Category Archives: Photography

What Images You Make Into Prints

I know that for some photographers that actually being out taking photos – the thrill of the hunt if you will – is what gets them out of bed in the morning.

For other photographers I know, it seems like they’re more excited about testing out new gear.

For me, though, the best part of photography is seeing my images turned into prints so I can enjoy them (and other people can enjoy them) when they come to my home.

In the digital age, getting images printed is easier than ever. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take care when selecting what images you turn into prints.

If you’re like me, you take a ton of photos. And all those photos end up on thumb drives, hard drives, cloud accounts, and so forth.

That means that when you want to find a photo to print, you’ve got hundreds, perhaps thousands of images to sift through first.

To make it easier on yourself, each time you dump images off your memory card, put the best ones into a separate folder titled “For Printing” or something of the sort.

Now, the point here isn’t to put every single photo that you like into the folder. Otherwise, you’ll just end up having the same problem of sifting through a million images.

Instead, be super selective, and try to keep the folder limited to a few dozen images. Then, once you have one printed, delete it from the folder (as long as you have it saved elsewhere first!).

The less time you spend searching through your archives of images, the more time you’ll have to enjoy the ones you get printed.

Maximize the Efficiency of a Photo Shoot 1.9K

Whether you enjoy taking portraits, photos of landscapes, macro photography, or something in between, something that you likely don’t have is a ton of extra time.

That means that when you head out for a photo shoot that you need to maximize your available time so you can get the shots you want quickly and efficiently.

There is, however, a delicate balance between being efficient and hurrying too fast. After all, you don’t want to rush through the process and end up with bad photos.

With that in mind, here are a few tips you can use to be more efficient with your time while still taking the time you need to get the best quality images.

 

This might seem like a no-brainer, but even professional photographers will sometimes grab their camera and start taking photos without having much of a plan.

Though there is certainly something to be said for spontaneity, more often than not, it will just get you off track and you’ll end up coming home with a bunch of photos that aren’t all that great.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to plan every single detail of the entire photo shoot.

But what it does mean is that you need to make preparations that will help you use your time more wisely.

That might be something as simple as sitting down and developing a shot list.

It might also involve scouting locations, determining the best time of day for the best natural lighting, and being aware of certain obstacles (i.e., the hours of operation for the venue you’d like to use as a shoot location) that can throw your time off track.

Another example of planning ahead is that when you work with models for portrait photography, meet with them ahead of time.

This is obviously a necessity if you’re a professional or an aspiring professional photographer because you’ll need to have model release forms signed.

But even if you’re just taking portraits of your friends or family, sit down for a few minutes and talk about the kinds of photos they want and what your shared vision is for the photos you take.

The more you’re on the same page with your portrait model, the easier the process will be once you have them in front of your lens.

How to Create Stunning BOKEH Effects

If you clicked on this article, I’m assuming that you already know what bokeh is, but if not, here’s a quick explanation:

Bokeh is the out of focus area of a photo. Simple, right?

There are many facets to bokeh, however.

On the one hand, there is such a thing as good and bad bokeh.

On the other hand, several factors influence how bokeh looks, including the aperture and the focal length of the lens and the distance between you and your subject.

What’s more, bokeh can be used as a creative tool to add dimension to your shots while also helping you mask unwanted features in the background.

See how bokeh is much more than the blurry part of the photo?

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create incredible bokeh effects that will enhance the portraits you take.

Editor’s Tip: You can create bokeh with any lens, but for the best quality bokeh, consider a prime lens – something like a 50mm or 85mm – with a large aperture like f/1.2 or f/1.4. Either of these lenses are ideal for portraits anyway, and with beautiful bokeh, the portraits you take will be that much more impressive. You can find great deals on pre-owned lenses at Lensfinder.com.

Getting the right lens is the first step in creating gorgeous bokeh in your portraits.

When shopping for a lens, there are a couple of things you need to bear in mind, both of which I outline in detail below.

One of the primary factors that influence bokeh is the depth of field. And one of the principal factors that determine the depth of field is the aperture that’s used.

The larger the aperture, the shallower the depth of field. So, when shooting at f/2, you have a shallower depth of field than if you shoot from the very same spot using an aperture of f/22.

That makes lenses with wide maximum apertures advantageous for creating bokeh-filled backgrounds.

An f/1.2 lens would create the shallowest depth of field, and therefore the best bokeh, as seen in the image above. However, those lenses can be pricey.

