What is AUTOFOCUS? – A Beginner’s Guide

A seemingly standard option to any respectable camera, autofocus can make the difference between a well-taken shot and a missed opportunity. But what is autofocus more precisely and how does it work?


Simply put, autofocus is a camera system that appropriately adjusts the camera lens. The crucial thing here is reflected by the camera’s autofocus sensors. They are in charge of reaching accurate focus. By carefully calculating the changes in contrast, every sensor can better measure relative focus in a shot.


1. Passive and Active Autofocus

If you wish to know how to master your camera’s autofocus, there are a few basic things to begin with. There are two ways autofocus can work. Passive autofocus uses contrast sensors within the camera. Active autofocus, instead, employs two different means. It can either estimate the distances to the subject or make use of an emitted signal to illuminate the subject.

Passive autofocus relies mainly on contrast to achieve an accurate image. This is true regardless of the fact that passive autofocus can be done by either making use of contrast detection or phase detection.

Let’s take a further step and see how the autofocus works.

  • Before taking a shot, a small change appears in the focusing distance, made by the autofocus professor.
  • The autofocus sensors are read by the autofocus processor to estimate if the focus underwent improvement and by how much.
  • The lens is afterwards focused to a new distance after analyzing the processed information.
  • Until the desired focused has been reached, the autofocus processor may collect information from the sensors and calculate new focusing distances a couple of times.

It is important to keep in mind that these processes take little time to happen. Within mere seconds or less. The autofocus sensors are of two types. The cross type sensors are the most effective because they have a two-dimensional contrast detection and thus ensure higher accuracy.

On the other hand, vertical line sensors employ just one-dimensional contrast detection, resulting in a lower precision. Ironically, due to the nature of vertical line sensors (being able to detect contrast along a vertical line), they are the best when having to identify horizontal lines.

2. Autofocus Achievements

Autofocus is a program whose performances also rely on some factors. Alongside camera models, lenses or focus settings, a primary aspect to consider when taking a photo is the subject of the picture. The main factors that influence autofocus are composed, thus, of light levels, subject contrast, and subject or camera movement.

To achieve good autofocus, the central focus point usually must coincide with a sharp edge or pronounced texture. If the subject of the photo is involved in a rapid movement, then the focus should be set on the subject’s surroundings or a lower contrast focus point. Otherwise, the image’s subject would be out of focus, especially during a low-light rapid movement shot.

Another posing difficulty for autofocus performance is represented by timeframe, especially when the photo subject is not motionless. During the fast nature of the picture, the photographer sometimes must make the decision in the blink of an eye to capture the subject well.


3. Autofocus Accuracy

One of the most important details that influence the accuracy level is represented by autofocus points. Top of the line SLR cameras employ 45 or even more autofocus points. Others make use of even just one central autofocus point. Alongside their numbers, the positioning and type of autofocus points also have a significant impact.

Autofocus points work either as a whole or separately. As a whole, they improve the overall accuracy of a photograph, as in group photos, where a multitude of focus points can result in a well rounded overall level of focus. When used separately they develop particularities.

In the end, the usefulness of these autofocus points is given by the camera model. Although some features, such as the maximum aperture of the lens used, can also work to improve the overall quality and accuracy.

4. Autofocus Modes

Now it is time to discuss when it is best to employ autofocus modes such as ‘one shot’ for example. To begin with the basics, the ‘one-shot’ mode is primarily used when the subject of the photo is motionless. This is because ‘one-shot’ mode has a difficult time in tracking down movement.

When it comes to fast moving photo subject, the following is the best solution there is. Depending on the camera brand you are using, the terms ‘continuous‘ or ‘AI Servo‘ refer to the autofocus modes that enables photographers to adjust the focus distance for moving objects uninterrupted. It does this by calculating and predicting where the photo subject will be located, based on values of the subject speed in previous focus distances.

Lastly, the camera focuses in advance on the estimated distances where the subject will be located. Thus compensating for the lag between pressing the button to take the picture and the beginning of the exposure. Also, pay considerable attention when using this last option, as it can drastically reduce the camera’s battery life expectancy.


5. Autofocus Infrared Beams

Much modern up to date cameras employ what is called an autofocus assist beam. They are used to track down the subject, with the aid of infrared beams, in low contrast or light scenarios.

The type of infrared light source that is being used greatly depends on the camera type. Normal cameras have such built-in systems, while digital SLR camera can have either built-in or an external camera flash. However, they lack flexibility. In other words, such a system is only useful if the photo subject is motionless. In addition to that, autofocus infrared beams have one more weakness, they result in slower autofocus time frames.

Autofocus is an intelligent system that continuously improves alongside digital technology. Its applications are many, being especially useful when it comes to action photos in sports and more, as well as for portraits and other motionless frames. We hope that our article provided useful info and managed to explain what autofocus is both for beginners and more experienced hobbyists.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3.

Aperture Settings and Techniques Part I

One of the most important things in photography is having a strong knowledge of the basic techniques. That is why we have chosen to approach the use of aperture settings for various types of photographic results, from expressive portraits to beautiful landscape pictures. This post reflects the first part of our promise and focuses mainly on the meaning and importance of aperture techniques. The second part of this topic will show you how you can experiment with different aperture settings for different photography niches. Stay with us to learn more about choosing the aperture and using your digital camera to the fullest. First, let’s start with what aperture means in photography and how it can affect the quality of your pics.

What is Aperture in Photography?

