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Tag: Light

How to Avoid Burned-Out Highlights

Filed in Tips by on January 28, 2016 0 Comments
How to Avoid Burned-Out Highlights

With very few exceptions, every photograph needs to have shadows and highlights. Defined, a shadow is an area that contains true blacks, and a highlight is an area that contains true whites. It sounds simple, but you probably already know that there’s an art to capturing those highlights and shadows. You can have true blacks in your photograph, but that doesn’t mean that they’re good shadows. And you can have true whites in your photograph, too, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good highlights. How do you know the difference? Read on to find out. Continue Reading »

How to Photograph Shiny Objects

Filed in Tips by on January 15, 2016 0 Comments
How to Photograph Shiny Objects

In so many ways, indoor, tabletop photography is ideal for beginners. There are a ton of advantages to shooting photos inside your own home, using controlled light and objects that can’t move on their own or protest. Taking photos indoors in your own tabletop studio is a great way to teach yourself about light without the encumbrances of time or the pressures associated with photographing living subjects. Read on for my tips.
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What is Dynamic Range (and why should I care)

Filed in Tips by on December 31, 2015 3 Comments
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 »

How to Photograph Windows and Doors

Filed in Tips by on December 24, 2015 0 Comments
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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How to Photograph Body Art

Filed in Tips by on November 19, 2015 0 Comments
How to Photograph Body Art

Have you ever tried to take pictures of paintings in a museum? The chances are pretty good that you found it a little challenging. Now imagine trying to take photographs of art on a living, breathing human being—that’s going to be even more challenging. So exactly how does one go about photographing body art? Read on to find out.
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Shooting Portraits with Window Light

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Shooting Portraits with Window Light

All indoor photographs are low light photographs. But not all indoor photographs are break-out-the-super-fast-lens-and-tripod low light photographs. In fact, during the brighter parts of the day, you may actually be able to get better photographs indoors then you can outdoors. That’s because the type of natural light you get in the middle part of the day is direct and comes from directly overhead. When you take photos in these conditions you get subjects with black shadows over their eyes and under their noses and burned out highlights or super-black shadows in other areas of the photo. When you move indoors, however, the natural light that comes in through the window is indirect and easy to control. Think of it as your own personal photography studio that you didn’t half to invest any money in. How do you get the best out of this beautiful, free light source? Read on to find out. Continue Reading »

When to Shoot in Black and White

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When to Shoot in Black and White

When you think about black and white photography – classic black and white photography – you probably first think about beautiful, small aperture landscapes with big, bold skies and lots of natural beauty. But the chances are pretty good that you have also seen plenty of beautiful landscapes that are not in black and white. Have you ever thought about why some photographers choose to shoot in color and why some photographers choose to shoot without? How can you arrive at the best decision when it comes to choosing black and white versus color?
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How to Shoot Into The Sun (On Purpose)

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How to Shoot Into The Sun (On Purpose)

If you get lens flare in your photo, then that’s a ruined photo. Good photos never have anomalies in them – motion blur, high contrast, lens flare – these are all errors. Lens manufacturers actually go out of their way to build equipment that doesn’t cause lens flare. So it follows that lens flare is bad, right?
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Yes, You Can Shoot Good Photos in Terrible Light

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Yes, You Can Shoot Good Photos in Terrible Light

You probably have photographer friends who “tsk, tsk” you for heading out to take photos in the middle of the day. If not, you’ve probably at least read that you shouldn’t take photos during the middle of the day – you may have even gotten that idea from something you read on my site. And it is pretty decent advice for beginners, but it is not by any stretch of the imagination an unbreakable fact of photography. You can actually get good photos in bad light, contrary to popular belief. But how?
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A Field Guide to Great Landscapes

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A Field Guide to Great Landscapes

Anyone who is not a photographer will probably tell you it’s easy to shoot a landscape. Step one: find beautiful scenery. Step two: point your camera at it. Step three: take a picture.

Of course, that’s an over simplification. But not too much! With just a few extra steps, you’ll be taking superb landscape photos wherever you are.
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Twelve Mistakes Rookies Make

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Twelve Mistakes Rookies Make

No one is born knowing how to use a camera. Every single photographer you know from amateur to professional at one time picked up a DSLR (or an SLR) camera, turned it over awkwardly, looked at all those buttons and thought to himself, “How the heck do I use this thing?”

Rookie mistakes in any field are usually pretty predictable. That’s because they’re honest mistakes, and it’s pretty easy to see how the unschooled and unpracticed might end up making them. Even if you’ve come a long way since the first time you held a DSLR, it’s worth reviewing this list so you’ll know which mistakes you’ve moved past, and which ones you may still be making (don’t worry, your secret is safe with me).
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The Five Values of Light

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The Five Values of Light

Before you became a photographer, there was exactly one sort of light. It was either on, or it was off. Sure, there were varying degrees of brightness – there was dim light and there was bright light, but it was all pretty much the same thing.

Then, when you learned how to use a camera, you discovered something new. There’s not just one kind of light. Light has color and direction. It can be hard or soft. It’s no longer just about how bright it is – now light has quality. And what’s more, that quality can make or break your photographs.
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Metering 101: How To Use Your Camera’s Metering Modes

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Metering 101: How To Use Your Camera’s Metering Modes

All modern consumer-level cameras come equipped with a light meter. And a good thing too, because without a meter photography would be at best, a game of educated guesses, and at worse, a festival of complete and utter frustration. But if I had to guess, I’d say that this most-important piece of photography equipment is probably the most taken-for-granted of anything that comes equipped on a camera. You change your shutter speed, aperture and ISO pretty regularly. You probably also change your white balance setting and your focusing mode. But you may not pay a whole lot of attention to your meter.
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How to Bracket without Auto-Bracketing

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How to Bracket without Auto-Bracketing

Our cameras are wonderful tools. They can measure the available light and use that information to make a good guess about what settings are required to get the highlights, shadows and everything in between pretty close to the way it was in real life. As photographers, we rely on our cameras and metering system to do this job – without those metering systems, we’d have to use our eyes and brains to figure out the right shutter speed and aperture combination.

But here’s the thing: all that wonderful technology still isn’t good enough to guarantee perfect results every single time. Your camera does a pretty good job of most of the time But it can’t account for all those different variations in light that might happen in unusual situations.

That’s where bracketing can work well. Today, we’ll look at bracketing, why it works, and how you can bracket your own images without needing to let the camera do it.
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Beyond Snapshots (or, why do all those other photos look better than mine)

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Beyond Snapshots (or, why do all those other photos look better than mine)

There are two types of photos in this world. No, I don’t mean black and white vs. color. I don’t mean digital vs. film. I mean snapshots vs. works of art.

You have probably taken your share of snapshots. We all have. Snapshots are what happen when we whip out our iPhones to grab a picture of Kid A or Kid B holding that preschool graduation diploma or smearing spaghetti sauce all over his face. And don’t get me wrong, a snapshot of something you want to remember is better than no photo at all. But why settle for a mere snapshot when you can have a work of art instead?
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