For something that’s a little easier on the pocketbook, try finding a lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.4, f/1.8, or f/2.

Accessories You Need for Your New Camera

I’ll be the first to say that today’s cameras have a ton of bells and whistles that make them more powerful, more convenient, and easier to learn to use than ever before.

But despite all that, cameras still aren’t stand-alone devices. There are plenty of things that they can’t do on their own, which is why you need to think about the essential accessories you need for your new camera.

Some of these accessories help you take better photos. Other simply make it easier to carry your gear.

But the common thread between them is that they are essential to your growth as a photographer.

For starters, you’ll need something to carry your camera, lenses, and other gear in a way that protects your gear and allows you to carry it comfortably as well.

The Vanguard Adapter 41 Camera Backpack certainly fits the bill…

The great thing about this bag is that it’s incredibly versatile to meet changing needs.

For example, it has quick-access zippered gear openings on both sides of the bag so you can reach your gear easily.

It also has a customizable interior space so you can adjust it to carry different sizes of cameras, lenses, and so forth.

The Adapter 41 can be converted to a sling bag as well – just reposition one of its shoulder straps and stow the other one in the handy back sleeve.

It’s also airline carry-on compatible, so if you’ve got a photography adventure in the works, this bag can get your gear there safe and sound.

This bag will accommodate one DSLR body, one lens, small camera accessories like batteries, memory cards, and shutter remotes, and also has a tripod holder.

In other words, you can carry all your essential camera gear in this one bag and do it knowing that all the thick padding inside is protecting your new gear.

The Photography Industry Exposed the Atomic Bomb

It sounds like something straight out of a science fiction novel, but it’s real life…

Back in the late 1940s, Kodak customers began to lodge complaints that the film they purchased was bad.

Why?

Because the radiosensitive film was coming out completely foggy.

Little did Kodak customers know at the time, but the foggy film was a direct result of fallout from the U.S. government’s atomic bomb tests – the Trinity Test in particular – in New Mexico in 1945.

Amazingly, once Kodak began to investigate the problem, they discovered that the fallout from the Trinity Test had reached at least as far east as Indiana.

This revelation came to light after Kodak found that the corn husks they used to pack their products (which were grown in Indiana) tested positive for iodine-131 – a radioactive isotope.

In other words, Kodak had stumbled upon something that was not known to the public – fallout from the first atmospheric nuclear tests was causing radioactive contamination across the U.S.

The problem is, they kept this information to themselves, perhaps of their own volition, or perhaps due to government pressure to do so.

The story doesn’t end there, though.

We’ve all no doubt seen the videos of atomic testing in the Pacific, but testing also occurred in the continental United States, particularly in the 1950s in Nevada.

In early 1951, the government detonated an atomic bomb at Nevada’s National Security Site. A few days later in Rochester, New York, Kodak picked up unusually high radiation levels that were 25 times above the norm.

Given the severity of the radiation and the sheer distance from the atomic test – some 1,600 miles – Kodak couldn’t keep quiet this time.

Sharpen Your Photos in Photoshop

Let’s face it…

Sometimes, despite your best efforts in-camera, you end up with images that aren’t quite as sharp as they need to be.

When I was a beginner photographer, that meant one thing – the image was a fail.

But today, we have some pretty awesome tools at our disposal for enhancing and improving the images we take.

In the video above, Michael Woloszynowicz gives an overview of how to sharpen all sorts of photos using a unique version of high pass sharpening.

Normal high pass sharpening can be a great tool, but there can also be some problems when you use it.

In particular, fringing can become an issue when using traditional high pass techniques.

Remember, when you apply a high pass filter, you first have to duplicate the layer, minimize the contrast of the layer, and then apply the high pass filter by going to Filter > Other > High Pass.

Then, as shown in the screenshot above, you adjust the radius, which determines how much the image is sharpened.

The more you increase the radius, the more haloing you get around the perimeter of the subject, as seen along the woman’s shoulder in the screenshot above. That’s obviously not a good thing!

Even if you choose a lower radius and blend the layer using the Overlay settings, some fringing can still occur.

Feet or Zoom With Your Lens Which is Better

“Zoom with your feet” is a common phrase uttered by many photographers, myself included.

It’s used to argue that though prime lenses (those with a fixed focal length like 50mm, 85mm, and so on) can’t zoom, that you can still get a similar effect as a zoom lens by physically moving nearer or further away from a subject.

The problem is this: zooming with your feet and zooming with your lens don’t produce the same results.

