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Archive for December, 2015

For Better Photographs, Don’t Think Big, Think Simple

For Better Photographs, Don’t Think Big, Think Simple

Keep it simple, stupid. Yes, there is perhaps no phrase that is more true and more insulting all at the same time (who are you calling stupid?) But generally speaking, the first part of that phrase describes the best way to accomplish most of the things we do in life. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but for the most part the simplest option is usually the best one.
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What is Dynamic Range (and why should I care)

What is Dynamic Range (and why should I care)

If you’ve been taking digital photographs for any length of time, you have probably heard the phrase “dynamic range.” It’s one of those phrases that other photographers use under the assumption that everyone knows what it means, even though most beginning photographers have at best a rudimentary understanding of it.

Dynamic range as it pertains to photography has something to do with light and something to do with camera technology, and understanding what those somethings are can really help you improve your photography, especially while you are in the learning stages. So why is it that no one has ever really told you what dynamic range is, and why you should care? Because it’s so fundamental that those old timers just assume its like breathing. Except of course that it’s not.

What is dynamic range and why is it important? Keep reading to find out. Continue Reading »

Using Costumes for Fun and Unique Portrait Sessions

Using Costumes for Fun and Unique Portrait Sessions

Halloween is no longer the one and only go-to time for dressing up in cool costumes! Costumes are catching on even with adults. When you think about it, it’s really not hard to understand why. There’s something exceedingly attractive about becoming someone else, even if it’s just for an afternoon. And if that someone is a character you admire – whether it’s Khaleesi from Game of Thrones or Carson from Downton Abbey, it can be both a thrill and a boost to your self-esteem to pull off a great costume. And naturally, if you’re going to go to all that trouble, you need photos. So why wait until Halloween or until the next ComicCon? You can get some really fun and memorable photos of the whole family at any time of year, just by combining great costumes with an awesome setting. Here’s how.
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Three Things You Can Do Today to Become a Better Photographer Tomorrow

Three Things You Can Do Today to Become a Better Photographer Tomorrow

I call it “beginner’s rut” – that mode that so many new photographers get into when they’ve become pretty comfortable with their new camera, they’ve set it up to be just about as automatic as it gets, and they are more or less happy with their results. But when you are in a beginner’s rut, there’s always that little nagging voice telling you that you could do better. And the good news is, there are some very simple ways you can do that today, without the need to buy new equipment or take a six week course at the local community college.
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What To Do When Your Camera is Stolen

What To Do When Your Camera is Stolen

I am not ashamed to say that this is something I have literal nightmares about. I’ve left my camera in my car, or in a hotel room, or horror-of-horrors, I left it hanging on the back of my chair at a restaurant. Some unscrupulous person found it there and decided to claim it for his own, or worse, he broke into my car or home and took my most beloved possession. I generally wake up from these dreams in a cold sweat, and sometimes I even go check on my camera to make sure that my dream wasn’t based on any kind of reality.

We don’t want to think about it and we like to believe that it won’t happen to us, but the fact is that camera theft is big business. Cameras are big-ticket items, which makes them desirable to thieves, which means that we have to take steps to protect them. Here’s how.
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How to Photograph Windows and Doors

How to Photograph Windows and Doors

You already know that light is the most important element in every single photograph you take. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to find great light, and your photos practically take themselves. At other times you are stuck with some really challenging light, and you’ve got to employ some strategies to make the best out of the situation.

Perhaps no lighting situation presents quite the same sort of challenge as windows and doors do. The light that comes through an opening in a building—whether it is covered by a piece of glass or not—is extremely bright compared to the ambient light in a room. If you don’t think through a shot that includes a window or door, you may end up with a bright, white, burned-out rectangle where that window or door is supposed to be. So is photographing windows and doors just an impossible task? Read on to find out.
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Take Great Photos (in any weather)

Filed in Nature, Tips by 1 Comment
Take Great Photos (in any weather)

What do you do when it’s raining outside? How about when it’s snowing, or when the wind is fierce or the air is cold. Do you sit inside in front of the fireplace and dream of the day when you can get back out there with your camera and capture some wonderful fair-weather photos? Then I have to say, you are missing out. Because you can get awesome photos at any time, no matter what the weather. Here’s how.
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How to Give Your Subject a Sense of Scale