Aperture refers to the opening of lenses which allows light pass through them and hit the camera sensor. The aperture settings are sequenced as f/stops and you will see them written as numbers like f/1.4, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6 and so on. The way we refer to aperture might be a bit confusing as a lower f/stop or f/number stands for a wider aperture. In other words, the lowest the f number is, the wider the exposure. For instance, if you set an aperture of f/1.4, the opening of lenses is bigger and more light is allowed to pass through them.

To put it simple, a lower f/ number means a wider aperture, while a higher f/ number stands for a smaller aperture.

useful aperture scale for aperture photography techniques

Once you get to experiment with different settings, everything will look less contradictory.  We recommend using your digital camera in Manual Mode. As we have already brought up in our articles on ISO settings and shutter speed photography techniques, these aspects greatly influence one another. For this reason, it is essential to adjust all three settings according to their value.

How Does Aperture Affect the Quality of Your Images?

Not only that aperture is strongly connected to the way shutter speed and ISO work, but is also affects a few particular aspects of your images’ sharpness. The first thing to mention here is the depth of field. The depth of field (DOF) practically refers to how sharp both the foreground and background elements are reflected in your photo. Here is how aperture photography techniques and depth of filed are linked:

  • A greater depth of field means a sharper background or a background in focus. This implies a smaller opening of the lenses, so a higher aperture number.

Note: bigger f numbers provide the photo with a bigger depth of filed which translates into a smaller aperture.

  • Conversely, a shallow depth of field implies a wider aperture (lower f number) and a blurrier background.

Note: small f numbers provide the image with a small depth of field which translates into a wider aperture.

To resume:

  • f/2.8 translates into a large aperture and a shallow DOF.
  • f/8 stands for a medium aperture and a medium DOF.
  • f/22 means a small aperture and a great DOF.

As regards the time of exposure (shutter speed), if your aperture is wider and more light passes through the lenses, a faster shutter speed is needed. For the other way around, when using a smaller aperture, the shutter speed needs to be slower.

There are other factors that influence the way you use the aperture like focus length, type of lenses and the distance between your camera and your subject.

photographic lenses aperture

Let’s assume you want to take a close-up photo of a flower, by focusing only on the subject. Instead of using your zoom lenses and set a higher aperture number, it is desirable to get closer to your model and choose a slightly lower f number. Otherwise you will have to deal with photo aberrations and unwanted effects like vignetting. Getting closer to your subject instead of using the zoom lenses will result in a better exposed picture.

How to Set the Aperture?

There is always an easier way to deal with things. As regards aperture settings and techniques there’s Aperture Priority Mode you can use. Before setting your camera on Aperture Priority, though, you should be able to recognize the effects of different apertures on your images. The good part is that once you have chosen the aperture value for the results you wish to achieve, this camera function will adjust the shutter speed automatically.

Setting the aperture depends on what area of the photograph you want to have in focus. There are no specific rules on how exactly to choose the aperture, so it is a matter of choices and creativity. If, for instance, you want your subject to be in focus and achieve a blurrier background at the same time, you should choose a wider aperture – set a low f/ number. This way you will be in control of the depth of field. Make sure you don’t limit it too much though. Play with settings before you take the final shot. An aperture between f/1.4 and f/2, for example will result in an image with an out-of-focus background, while an aperture of f/22 will have both the subject and the background in focus.

Quick Aperture Tips:

  • Experiment with aperture settings in Manual Mode and learn how to adjust the shutter speed according to the f number.
  • Shoot in RAW format to avoid a reduction of the image’s saturation.
  • Don’t use zoom lenses too much.

Image Sources: 1, 2

Pet Photography Tips & Tricks

As fun as it may look like, pet photography can be a tough nut to crack. Apart from having the appropriate equipment and skill, it takes a bit more of patience and genuine care for your models. Don’t worry! We are here to provide you with special tips and ideas on how to create the best pet photo shooting atmosphere. Dealing with the technical side of the story is equally important, so make sure you stop our useful camera settings and tricks. Let’s get started!

Pet Photography Tips for a Relaxed Photo Shooting

Pets are like little kids. They need careful attention and a nice, clean environment. What we recommend is choose a location they like, either indoor or outdoor and photograph them in familiar environment. The context of your photo shooting is as important as your model. As long as you make sure your pet feels comfortable, you can achieve great results.

Treat to Trick!

One of the best tricks for a successful pet photo shooting is to treat your pet. Think of the rewards he enjoys the most and you cannot possibly go wrong with it. Not only that your dog will love you (if it’s a cat it will love you for a minute, maybe), but you will also take some great shots. You can use their favorite food or toys as props as well.

Have Some Fun!

Now that you have created a relaxed atmosphere you can have some fun! Whether you have a lazy cat, a playful dog or a noisy parrot, be creative and experiment with different props and accessories.

Here are some funny must-have pet photography props:

  • A Washing Machine (be careful with that!)

pet photography using a washing machine as a prop

  • A Small Boat (who would have thought boats are for cats?)

pet photography using a small boat as a prop

  • Books and Glasses (for a smart, hipsterish look)

pet photography using books and glasses as props

  • A Fashionable Scarf and Flowers (why not?)

fashionable scarf for pet photography

  • A Crown (of course!)

crown for pet photography

Technical Pet Photography Tips

Shoot in Natural Light

Shooting in natural light is essential for all photography niches. When it comes to photographing your pet, all you can ask for is a nice, bright yet diffused morning light. If you choose to shoot indoors, try to photograph your model as close to the window as possible.

I wouldn’t recommend to use the flash only if it is absolutely necessary. It can be very annoying for your pet and the results can be disastrous.

