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Tag: Aperture

Ask David: Why are my landscapes so boring?

Filed in Tips by on August 6, 2015 1 Comment
Ask David: Why are my landscapes so boring?

Just about everyone has had the experience of shooting a landscape photograph that didn’t quite turn out the way you’d hoped. For some reason, that beautiful, big, sweeping landscape just doesn’t look the same in the photo as it did in real life. It looks flat and dull, a poor facsimile of that gorgeous scene you really wanted to capture on camera. So what are you doing wrong? Here’s a short list of common pitfalls to help you debug your landscapes.
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How Clutter Can Wreck Your Photo

Filed in Tips by on July 31, 2015 0 Comments
How Clutter Can Wreck Your Photo

Yes, clutter. It’s the bane of most modern people – unless you’re Martha Stewart. Most people’s homes contain some version of clutter, whether you call it that or not. It could be that you have an extensive collection of knickknacks. Or it could be that you just aren’t very good at picking up the dishes after every meal. Whatever the case may be, the clutter that is so pervasive inside your home it is not very good background for your photographs. So apart from hiring Martha Stewart to organize your home for you, what can you do to avoid clutter in your photos?
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Ask David: Why Aren’t My Backgrounds Blurry?

Ask David: Why Aren’t My Backgrounds Blurry?

When I was a beginner photographer, I distinctly remember going out one weekend to shoot an outdoor event. I thought I had the whole aperture thing figured out. In order to get a sharp subject and a blurry background, all I needed to do was select the widest available aperture (smallest f-number), or use Portrait Mode. I selected Aperture Priority and I shot the whole event at f/4.

When I looked at my photographs after the event, I was really disappointed. Despite those large apertures, the images all featured backgrounds that were either just as sharp as the subject, or only very slightly blurred. I got the focus right, I got the exposure right, but for some reason I wasn’t able to get that background blur that I wanted. And it was actually sometime before I figured out why. Today I’m going to share that secret with you, so you don’t have to figure it out for yourself the way I did.
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What You Should Know About Lenses

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What You Should Know About Lenses

Before you bought a DSLR you didn’t really need to know a whole lot about lenses. Your point-and-shoot camera came with a lens already attached, and there really wasn’t anything you could do to change it. You probably knew how much zoom it had, and if you paid attention to the specs you may have also figured out what that meant in millimeters. But if your knowledge didn’t really go any further than that, well, no one can blame you.

Now that you have a DSLR, though, it’s a lot more important to know something about not only the lens that you bought with it, but the other lenses that are available to buy once you decide it’s time to expand your arsenal.

Now as it turns out, there’s a lot to know about lenses. A lot. It’s not just a matter of wide-angle vs. telephoto, there are a lot of other things to take into consideration as well. But let’s start with the basic stuff, and that’s lens classes.
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Understanding Your Camera’s Settings

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Understanding Your Camera’s Settings

You finally did it. Goodbye point and shoot cameras with fixed lenses, bogus “digital zoom” and little idiot-proof icons in place of real settings. Goodbye sub-par images and limited functionality. You’ve finally entered the world of DSLR photography.

If you’re like a lot of people, the euphoria wore off as soon as you picked up your DSLR’s manual. That thing is like a brick with pages. Flipping through it is an exercise in uselessness and sitting down to read it is something you might have time to do after retirement.

So, maybe you put the manual away and sheepishly set your camera to “Auto.” And maybe that’s where it’s been ever since.

Today, I’ll show you what the most common settings on your camera do, and how to use them effectively.
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Ask David: What camera settings should I use on a sunny day?

Ask David: What camera settings should I use on a sunny day?

When you are photographing during the sunniest part of the day you are combating two major issues: The first is overexposure and the second is harsh shadows.