How to Give Your Subject a Sense of Scale

The trouble with photographs is the size we print them at. If you get your prints done at the local pharmacy or from online services like Shutterfly or Snapfish, the chances are pretty good that you order most of them at that old standard size of 4×6. And when you think about it, most of the things that you take photographs of are actually a whole lot bigger than that, with the exception of macro subjects. Even when your subject is an average-sized person, he or she dwarfs that 4×6 image stamped on a two dimensional surface. So what’s a photographer to do to give that tiny little image a real sense of scale?
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Ask David: How do you Focus to Infinity?

Ask David: How do you Focus to Infinity?

I read an article on infinity focus. I understand the concept but I don’t quite know how to find it. My lens does not have the symbol for infinity, as it is a kit lens. Is it true that if I can focus on the moon, I would be set to infinity? I have an 18mm – 55mm lens and a 50mm – 200mm lens. I want to practice with my cable release using bulb mode but I’d like to better understand this concept. Thank you in advance.”
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Holiday Gift Guide 2015

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Holiday Gift Guide 2015

If you have photographers on your gift list, you can count yourself lucky. Photographers are actually remarkably easy to shop for, and I don’t mean just for people who have bottomless budgets. Yes, lenses and DSLR accessories are outside of the means for the average Christmas shopper, but lenses and DSLR accessories also aren’t the only option for those photography-loving friends and family members. There are a ton of budget and semi-budget gift ideas for photographers, too—and some of them may even end up on your own wish-list.
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Shoot Still-Life Images Like a Dutch Master

Shoot Still-Life Images Like a Dutch Master

Artists have been creating still life images since the Renaissance, and they never really seem to go out of style. In the 1600s, Dutch and Flemish artists kind of went a little nuts with still life paintings, creating timeless images of flowers, tables clad with drooping table cloths and pitchers of cold water, and musical instruments awaiting their musicians. There’s something really inviting about a great still-life image—it’s almost like a little window into the life of someone from another time and place. And did you know that you can take photos that look almost exactly like some of those old paintings?
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Photographing Indoor Celebrations

Photographing Indoor Celebrations

Sometimes it seems like the weather is constantly driving us inside. It’s either too cold to have that outdoor party, or it’s too hot. It’s raining, or it’s snowing, or it’s too humid. There are definitely more reasons to cancel an outdoor party then there are to keep it where it is. So what do you do when it’s your job to take pictures of that outdoor event, but the venue suddenly changes to an indoor one? Keep reading to find out. Continue Reading »

How to Photograph Strangers

How to Photograph Strangers

There are two kinds of photographers in this world: those who take pictures of people they know, and those who take pictures of people they don’t know. Yes, I am aware that this is an oversimplification, but for a lot of people it rings very true. It’s really hard to photograph strangers. In fact it’s one of those fears that probably ranks right up there with public speaking and death.
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How to Photograph Bridges

How to Photograph Bridges

From cat walks to the Golden Gate, bridges make great photographic subjects. So great, in fact, that many beginners make the mistake of believing that those bridges are just going to photograph themselves. And while it is true that bridges are often spectacular and beautiful, taking great pictures of them is not actually a simple matter. Read on to see my tips and tricks for great bridge photography.
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Birthday Coming Up? How To Take a Perfect Candle Blowing Image

Birthday Coming Up? How To Take a Perfect Candle Blowing Image

If you had to choose one moment from a child’s birthday party that perfectly summarizes the entire event, which one would it be? I’ll bet that most of you will say it’s the moment when the birthday boy or girl blows out his candles. That’s the right of passage that nearly all kids have as they mark each birthday. The candles are lit, they blow them out, and then they are another year older.

Unfortunately, this is also one of the most difficult moments of a party to capture well, particularly during an indoor event. And it’s a fleeting moment, too, which means is that once it’s gone, it’s gone. So how can you get in there, capture that elusive moment and do it in the most effective way? Read on to find out.
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