Best Lenses for Pet Photography

Wide angle lenses should be your first choice when photographing your pet. Don’t be surprised if by using wider angle lenses you will capture pet photographs with a twist. Play with different angles and perspectives for more imaginative shots. Either you photograph them from their eye level, from the above or from below, these kind of lenses will provide your pictures with a broader perspective and some interesting effects.

Close-up Portraits

The eyes of your pet can say more than thousands words (if only they could speak!). That is why some of the best pet photographs you can take are close-up portraits.

Whether you want them to be dramatic or hilarious, pet portraits are very expressive and eye-catching. You know what the best thing is with close-up pet portraits? There are no props needed.

Here’s what you should do in order to get sharp close-up photos of your pet

  • Use manual focus on your camera and make sure you highlight their eyes.
  • Focus on your model while creating a blurry effect for the background. Set a wide aperture (f/2.8 should do the job), get close to your pet and shoot!

Outdoor Pet Photography Tips

  • Photograph Your Pet in Motion

Want to capture your pet enjoying some time outdoors? Choose a fine, sunny day, set your digital camera to shutter speed priority mode and to continuous focus and see how it goes.

  • Freeze the Moment!

Pets can be very playful which makes pet photography even more challenging. That is why a good DSLR and some patience are priceless. Set your camera on shutter speed mode, or if you feel confident enough operate in manual mode by setting a fast shutter speed and adjusting the aperture accordingly. All you need to do is anticipate a great moment for your shot and capture some joy!

Image Sources: Pinterest

How to Improve Your Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is indubitably one of the most popular sectors of photography. But from beautiful to stunning, jaw-dropping landscape images is a long run. Wonder how to shoot astonishing landscapes? Check out our tips and tricks addressed both to amateurs and professional photographers wishing to improve their skills in this area.

1. Useful Equipment for Landscape Photography

Apart from a good digital camera, you should also consider taking some lenses and a tripod with you. You don’t need to spend a fortune on your gear, but there are a few basic things to consider.

To keep it short, here are the tools you need in order to enhance your landscape shooting:

  • Angle lenses

High quality landscape photography requires using wide angle lenses. Lenses in the 24-70mm range should help you reveal a broader perspective. Also, as more light gets through your lenses, a faster exposure time can be set, which will result in sharper images.

  • Tripods

We know that sturdy tripods are hard to carry, but if you want to better control the composition of your shots, these are essential tools to have them handy. Tripods are extremely useful when it comes to shooting long exposed images, as well as panoramas, as they help you keep the camera steady and align the pieces perfectly.

2. Basic Rules of Photography

There are rules of composition that need to be respected, many professionals say. We totally agree, but there also rules that can be creatively broken. Let’s have a look at what you can and what you cannot do when it comes to breaking rules in photography.

  • Rule of Thirds

The ‘Rule of Thirds’ refers to the process of composing images. According to this rule, you need to mentally divide the image into thirds and decide how your subject will fill each third of your photo in order to achieve more tension and interest in the composition. Basically, according to the Rule of Thirds, you shouldn’t just center your subject.

rule of thirds in landscape photography

  • Symmetry

You can either create or break symmetry in your landscape pictures depending on the effect you want to achieve. Yes, symmetry rules can be successfully broken sometimes.

  • Framing

Framing is important for pleasing the eye. Use natural frames such as trees, holes or archways. This will help the viewer focus more on the central subject or dominant elements in your picture.

3. Best Photography Techniques for Landscape Pictures


  • Depth of Field Techniques

Create more depth in your landscape images by using a small aperture (from F10 to F22) and ISO (100, 200, depending on light conditions). Also, set a longer exposure time for a greater sense of depth.

depth of field Landscape photography

  • Shutter Speed Techniques

Learn how to use the shutter speed function of your camera for amazing long exposed landscape images. Long exposures are great for shooting waterfalls and rivers. If you want to capture a sense of movement, set your camera on Shutter Speed Priority Mode and choose a long exposure time, preferably exceeding 2 seconds. Don’t forget to use a tripod!

long-exposed water landscape photography

  • Post-processing Techniques

Post-processing is really important in achieving quality results, and, why not, mind-blowing effects. For more useful info on how to enhance your photos from the post-processing perspective, check out our post on Editing Tips and Tricks for Landscape Photography, ranging from how to blend raw exposures to adding a surreal touch or element.

4. Looking for Creative Ideas?

Many brilliant projects are born not only of experience, but of experimentation as well. That is why we encourage both hobbyists and pros to experiment and play with settings and techniques as much as possible. You never know when a genial trick or idea hits you. Here are a few creative ideas for stunning landscape shots.

  • Add a magical touch to your landscape pictures, by profiting from the golden hour. Check out our post on Useful Golden Hour Photography Tips as we have already discussed how these few minutes after sunshine or before sunset can enhance your landscape photographs.

golden hour landscape photography example

  • Create a story by shooting the same landscape in different periods of the year. Shoot a seasonal calendar if you have the chance to go back to your perfect location.

landscape photography through seasons

  • Make a time-lapse video. For more inspiration watch Dustin Farrell’s video composed with raw images taken with a Canon 5D2 DSLR and processed with Adobe software. These beautiful landscapes are located in Arizona and Utah. Enjoy!


5. Search for New Gripping Ideas

There are so many extraordinary websites and portfolios of landscape photographers across the web! To drop just a few names, you should definitely take a look at the work of Randall Sanger, Daniel Kordan, Zach Schnepf, and Danny Seidman. And, just for fun, you can drop an eye on National Geographic Photos of the Day in the Landscape category from time to time.

