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Archive for September, 2013

16 Tips for Better Landscapes

16 Tips for Better Landscapes

To the snap-shooter, nothing could be simpler than a landscape. Just find some pretty scenery, lift your camera and press the button. Viola! Landscape.

Now if you’re not a mere snap-shooter, you know the absolute folly of what I just said. While it’s true that it’s easy to shoot a landscape, it is also extremely difficult to capture one. What I mean of course is that anyone can lift a camera and press the button, and because landscapes don’t move it seems as if capturing one should be as easy as that. But you and I both know that recreating a beautiful, three-dimensional scene in a two dimensional medium is much more difficult than just hitting that shutter button. Let’s see how to do it…
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26 Outstanding Landscapes

26 Outstanding Landscapes

Landscape photography is one of the most popular branches of photography, and also one of the most difficult to master. Landscapes are vast, and photographs are not. It is the landscape photographer’s job to recreate that sense of enormity onto a flat, small-scale medium. This may sound daunting, but there are a lot of tricks you can use to help bring your landscapes to life. Remember to include a foreground, for example, and try using compositional techniques such as converging lines and overlapping objects. And look at the work of other photographers for inspiration, too. Here are a few to get you started.
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Photographic Exposure Explained

Photographic Exposure Explained

Exposure can be defined as the process of capturing light with your camera to produce an image on the digital sensor. Basically, this is how much light gets into your camera. Each of us has had the experience of taking pictures only to find that they are very dark or way too light. This is caused by incorrect exposure. Today, let’s talk about exposure, what it means to be overexposed and underexposed, and how to achieve proper exposure.
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Have you got style?

Have you got style?

I don’t mean fashion, of course. I don’t care about your hat or your jacket or your shoes. I’m talking about the kind of style people see when they look at your photographs, not at you. Style is not so important when you’re a beginner, because most beginning photographers are still getting their feet wet. A beginning photographer is just starting to explore the different realms of photography, to experiment with composition, subject and light. Most beginning photographers have yet to develop a personal style.

But as you move on from experimentation to mastery, if you don’t have your own, personal style there’s going to be a very big something missing from your portfolio. Serious photographers need to have style.
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Should I rent a DSLR to see if I need to upgrade?

Should I rent a DSLR to see if I need to upgrade?

Buying a new camera body is a big commitment and often time requires selling your current camera in order to have the funds to purchase a new one. The upgrade can be intimidating even if you’ve done it before. Our cameras become our best friends. Much like the relationships we foster with people, the connection you have with your camera is built over time as you learn its individual idiosyncrasies. So why not ‘try before you buy’ with your next camera.
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Creating Better Black and White Photos

Creating Better Black and White Photos

Back in the caveman days, you know, when we took photos on film, a formal education in photography often began with black and white. Black and white photography was a good format for beginning students because the film was easy to process and darkroom techniques were straightforward. Today we bypass that whole film-to-darkroom thing, so a lot of us are passing over the opportunity to learn about shooting in black and white. After all, why would we want to shoot in drab shades of gray? We live in a color world.

If this is your thinking, it’s time to re-examine the way you think about photography – and the way you see the world around you. Black and white photos have something that color photos do not: simplicity. When you strip away all the color from a scene, you immediately have something that is simpler than its original.
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20 Examples of Outstanding Black and White Images

20 Examples of Outstanding Black and White Images

Black and white images are beautiful and classic – so don’t be tempted to use shortcuts when it comes to creating them. Your camera’s black and white mode and that “convert to grayscale” button in Photoshop seem so simple, but they aren’t going to give you the excellent range of tones that these photos have.
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Five Surprising Uses for your Camera’s Self-Timer

Five Surprising Uses for your Camera’s Self-Timer

Most modern cameras have a self-timer feature. You might know this feature best as that setting that allows you to actually be in the photo as well as your subjects. This is particularly great for photogra-moms and/or photogra-dads. You know, the person in your family who is always behind the camera and never in the photo. The person who, as a result, is so absent from the family album that viewers wonder if she or he actually comes along on any of those family outings.

