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Archive for November, 2013

Using (and Abusing) Lens Flare

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Using (and Abusing) Lens Flare

Raise your hand if this has happened to you: you’re out shooting some photos in the late afternoon. The light is beautiful (it’s that magic hour), your subjects are particularly photogenic and you just know you’re going to end up with some amazing pictures. Then, when you get home and review your shots, you realize that you failed to take one little factor into account: the sun.

Yes, the sun. It makes the grass green and the tomatoes red. It gives us that beautiful, natural light that can never truly be matched in a studio. And it creates lens flare.

Now if you’re like a lot of photographers, you try to avoid lens flare, and when you have a senior moment like the one described above, you probably just delete the photos, grieve for them a little and then move on. But lens flare isn’t always the disaster that your Photography 101 instructor might have told you it was. In fact some photographers regularly use lens flare as a creative tool. So instead of avoiding lens flare, how can you rein it in and make it a part of your creative process? Let’s see how!
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26 Outstanding Shots of Lens Flare

26 Outstanding Shots of Lens Flare

Lens flare – it’s not just for the recycle bin anymore. To modern photographers, lens flare can be a creative tool and a compositional element. But it pays to know when to use it and when to avoid it, because while it can make some images look amazing it can destroy others. Here’s a list of some outstanding images that use lens flare successfully.
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Why Your Kit Lens Just Doesn’t Cut It

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Why Your Kit Lens Just Doesn’t Cut It

Intermediate The title of this article may fill you with worry or anger or frustration. Did you invest in a nice, digital camera only to find you still have blurry, dull photos? There may be operator problems involved but your lens could also be the culprit. You most likely spent upwards of $500 on a DSLR camera body and now I am telling you the kit lens it came with is not all that hot. Unfortunately that is the truth but don’t throw in the towel yet. You can still use your kit lens while working towards the purchase of a relatively low cost but much higher quality lens. Yes, such a thing does exist! Read on to find out some options that could greatly improve the quality of your photos.
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How To Take Beautiful Bird Photos

How To Take Beautiful Bird Photos

We have all seen amazing photos of birds. Birds in flight, birds staring right back at us, birds ready to strike their prey. Whether it is a hummingbird or a golden eagle, birds are magnificent, majestic subjects for photos. Unfortunately though birds have this advantage called flight, and they don’t often hold still to get their picture taken. With decent equipment, some tricks of the trade, and a lot of practice you too can take beautiful bird photos.
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Shooting in Burst Mode

Shooting in Burst Mode

If you learned how to take photos on an old fashioned SLR camera, complete with $8-per-roll Kodak film (not counting processing fees), then the idea of shooting in burst mode (called “motor drive” in those days) was probably terrifying. Unless, of course, you had financial backing from the newspaper you were working for, or a wildly successful photography business, or maybe you just inherited a small fortune from a wealthy uncle and could afford to burn film.

Lucky for us modern digital photographers, the days where lots of shots meant lots of money are gone. Today most DSLRs (and many point and shoots, too) can shoot in burst mode, which means you can increase your chances of capturing that amazing shot without having to spend your inheritance on film.
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Stretch Your Boundaries: The 100 Strangers Project

Stretch Your Boundaries: The 100 Strangers Project

Are you ready to stretch your creativity? Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone a little – or a lot? The 100 Strangers Project may be just the ticket. This project is just what it sounds like – an initiative to meet and photograph 100 complete strangers! The best way to take on a project this ambitious is to join an online learning group. The benefit is that you have a community of other photographers who are also photographing strangers to learn from and engage in discussion. You can take this journey with a group of like-minded folks and be involved in an amazing, collaborative project!
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Using a Reflector to Soften Hard Light

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Using a Reflector to Soften Hard Light

You know all about the “golden hour”, that hour after sunrise and before sunset, when the light is beautiful and soft. Photographers dream of this light that flatters their subject and makes their work look like a million bucks. Now back to reality. What about that afternoon birthday party you booked, or your own child’s first steps on the beach at midday? There are always occasions when you are forced to shoot in less than ideal lighting situations. The harsh, midday light casts shadows and makes your job as a photographer more difficult, but you can still get great pictures even when it is bright outside. If you are doing a lot of portrait photography, just add a simple, relatively inexpensive tool to your kit – the reflector (and maybe a personal assistant to go with it)!
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Abstract Photography For Beginners

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Abstract Photography For Beginners

Photography as an art is usually based on your viewer looking at all the parts of a photograph and forming meaning based on their world experiences. Abstract photography removes the parameters of context. So it frees you to create the meaning you wish to convey… so your viewer will be able to look at something in a completely new light. Abstract photography is the art of stripping away and stripping down. It helps to have a keen eye for detail and the ability to see an object (often a common everyday item) as its individual parts rather than the whole. Abstract photography is a challenge but there are some basic tips to get you started off in the right direction.
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How to Take a Great Selfie

How to Take a Great Selfie

If you’ve been living in a tent on the tundra or under a rock in your backyard, you may not have heard the term “selfie.” In your defense, the term itself isn’t really that old – it was coined in 2005 as a way to describe a special kind of self-portrait. A selfie isn’t usually a carefully composed image of the photographer in his studio, taken with a tripod mounted camera on the timer setting (though it can be). “Selfie” usually refers to an image that is much more informal that that, generally taken with a digital camera or smart phone held at arm’s length, snapped on the fly and usually destined for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or some other form of social media.

Now you know what a Selfie is, but have you even taken a good one?
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22 Outstanding Self-Portraits

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22 Outstanding Self-Portraits

No doubt about it, self-portraits are an art form. It’s not just because of the logistics of setting up the shot and jumping into the frame, but also because, well, self-portraits are hard. A good self-portrait must be expressive without being pretentious, and that’s a fine line to walk. Not sure how to proceed? Check out this list of excellent self-portraits to see what has worked for other photographers.
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Breathtaking Bridge Photos

Breathtaking Bridge Photos

Whether you live in a big city or a rural area, there is bound to be a bridge nearby you could photograph. You may not live near one of those awe inspiring, famous bridges but almost any bridge has visual interest that is photograph worthy. If you are looking for new material, consider taking a drive to find a bridge. There is no “right” way to photograph a bridge, but there are definitely things to consider in terms of equipment, lighting, and composition. Read on for tips on breathtaking bridge photos.
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Photographing Dogs

Photographing Dogs

Dogs are considered man’s best friend for a reason. They ignore our greatest flaws, fawn over us, always show up regardless of the circumstances, and their favorite activity, outside of eating, is staring up at us with that love drunk gaze. The world would be a better place if we could just all be the person our dog thinks we are!

Despite the undeniable bond we share with our canine companions, they are often some of our most difficult photography subjects because they wiggle and don’t really understand the purpose of the camera. While they present their own wiggle-based set of challenges, getting the shot is possible. Here are some pointers to up the ante on your pooch photography.
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