Great landscape photography is not only about being technically correct. It involves creativity and emotion. Always convey a story or a feeling to your images.

Image Sources: 1,2,3,4,5

Brief Intro to Real Estate Photography

Real estate photography or also known as architectural photography is an important part of the commercial photography niche. Those operating in the real estate photography business are aware of how challenging and attractive this job is. If you have just began or consider beginning to work in the field, here are some useful tips and information to help you keep up with clients’ demands.

What is Real Estate Photography?

To put it simple, real estate photography reduces to images showcasing properties for sale. This doesn’t mean that this type of photography is less creative than others. It is true that real estate photography limits your artistic freedom and it is driven by marketing purposes more than any other niche. What is the advantage than of pursuing a career in this sector?

Is real estate photography profitable? As in the US today, real estate is one of the most competitive industries, we can clearly say that yes, now is a good time to start a business in this area. Even if you love performing in other areas as a freelance photographer, real estate photography can be a great opportunity not only to earn some extra cash, but also to improve and diversify your skills.

Basic Equipment Needed

What you need to get started is a digital camera, lenses, tripod, and a computer which will allow you managing the post-processing phase.

  • Camera and Lenses

Real estate photography is a competitive area for professionals like you. That is why a good DSLR is your best bet. Choose one with high ISO performance for indoors shooting, and the possibility of using off-camera flash.

As regards the type of lenses you should use, wide angle lenses and tilt-shift lenses are a must for this type of photography.

While wide angle lenses are meant to help you shoot narrow spaces like bathrooms, tilt-shift lenses increase the depth of filed and enable sharper, high quality images taken outdoors. Tilt-shits lenses are required when shooting wider spaces, mainly correcting converging verticals.

The only thing you need to be super careful with is not to distort images by getting too enthusiastic with the use of lenses.

  • Tripod

Tripods are the key to a professional outcome, among others. We advise you to choose a sturdy duty one used for studio purposes. If you are at the start of your career and wonder what type of tripod would fit your needs best, check our post on top considerations when buying one.

  • Photo Editing Software


Not all images will turn out the way you or the client want. That is why a good knowledge of either Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop can save your life.

The Importance and Specificity of Lighting

It is never enough to emphasise the importance of lighting in photography. Needless to say that natural light sources are desirable in comparison to artificial lighting techniques. Let’s have a look at what you need to keep in mind depending on whether you shoot outdoors or indoors.

  • Exterior Real Estate Photography


Once you have been contracted for a real estate photo job, first thing to do is check the weather forecast. Also, planning is really important prior to the photo shooting. Ensure you are there early in the morning, take the equipment you need and get ready to spend a few hours working. Leave some time for post-processing too.

While on the scene, avoid shooting in the sun and search the angles that enable a broader perspective over the property. If there’s a yard, patio or garden, take advantage and capture a wider area.

exterior real estate photography

Great exterior images also benefit from an overcast sky. Don’t forget to take it into account.

  • Interior Real Estate Photography

First thing to consider is profiting from window light. Apart from that, you will need to work with interior light sources and even turn to supplemental light for dark corners.

interior real estate photography

Using flash is common for real estate photography as the time of shooting is too short for mastering sophisticated lighting techniques. In this case, be careful with the exposure of the image. Using a flash requires adjusting camera settings, like ISO, shutter speed and aperture.  We have already discussed about ISO settings in low light conditions. Have a look at our post on ISO and learn more about how to capture high quality interior images.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Post-Processing in Real Estate Photography

Editing tools such as post-processing software are essential in improving images of the property you were assigned to shoot.

The main advantage of post-processing real estate photos is pricing. Special editing will result in some extra cash for you as edited photos are charged more as compared to unprocessed ones.

However, real estate agencies demand accurate images. The key to a successful real estate photo editing process is thus making properties look amazing without distorting reality.

Real Estate Photo Format and Aspect Ratio

If you are new to real estate photography, inform about the marketing media format and aspect ratio preferred by real estate clients and use your equipment and tools accordingly.

Normally, each real estate agency decides on what photo dimensions and format are required for their websites. As a tip, try to get familiar with MLS sites and requirements in your area. These sites usually process and send images to regional and national real estate sites.

If you found this post useful or have any questions and suggestions, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

Image Sources: 1,2

Photography Contests You Must Enter in 2015

Whether you are an amateur or a professional, participating in photography contests is a great chance to gain both popularity and valuable experience. Check out our list of photographic competitions in 2015, send them your best shots and win some amazing prizes.


National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2015

National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is an annual competition gathering best travel photos from around the world. If you have amazing travel experiences to share, this is the right competition for you. Visit Traveler Photo Contest Official Page to have a look at the latest entries and learn more about how to submit your artwork. Give it a shot!

Photo by Anders Anderson for National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2015

Photo by Anders Anderson

Closing Date: June 30, 2015

Entry Conditions:


  • The 27th annual edition of National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is now open for photographers who have reached the age of majority in their states and who do not reside in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria.
  • In order to submit your image, you need to complete a form and pay an entry fee of $15.
  • The number of entries per person is unlimited.
  • All digital images are required to be 20 MB or smaller and at least 1,600 pixels wide (for horizontal images) or 1,600 pixels tall (for vertical images).
  • Format: JPEG/ JPG.



  • Travel Portraits
  • Outdoor Scenes
  • Sense of Place
  • Spontaneous Moments


Official Prizes


  • 1st PRIZE

First place winner gets an eight-day National Geographic Photo Expedition in Costa Rica and the Panama Canal with airfare for two.