In other words, if you take two photos of the same subject, one that’s zoomed in with a zoom lens and another that’s zoomed in by zooming with your feet, there will be a noticeable difference in how the images look.

The question is, what are the differences in these results, and which method is better?

Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens offers up a nice tutorial on this subject in the video above.

Have a look at the video, and for a detailed explanation of the topics he raises in the video, check the outline below!

One of the best advantages of shooting with a zoom lens is its versatility – in a single lens you can cover a variety of focal lengths and replace two, three, perhaps even four prime lenses with a single zoom.

In the screenshot above, you can see how Jay P. Morgan was able to take four photos at four different focal lengths, all with the same lens.

Looking at the screenshot above, you can see this concept in action.

Notice how that even though the background got larger with each successive change in the focal length in the first screenshot, that the relationship between the man and the background remains the same in the second screenshot.

That’s because with a zoom lens, you’re just cropping the image with each change to a longer and longer focal length, and as a result, the visual relationship of the foreground and background are consistent from one shot to the next.

In other words, if you want a consistent look from frame to frame, use a zoom lens.

Take Better Portraits in Just 9 Steps

When you think about it, portraiture is probably the most common type of photography.

After all, we all use our phones to take snapshots of our kids, our friends, and even ourselves.

And professional photographers often specialize in portraits, be that senior photos, family pictures, newborn and maternity, and so forth.

But just because portraiture is common doesn’t mean that it’s as simple as pointing your camera at a person and pressing the shutter button.

In the video above, Jessica Kobeissi offers up nine simple, but impactful tips to help you take better portraits.

Give the video a look, and for a play-by-play of Jessica’s tips, read on below.

By the end, you’ll have nine great tips that will make your portraits shine!

Whether you’re working as a budding professional photographer or you’re just taking a portrait of a friend, it’s important to engage with the person you’re photographing.

By talking to them, asking questions, and perhaps even cracking a few jokes, you can help lighten the mood and make your portrait subject more relaxed in front of the camera.

And having a relaxed subject is key to getting a better photo…

The more comfortable they are, the less rigid they will be, the more natural their smile, and the greater their ability to follow your instructions.

Photography Tricks You Can’t Miss

Let’s face it – most of us have a pretty good camera that’s in our pocket most of the time.

That alone is a pretty compelling argument to use your smartphone as your primary camera.

And by “primary,” I don’t mean the one you use to photograph weddings…

What I mean, though, is that we should all use our smartphones as cameras even more often than we do.

Here’s a few ways you can wrestle even more quality out of the images you take with your phone.

And there are a million things you can use as subjects for a reflection…

A landscape scene like the one above comes immediately to mind.

But you can also take a portrait in a reflection.

Since you might be working with something that’s moving (like water), that necessitates a fast shutter speed to avoid seeing any ripples on the surface of the water.

And when you get down low and close to the reflective surface, you need a large aperture to ensure you have the depth of field needed to get everything in sharp focus.

Some smartphone cameras have these manual controls. But if yours doesn’t, you’ll want to download an app like Camera FV-5 for Android devices or Halide for iOS devices.

Here’s another tip – use your smartphone’s tap-to-focus feature to set the focus on the reflection, not on the subject. That will ensure that the reflection is optimally sharp.

A Full Frame Camera is a Big Deal

If you’re like most photographers, you likely started out with a basic or mid-level crop sensor camera.

And though crop sensors have many great features and virtues, by and large, full frame cameras are what the pros choose to use.

At some point, you may find that you need a camera with more capabilities. But before you make the transition from a crop sensor to a full frame body, you might consider some of the differences that make working with them a little different.

As I already alluded to, one of the nice things about full frame cameras is that they have more features and functions you can use to take better photos.

Now, that doesn’t mean that if you buy a full frame camera like the Sony A7R II shown above and below that you will automatically turn into Ansel Adams. But there’s certainly more there for you to work with to get improved images.

For starters, full frame cameras typically have a much more user-friendly interface, with wheels, buttons, and dials that are easy to reach with your thumb as you grip the camera and menu systems that actually make sense.

In other words, though there’s more stuff there to work with, full frame cameras actually make it easier to change settings, even while you have the camera to your eye to take a photo.

You’ll likely also find that there are buttons on a full frame body that aren’t there on a crop sensor body – like those to change the drive mode, the metering mode, the autofocus mode, and the ISO.

Full frame cameras tend to have an LCD panel on the top of the body as well (some crop sensors do too) that make it easy to check your camera settings.