Photographing Glass Objects

Intermediate If you’ve spent any time experimenting with studio lighting, you can probably guess (or maybe you know from first-hand experience) how challenging it is to shoot photos of glass objects. Glass has a highly reflective surface, which means that you can’t light it the same way you light other subjects. But if you really want to develop an understanding of light and how to work with it, this is a challenge I urge you to undertake, and to keep working at until you get some good results. The ability to shoot glass objects well is a skill that will also help you in your other photographic pursuits.
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23 Outstanding Photos of Glass Objects

23 Outstanding Photos of Glass Objects

Glass product photography is easiest to master with a basic setup: a plain, seamless backdrop with one or two softboxes as your light source(s), or a light tent. Once you’re consistently getting good shots with these basic tools, try branching out a little – shoot your object against a more interesting backdrop and see if you like the results. Experiment with different shaped objects, too; a glass sphere, for example, may require a different approach than a wine glass.
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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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How to take a Perfect Panoramic Photograph

How to take a Perfect Panoramic Photograph

Today’s point and shoot cameras have a ton of bells and whistles. If you own one of these little cameras, you may not even be aware of all of those fancy features. In fact you may be surprised to discover that your little point and shoot (or phone camera) is capable of some things that your DSLR isn’t. One of the most widely under-utilized bells (or maybe whistles) that point and shoot camera have is the panoramic mode. While you certainly can take panoramic images using a camera without this feature, it does make these shots infinitely simpler.

But what if you don’t have one of these cameras? Let’s see how to take images appropriate for panoramas, and how to stitch them together.
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24 Outstanding Panoramas

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24 Outstanding Panoramas

Panoramas look impressive but are actually quite simple to create. The Photomerge utility in Photoshop Elements gives you the ability to stitch together images to create beautiful panoramas such as these. Some point-and-shoots will even do it for you in-camera. Remember that panoramas don’t have to be long, horizontal strips – they can also be vertical, or they can include several rows of images stitched together. You are really only limited by the scenery you want to capture.

Here are 24 outstanding example of Panoramas from Flickr.
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The Best Lenses for 5 Common Scenes

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The Best Lenses for 5 Common Scenes

Without a lens, our DSLRs couldn’t capture an image. The big question for most photographers looking to expand beyond the kit lens that came with their camera is: what lens to I buy next?

I thought I’d shed some light on lenses in order to help you decipher the best lenses for five common scenarios (Family, Flowers, Beach, Night, Landscapes), and depending on your specific needs, you can decide which one makes the grade for your next expenditure and addition to your camera bag.
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When To Use A Cable Release and Remote Shutter Release

When To Use A Cable Release and Remote Shutter Release

One of the least expensive tools in your photography tool box can also be the handiest. Ranked high up there on my list is the cable release or remote shutter release. Professional photographers know that to take the best photos with the least amount of camera shake involved, a tripod mount and a cable release or remote shutter release are must haves. That combination takes the movement of your body out of the equation when you’re shooting photos. Today, I’ll break down the difference before diving into how they’re best used and why one might be better than the other in certain situations.
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Take Photos in Manual Mode for a Month

Take Photos in Manual Mode for a Month

Remember when you were a kid and your dad ceremoniously took the training wheels off your bike. You started out with him holding the back of your bike seat as he ran alongside of you as you pedaled. The next thing you knew his voice was in the distance yelling, “You did it!” What happened after that moment, whether you fell off the bike and scrapped your knew or kept on pedaling, doesn’t matter. The fact is, you rode without the assistance of training wheels.

Swimming might have been a similar experience. Whether you’re young enough to have had those flotation devices or whether you too swimming lessons with someone holding you as you tried to swim from one side of the pool to the other. Eventually, the swimmies and the hands beneath you went away and you swam on your own.

Are you seeing where I’m going with this? It’s time. Yes, it’s time to drop the “Auto” crutch and switch to “Manual” mode on your camera. In order to graduate from hobbyist or amateur to professional in training, there comes a time where you have to free yourself of the help.