  • 2nd PRIZE

First runner-up wins a six-day National Geographic Photo Expedition: Winter Wildlife in Yellowstone for two.

  • 3rd PRIZE

Second runner up gets a six-day cruise from Schooner American Eagle and Heritage for two.

They also have 7 MERIT PRIZES consisting of:

  • A $200 gift certificate to B&H Photo
  • National Geographic Masters of Photography course on DVD

All winners will receive a subscription to Traveler magazine.

Submit your best shots now to win one of these generous prizes.

World Palm Portraits Photography Competition 2015


If you think you can increase awareness on the attributes of palm oil through the power and beauty of pictorial compositions, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) created World Palm Portraits Photography Competition especially for you. ‘Discover Nature’s Gift’ and share your results to win prizes worth $12,000.

Closing Date: June 30, 2015.

Entry Conditions


  • The third edition of World Palm Portraits Photography Competition is open to all photographers around the world, professional or amateurs.
  • You must be 18 years of age or above.
  • You are required to use a digital camera capable of at least 8 megapixels. Photos taken with a smartphone camera or PDA are not eligible.
  • You can enter one or all categories of the competition.
  • Image minimum size: 3 MB (minimum resolution of 300 dpi).
  • Format: only JPG/JPEG formatted photos.
  • You may submit up to 20 images.

As regards Copyright terms, by entering the competition you agree to grant MPOC and to its partners full ownership of your photos. Your images may be used to promote the contest or other contests within Malaysia and internationally. The terms do not exclude other purposes as well. By entering the contest, you warrant that you are the owner of the images and these have not been used for commercial purposes before.



  • Nature & Wildlife
  • People & Portraits
  • Black & White
  • Fine Art & Photo Manipulation

Official Prizes


The prizes for EACH category are:

  • 1st PRIZE: $2,000
  • 2nd PRIZE: $1,000

For more information about the competition and how you can submit your work, please access palmportraits.com.my.


The Eros Magazine – Fine Art Nudes Photo Contest


The TZIPAC team announces the launch of an online digital magazine designed to celebrate and showcase the art behind nude photography. The magazine will also display other forms of art media, including traditional photography medium, painting and digital animation.

Closing Date: 30 Jun 2015

Entry Conditions:

  • Fine Art Nudes Photo Contest is open to all photographers worldwide.
  • Submitting your artwork is cost-free.
  • Photos are required to be 8 bit, 1500 pixels on the longest side, 72 dpi.
  • Image maximum size: 500 KB.
  • Format: JPG/ JPEG only.
  • Color space: RGB or sRGB.
  • You may submit up to 5 images.
  • Ensure there are no identifying borders, marks or logos on your photos.

Concerning copyright, you must warrant that you are the author of the artworks you submit and that you own all the rights to use the images.


Categories: OPEN

The competition judges are looking for unique skills and artistic perspectives on nude photography.


Official Prizes:

  • 1st PRIZE

The winner of the Grand Prize will receive a 20 page feature in first issue of The Eros Magazine and will be showcased in The Eros Magazine Winners Online Gallery.

  • 2nd PRIZE

The first runner up will receive a 10 page feature in The Eros Magazine – Issue 1, and will be showcased in their Winners Online Gallery.

  • 3rd PRIZE

The second runner up will also receive a 10 page feature in The Eros Magazine – Issue 1 and will be showcased in their Winners Online Gallery.

All finalists will be displayed in the first issue of The Eros Magazine and showcased in their Winners Online Gallery. Make sure you check your email as you will be notified in case you are one of the photographers featured in online winner’s galleries.

For more information on how to submit your work, please check their contest page.

National Park Photo Contest 2015


If you are a nature photography aficionado, enter National Park Photo Contest with your best landscape or wildlife picture to win a Tamron camera lens or accessory and be featured in a 2016 National Park Journal.


Closing Date: 31 Aug 2015


Entry Conditions:

  • The competition is opened to all residents of the US and the entry is free of charge.
  • There is a limit of 5 entries per person.
  • You can help the judges decide on the best shots by voting your favorites online.

Regarding Copyright, by entering the competition your photos become the property of the Sponsor and they have full rights to use your images for various purposes, including marketing and promotion.


Official Prizes:

  • 1st Prize – valued at $1069

One grand prize winner receives a Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD (for Canon, Nikon and Sony Full-Frame and APS-C DSLR cameras).

  • 2nd PRIZE – valued at $629

First runner up will receive a Tamron 16-300mm Di II VC PZD Macro (for Canon, Nikon and Sony APS-C DSLR cameras).


  • 3rd PRIZE – valued at $449

Second runner up will receive a Tamron 10-24mm Di II (for Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony APS-C DSLR cameras).

  • 15 Honorable Mention Prizes valued at $38,50 each

15 mention winners will receive a Leatherman multi tool from Tamron.

Winners will be selected by the end of September 2015.

For additional information on how to submit your work, you can visit the contest official website.


Good luck!

Top 10 Fashion Photographers

Both intriguing and gutty, fashion photographers have challenged the concept of beauty over generations and continue to redefine visual art in the fashion industry. Here at Virtual Photography Studio we want to bring into the open the work of successful professional photographers from various niches and places around the globe. After starting with a top selection of travel photographers, here are 10 fashion photographers worth knowing about.