First, let’s tackle overexposure. Overexposure occurs when too much light gets into your camera and washes out your photo. To combat overexposure, it’s best to shoot in full manual mode because it will give you the most control. As you adjust each setting, keep an eye on your light meter. It’s going to give you a ballpark as you change your settings and will be your first indication if your shot is going be overexposed.
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How To Do It: Blurred Backgrounds

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How To Do It: Blurred Backgrounds

You see it all the time in professional photographs; amazing portraits with the subject in front of a soft, blurred background. That beautiful baby or gorgeous model immediately draws your eye. How do they do that? Do you need years of training and top of the line equipment to make this happen? Definitely not! You do not need to be an expert or have an expensive lens to achieve this look. This is one of the easiest things you can try to add a new dimension to your photography. A little knowledge, your DSLR, and a kit lens are all that is required. I will describe simple adjustments you can make today to get that out-of-focus background and add artistic flair to your photos.
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Breaking the Rules: Break The Small Aperture Rule

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Breaking the Rules: Break The Small Aperture Rule

The fundamental rules of photography have great wisdom to offer. Landscapes require great depth of field. Portraits require less depth of field. You should always follow the rule of thirds, except when it’s ok not to. You can’t use fast shutter speeds at night and you can’t use slow shutter speeds during the day.

But you and I both know that just about every one of those fundamental wisdoms can sometimes be ignored. All you really need to know is when and how. That’s why I’m bringing you this series on breaking the rules.
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Taking Your First Night Photos

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Taking Your First Night Photos

We all lead busy lives. The world is likely dark when you get up and has already settled back into darkness by the time you get home. Not exactly great for getting your camera out and taking some shots. Have you ever considered getting out at night to take photos? Night photography can be intimidating but don’t be afraid of the dark! Read on to learn how to take your first night photographs. Night, night baby!
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9 Tips for Lifestyle Photography

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9 Tips for Lifestyle Photography

Often times, the photographs we feel the most connected to are simple. They freeze time, a moment as it is, instead of the contrived editorial work of fashion shoots and perfume ads. Babies sitting on a shiny hardwood floor, kids in an intense game of flag football, this season’s first snowfall. These photos are so easy to connect with because they are honest portrayals of life. This is called lifestyle photography. Lifestyle photography is a genre of photography which serves the purpose of documenting life honestly and artistically by capturing authentic, usually candid moments as they happen. What that actually translates to in regards to actual photographs depends on you the photographer and your artistic vision.
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13 Tips for Inspired Concert Photography

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13 Tips for Inspired Concert Photography

Concerts are a symbiotic experience, each one unique to the music, the musicians, and the audience. The reciprocal nature appeals to us on a visceral level. It’s a way to connect with people over a shared interest and at times, a shared adrenaline rush. Of course, it is then natural, to want to capture the natural high only found when your heart is in sync with the bass drum. As photographers our first instinct is to bring the camera along and take the experience home with us in the form of photographs. Concert photography is a particularly difficult medium because of the varied and rapidly changing lighting situations, masses of people, and quickly moving musicians. Here are the basics for concert photography that will live up to your memories.
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How Changing Aperture Changes Other Settings

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How Changing Aperture Changes Other Settings

Your camera has three primary settings that are interconnected: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. You can’t adjust one without adjusting the other, because each one is fundamental to the way your camera captures light, which is ultimately what it uses to make an exposure. Smaller apertures mean slower shutter speeds, or higher ISOs. Larger apertures mean faster shutter speeds, or lower ISOs. So how do you work out what settings to use?
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Beautiful Bokeh

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Beautiful Bokeh

Whether you realize it or not, you have seen bokeh plenty of times. It is there in any photograph with a shallow depth of field. In its simplest form, bokeh is just blur. That great portrait shot you take with the blurry background? The background is called bokeh. Whether the bokeh is “good” or “bad”, and if it adds to the artistry of the photo is a matter of opinion. There are several key factors in creating what many consider beautiful bokeh – those areas of pleasant, soft focus. Read on to learn about the “qualities” of bokeh, how to create it, and some creative composition techniques that utilize it.
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How To Choose an Aperture to Control Depth of Field

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How To Choose an Aperture to Control Depth of Field

If you own a camera, you’ve probably at least heard the term “aperture.” But your understanding of what that means may depend a lot on what kind of camera you own, and how you use it. Today, I’ll explain exactly how the aperture setting affects your images, and what aperture settings to use in which situations.
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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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