Here’s my challenge for you: for one month only use Manual Mode. Of course I wouldn’t put you on a bike or in a pool without some assistance to get you started. If you’ve been a regular reader of my articles, you hopefully know a good deal of what I’m about to tell you, but perhaps have been resistant to letting go of your good friend, Auto Mode.
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7 Steps to Simple Street Photos

7 Steps to Simple Street Photos

Now that everyone on the street is a photographer, street photography has become even more popular due to iPhones and Android phones. Add to it that digital cameras are more reasonably priced than when they first came out, and you have a good mix of cameras that supports the genre.

Camera phones are one thing, but if you’re a photographer with a 75-300mm lens on your camera, a tripod, filters, a camera bag, and whatever other gear in your arsenal, you are going to be more of a presence in the street. Taking street photography to that level will require more, let’s say, tact than someone holding an iPhone.

If you’re a photographer with the above mentioned arsenal of gear, and are thinking about getting into street photography, let me give you some tips so you don’t scare away your subjects.
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How Making Mistakes Can Improve Your Photography

How Making Mistakes Can Improve Your Photography

Your mom probably told you, “We all learn from our mistakes.” And then, you rolled your eyes and went back to whatever it was you were doing incorrectly.
Now I’m going to tell you the same thing. Please don’t be tempted to roll your eyes!

Mistakes are good for you! Really. Without making mistakes, we have no opportunity to learn from them and improve our photos. Mistakes are what make you a much better photographer. But only if you look for them and learn from them. Let’s see how.
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18 Composition Rules For Photos That Shine

18 Composition Rules For Photos That Shine

Rules. When you were a kid, you hated them. You probably still hate at least some of them. For all the good that rules do in our world, they have the ugly side-effect of stifling freedom and individual creativity. And what is photography but a way to express creativity and artistic freedom? There shouldn’t be any “rules”!

Actually, photography rules are kind of like pirate code. More what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules. They are there to provide guidance, but if you need to break them you should do so without regret. Let’s take a look at 18 of the more common composition rules (okay, guidelines) to improve your photography.
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31 Images with Outstanding Composition

31 Images with Outstanding Composition

Great composition is one of those things that you almost can’t define – it’s either there, or it isn’t. Almost anyone – even a non-photographer – can spot outstanding composition, though it’s not always obvious what specific qualities actually made that photo a great one. That’s why the so-called “rules” of composition are really just guidelines – once you’ve mastered them, you can feel free to ignore or use them where you see fit. Here are some examples of images with outstanding composition – see if you can pinpoint the reasons why.
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Incident vs Reflected light and which type gives you better photos

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Incident vs Reflected light and which type gives you better photos

Advanced Successful photography has everything to do with understanding light. Light comes from many different sources ranging from natural, such as the sun, and forced, such as flashes and studio and other indoor lighting. By understanding light and its influence on your images, you can better control the outcome of your photo shoots.

There are two essential forms of light: Incident and Reflective. They work both together to create light and apart in their own separate ways. Understanding the difference between the two is a big start to mastering light.
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How to Highlight a Different Culture in Your Images

How to Highlight a Different Culture in Your Images

If you go on National Geographic’s website and look at all the contributing photographers, it seems as though everyone has access to all sorts of international locations and exotic places. From underwater to rural blacksmith shops to downtown London or Paris to portraits of old Chinese men and women or these dancers in India, international flavor abounds. After all, that’s what National Geographic is known for, and is also what makes it intimidating for amateur photographers to tap into. Because of this, I’d like to address some key points to highlighting different cultures in your images.
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Humor in photography

Humor in photography

They say that laughter increases your lifespan. If that’s true, you might want to try adding a little humor to your photographic repertoire.

It won’t be an easy task. Humor is actually one of the more challenging photographic subjects. There aren’t really any compositional rules or camera settings or filters you can use in your pursuit of that laugh-out-loud image. And photographic humor is different than cracking a joke or relating a funny story. It can be easy to overdo humor in a photograph – and overdone humor means that your viewer is more likely to roll her eyes than laugh out loud. Sometimes subtlety is the best course of action; sometimes in-your-face humor is the way to go. The choice will depend largely on the situation.
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