Name: Alessio Bolzoni

Location: Paris, France

Bio: Born in Crema, in 1979, Alessio Bolzoni is an Italian fashion and editorial photographer whose work has been featured in Marie Claire, Office Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar UK, Elle US, Grey Magazine, Numero, Lurve magazine and many more.

Alessio Bolzoni fashion photographer

His photography captures a sense of drama and movement as street art and cinematography are his sources of inspiration. Bolzoni is definitely one of the avant-garde fashion photographer of these days, mixing high style with simplicity. The result – an unusual elegance.

Website: Alessio Bolzoni Photography

Name: Alessandro Dal Buoni

Location: London, UK

Bio: Italian born, Alessandro Dal Buoni is a fashion photographer based in London. He shoots for multiple magazines. To mention just a few: L’Officiel Hommes China, GQ Japan, Amica, L’Officiel Hommes Germany, AnOther Man, Hunter, D Magazine, Dazed & Confused, Mixte Hommes, Rolling Stone, V and V Man. Dal Buoni works with clients like Dior, Yohji Yamamoto, Roberta Furlanetto, KRISVANASSCHE, among others.

Alessandro dal Buoni Photography

© Alessandro dal Buoni Photography

His style is extremely versatile, but as a trademark there’s a sense of purity and grace in everything he captures.  He acknowledges Frantisek Drtikol, George Platt Lynes and Robert Mapplethorpe as the photographers who inspire him the most.

Website: Alessandro Dal Buoni Photography


Name: Sebastian Kim

Location: New York City, NY

Bio: Born in Vietnam and raised in three very different corners of the world – Iran, France and Southern California – Sebastian Kim is a renowned fashion and editorial photographer. He immersed in the world of fashion photography as an assistant of Richard Avedon and Steven Meisel.

Sebastian Kim fasgion photographer

Kim has collaborated with many famous publications such as Harper’s Bazaar UK, Vogue, Numero, and The New York Times. His fame grew tremendously after having worked with top fashion designers like Calvin Klein, John Galliano, Nina Ricci and Alexander Wang.

Kim’s shooting style is described as sexy and glamorous, yet tasteful.

Website: Sebastian Kim Photography


Name: Andrea Klarin

Location: Brussels, Belgium

Bio: Born in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia, Andrea is a fashion photographer, currently on the crest of the wave. Based in Brussels, he travels the world to work for clients like Vogue, Gloss, Flaunt, Harper’s Bazaar, Wallpaper, Madame Figaro and TANK magazines, as well as advertising clients such as Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Guerlain, Swarowski, Lanvin, L’Oreal, Nike, Longchamps and Canon.

Andrea Klarin, fashion photographer, and Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol and Andrea Klarin

With an obsession for perfection, his photographs are meant to redefine beauty by capturing a contemporary mood based on light, shapes, shadows and textures.

Website: Andrea Klarin Photography



Name: Steven Klein

Location: New York City, NY

Bio: Steven Klein is an acclaimed American photographer. His passion for photography began at the age of 10. Although he studied painting, he started building his career in photography as soon as he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Brad Pitt Photo Taken by Steven Klein, fashion photographer, for Interview Magazine

Brad Pitt by Steven Klein for Interview Magazine

Highly provocative and subversive, his photographic style brought him to the attention of major brands in the fashion world. Klein has shot for clients like Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, contributed regularly to magazines like Vogue, i-D, Numéro, W and Arena. He is mostly known for his editorials with Madonna and Brad Pitt.

Klein has also created vibrant images of iconic music artists, such as Britney Spears, Rihanna and Lady Gaga. His photographs are eclectic, sexual and inspiring.

Website:Steven Klein Studio


Name: Nick Knight


Bio: Born in London, United Kingdom, Nick Knight is one of most imaginative and influential photographers in the fashion industry. Over the years he has worked for leading designers including Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Lancôme, Levi Strauss and Yves Saint Laurent. Nick Knight also shot for high-profile brands like Audi and Mercedes Benz, challenging not only the conventions of fashion media, but also the conventional notion of a fashion photographer.

Famous fashion photographer Nick Knight

Among his prestigious clients, it is worth mentioning British Vogue, Paris Vogue, Dazed & Confused, Another Man and I-D magazines.

Apart from photography, he is also a renowned filmmaker. He shot videos for artists like Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Gwen Stefani, Massive Attack and Bjork. His style is thought to be experimental, and progressive, or, in another words, at the edge of the avant-garde. He continues to create visionary content on his own fashion website SHOWstudio.com.

Website: Nick Knight Photography


Name: Annie Leibovitz

Location: New York City, NY

Bio: Annie Leibovitz is one of the most famous female American photographers of all times. Born in Connecticut, she is a third-generation American with family roots in Romania and Estonia. While studying painting at the San Francisco Institute, she discovered photography and started working for the Rolling Stones magazine. In 1973 she became the magazine’s chief photographer, shooting no less than 142 covers in ten years, including the iconic embrace of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Lennon was shot dead five hours after the photo shooting, making Leibovitz’s photograph a memorable moment in the history of visual art.

Annie Leibovitz American fashion photographer

She then collaborated with Vanity Fair, shooting the pregnant Demi Moore, Lady Gaga, President Barack Obama, and more recently, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Leibovitz’s portraits are dramatic, provocative and highly influential.

Website: Annie Leibovitz Photography


Name: Mert & Marcus

Location: London, UK

Bio: Mert & Marcus is the name of two fashion photographers working together, both born in 1971 and influenced by the renowned fashion photographer Guy Bourdin. Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott are some of the leading photographers in fashion today.