Self timers are great for those family photographers because they allow the person behind the camera to get in front of the camera. But did you know self-timers have other uses too?
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Capturing the Heart and Soul of Your Subjects

Capturing the Heart and Soul of Your Subjects

The difference between an acceptable photograph and an amazing one is often made not in camera or post-production but in your ability to connect with your subject. This becomes especially important that when those subjects are people. While cameras don’t steal souls like it was once believed in some cultures, they do give us the ability record and revisit people, places, and things as they once were. In order to capture the soul of your subject, you will need to think about how we interact with each other every day and pay attention to the small details that make us each unique.
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Dealing with Difficult Lighting Situations

Filed in Light, Tips by 6 Comments
Dealing with Difficult Lighting Situations

In the Photographer’s Perfect Paradise, the golden hour would last all day long. The light would forever be soft, your subjects would never squint and raccoon eyes would simply be markings on the face of a common North American procyonid.

But alas, we do not live in a Perfect Paradise. After all, we have to get up at dark-o-clock to take advantage of that elusive morning golden hour, and neither it nor the one in the afternoon lasts as long as we need them to. And the rest of the time, the light varies from occasionally splendid to just OK, to absolutely terrible. Can you hear those tiny violins? We photographers have it tough. Painters, they have it made. They can just paint the right light. We have to wait for it to come along. Or do we?
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Three Best Lenses for your DSLR

Filed in Lens, Tips by 21 Comments
Three Best Lenses for your DSLR

The best lenses for your DSLR depend on a lot of factors. Variables such as the camera brand, camera model, types of photography you do most, and your personal preferences are all components to picking the best lenses for your specific needs. Here I’ve outlined some recommendations that take those variants into consideration. Read on, but please try not to get gear envy!
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The Pros and Cons of Mirrorless Cameras

The Pros and Cons of Mirrorless Cameras

Note: This article was written in 2013 and most of the information here is now out of date.

When mirrorless cameras first hit the market I was skeptical. My conversion from a 35mm film camera to a DSLR was a huge jump; the idea of then making the change from DSLR to mirrorless seemed like an even larger leap. Despite my initial hesitance, I thought it only fair to research mirrorless cameras before passing judgment. The truth is we are all gadget geeks. We love having as many options in our arsenal as possible so that we have the ability to shoot everything and use those gadgets to mold out final photograph. So let’s talk about mirrorless cameras. How they differ from DSLR cameras, and the pros and cons to this new technology so that you can decide if you have a place for one in your camera bag and your photography.
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Using a Vanishing Point in your Photography

Using a Vanishing Point in your Photography

Let’s put things into perspective. Yes, I know, stupid pun. There are lots of little tricks we use as photographers to subtly convey the point we want to show. Using perspective and a vanishing point in your photos is a great way to emphasize the large scale of a landscape, or to add a sense of drama to your images. Let’s see how.
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24 Outstanding Photos with Vanishing Points

24 Outstanding Photos with Vanishing Points

You are already well aware that one of a photographer’s biggest challenges is recreating three dimensions on a two-dimensional medium. In order to do this effectively, we have to take advantage of those elements in an environment that add perspective to a scene. One way to do this is to include converging sets of parallel lines, otherwise known as a vanishing point. This not only makes an image appear to have depth, it also draws the viewer’s eye into the image. Need some examples? Here’s a handful of outstanding images that make good use of vanishing points.
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Cropping 101

Cropping 101

Whether you have years of experience or are a newbie to digital photography, cropping is one of the most basic editing tools you can use to improve the look of your pictures. Ideally you will compose your picture with the subject where you want them, an appealing background, etc. Now try that while chasing your two-year-old around the yard trying to capture the perfect shot! Sometimes you are lucky to even get your subject in the frame, let alone have them ideally situated. Never fear, some simple cropping rules and techniques can greatly enhance the appeal of your edited image. I will give you a few simple suggestions for cropping your pictures – most of which can be done with even the most basic of photo editing software.
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