They worked for top publications like Vogue, W Magazine, Pop Magazine, Numero. High-profile brands like Louis Vuitton, Missoni, Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Fendi, Kenzo, and Miu Miu are just some of their major clients.

Mert & Marcus fashion photographers

Mert & Marcus are known for a creative and innovative use of digital technology. But what keeps them ahead of the game is their exuberant and sophisticated photography. Their style is highly aesthetic, unconventional and, sometimes, hyperreal.

Website: Mert & Marcus Photography



Name: Paolo Roversi

Location: Paris, France

Bio: Italian-born fashion photographer, Paolo Roversi is now based in Paris. His love for photography came early, in 1964, while on vacation with his family in Spain. After returning back home, he set up a darkroom and began developing his own black and white work. Years later, he started working as a reporter until he was discovered by the British photographer Lawrence Sackmann.

Paolo Roversi Italian fashion photographer

After nine month of apprenticeship with Sackmann, Roversi started working on his own as a fashion photographer, shooting for Elle, Depeche Mode and Marie Claire. He has created ads for Armani, Dior, Romeo Gigli, Yohji Yamamoto and a many others.

His photographs are acclaimed for a sense of grace, purity and femininity due to Paolo’s technique, which he says to be ‘more subtraction than addition’.

Website: Paolo Roversi Photography



Name: Mario Sorrenti

Location: New York, NY

Bio: New York City based photographer, Mario Sorrenti was born in Naples in 1971. He is best known for his nude photography featured in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as for the iconic shooting of Kate Moss for the Calvin Klein Obsession perfume campaign. Sorrenti is active in the music industry as well, having shot Shakira, Maxwell, and Drake. He also directed John Mayer’s video for ‘Daughters’ in 2003.

Mario Sorrenti fashion photographer

Among his clients from the world of fashion, he has collaborated with notorious publications and fashion houses like Vanity Fair, Another Man, Lancôme, Paco Rabanne, and Benetton. Currently, he exclusively works for the Art Partner agency and continues to surprise his audience with a provocative, always impressive vision on what fashion photography is.

Website: Mario Sorrenti Photography


Image Sources: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

What Every Photographer Should Have in the Studio for Clients

Being a photographer can definitely be a rewarding career, but it can also be demanding, especially when it comes to staying on top of the latest photography technology that can help you up your game. But in addition to investing in the right tools to make your photos really stand out, you also need to take steps to make certain your studio space has everything it needs for your clients.

Wondering what every photographer should have in his studio for clients? Then check out the tips below to see what your space is missing.

Basic Equipment

The last thing you’d want is for a client to come to your studio and find that you aren’t prepared. So to set up your studio, no matter how large or small it is, make sure you at least have the essentials. These include a large backdrop in black or white, a main light, a hair light for your model, a reflector, a tripod, and, of course, your camera. Having backups for each of these pieces of equipment is also important because tools tend to fail without notice in the world of photography, and, again, you don’t want to be left embarrassed because you don’t have spare pieces to work with.

A TV for Previewing Images or Entertaining Clients in the Waiting Room

The most annoying thing a photographer can do is use his camera’s screen to show a client the photos that are being captured. Whether you’re taking product shots or you’re working with a model, having to constantly take the camera off your body, if you’re using a strap, and turning it around for your client to see is difficult and time-consuming. And it also doesn’t really show your client what you’re capturing because the screen is so small.

Instead, invest in a TV set that can properly display your images in all their glorious detail. When you aren’t using your TV for displaying your work, you can use it to stream entertaining shows for your clients while they wait for you. Investing in satellite TV could be a great way to do this affordably.

Refreshments and Snacks

If you’re going to be meeting with clients for both consultations and actual photo shoots, it’s best to have plenty of refreshments and snacks on hand. These can include pretzels, healthy chips, water, coffee, and tea. Offer these to your clients, models, and prospective clients to show them a bit of hospitality and make them feel at ease and welcomed in your space.

A Good Laptop

If you don’t have a TV to display your photos on as you take them, you can also display them on a laptop instead. The great thing about having a laptop ready is the fact that you can also show prospective clients your portfolio, as well as show models how you can quickly edit the photos in a program like Photoshop to enhance them.

Once you have your studio set up with everything a client could need, you’ll feel more comfortable and likely make more sales.

Best Way to Store Digital Photos Import to Your Computer

Transferring both photos and videos from your digital camera into your computer can be a hustle. But we are here to provide you with practical ideas that will spare your nerves, time, and money. Whether you use a memory card or a USB cable, here is what you need to know about the best way to store digital photos on your hard disk.

Best Way to Store Digital Photos on Your Computer

Using a Memory Card

The first thing you notice after you insert your memory card into the PC (or external memory card reader if there’s not an internal card slot) is that the card is detected, and acts like a drive. The easiest way to transfer and store your photos is by opening the folder on your card as you would do with any other folder, and then manually copy files on a folder of your choice located on your internal or external hard disk.

Import Photos with Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard

Import Photos from Memory Card with Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard

Depending on the operating system installed on your computer, there’s a built-in software which will detect your memory card and provide you with more import options. Please check the section below to find out more about it.

Using a USB cable

Using a USB cable is as easiest as using a memory card. If you are a Windows OS user, for instance, you can import photos from your digital camera or smart phone by using a software once your camera is connected to your computer. Photos imported this way will be store in My Pictures folder.

All you need to do is make sure the power of your camera is turned off before you plug the USB cable into your computer, then turn it on and follow the instructions specific to the operating system you use. Windows will recognize your camera and remember the action you take.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • For Windows XP, click on Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard
  • For Windows Vista, click Import Pictures
  • For Windows 7, click Import pictures and videos using Windows
  • For Windows 8, click Import Pictures and Videos, and then follow the prompts.
Import Photos into Your PC by Using Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard

Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard for Windows

After you select the photos you want to be transferred on your PC, label and copy them by simply dragging and dropping them on a folder you will easily find afterwards.

If you are a Mac OS user, after connecting your camera to your computer or inserting your memory card, open iPhoto from the Applications folder, enter the ‘Roll Name’ and ‘Description’ for the images you want to transfer, and then click Import.

Import Photos from Camera with iPhoto

iPhoto for Mac OS

Does this sound too easy? Let’s make things a bit more complicated and professional. If you want to play with settings and options, you can use a variety of programs and applications.

Ideas on How to Transfer, Label and Organize Your Photo Gallery

For proficient transfer and organization of digital images into your PC, I have chosen to briefly describe two digital photography software you might find useful.

  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

I will begin with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, which is an image optimizer developed by Adobe Systems for both Windows and Mac OS.

What Lightroom does is to import, export, create collections of photos, slideshows, and web galleries, and even retouch your images. If you are looking for an import tool that will both organize and edit your photos, this is the best choice for you.

Adobe Lightroom Import Screenshot

Import Photos with Adobe Lightroom

One of the settings I really like is creating second copies of your photos to an alternative folder of your choice. Be clever and always save them on an external hard drive. 

  • Adobe Bridge

Recommended for Photoshop users, Adobe Bridge is a media asset management app also developed by Adobe Systems. Once launched, this application helps you to get photos from your camera and has a few useful saving options.

After you have clicked on ‘Get Photos from Camera’ and selected the images you want to import, you can rename them before copying them into a folder on your computer. The app allows you to create subfolders and, similar to Lightroom, has advanced options that you can use to save copies of imported photos on a different location (‘Save Copies To’ checkbox on Advanced Options menu).

Adobe Bridge Screenshot

Import Photos with Adobe Bridge

Sadly, it lacks the editing functions of Lightroom, but some find it easier to use.

Storage Ideas

External Hard Drive

It is not only advisable, but also professional to have a back-up storage plan for your photographs. Using an external drive is the easiest way to ensure your data is stored properly. Play it safe and buy one!

Cloud Storage Services

The second storage option I recommend is cheaper (actually it can be free), but it requires internet connection.

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage refers to data stored online in a cloud.

Cloud Storage

Cloud for Permanent Digital Storage

Advantages of using cloud storage:

  • It is accessible from any place you are, at any time as long as you are connected to the internet.
  • It is safe, providing cloud backup solutions in case a disaster happens.
  • There are completely free cloud storage services.

Top 3 Free Cloud Storage Services:

  • Dropbox is the most popular cloud storage service in the world. Easy-to-use, it offers 2 GB of free cloud storage to every user but there are ways to earn up to 16 GB of free storage if you recommend it to other users.
  • Google Drive offers 15 GB of free storage and also allows you to share and edit your files.
  • Mega offers 50 GB of free cloud storage.

The disadvantage of cloud storage options is that it might not work if you are in a remote area and urgently need to find a photo as it is internet-dependent. If you are planning to shoot on a location that does not have good internet reception, go back to plan A and take your external hard disk with you.

Tips on How to Organize Your Already Transferred Photos

  • Don’t Forget Where You Saved your Photos

Well, the reason you need to be well-organized is avoid going out of your senses when you realize you want to use a photo taken three years ago and don’t remember where it’s stored.

If you are an enthusiastic photographer I imagine you have plenty of folders on your computer. Just be careful where you have saved them.

  • Choose a Memorable Folder Name

Yes, transferring photos can be a tedious thing to do and we might lose inspiration on the way. I am sure each of us at some point organized and classified photos by their date. Easy, but not so clever! Not when you have dozens of folders entitled according to shooting dates.

Try, for instance, to name your folder according to photography techniques and types, such as Landscape Photos/ Nature Photos, Portraits, or Travel Photos, Macro Photography. Also, create subfolders named after shooting locations. For example: Landscape Photos/ Himalayas.

  • Be consistent

There are many options when it comes to importing photos from our cameras, and some would like to try out as many of them as possible as to identify the one it suits his or her needs best. Once you have figured out which is the ultimate choice for you, it is advisable to set a specific routine and save time for other essential aspects like editing.

I hope this post will help you import and store photos on your computer in a more efficient way. If you have any questions or tips and want to share your ideas with us, please leave a comment.

Image sources1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

How to Get Shallow Depth of Field in Your Photos

In many cases, a shallow depth of field in a portrait is a great way to highlight your subject and to get rid of distractions present in the background. There are several ways in which you can achieve a shallow depth of field in your photos. Here are some tips that will help you with this.

1. Positioning of Subject

One simple thing to do in order to get shallow depth of field in your photos is to position the subject as far away from the background as possible. If your subject is standing in front of a wall you will most likely end up with the wall in focus regardless of what you are trying to do. However, if the subject is standing very far away from the wall, it is going to be a lot blurrier.Shallow Depth of Field

2. Portrait Mode

You can use the portrait mode on your camera to get the same effect. This mode will do most of the hard work for you because it automatically selects a large aperture which will make the depth of field smaller.

3. Aperture Priority Mode

If you want something a little more difficult you can choose the aperture priority mode. This mode will let you choose the aperture and will let the camera do the rest for you. This semi-auto mode is a good way to control your depth of field and it will make sure all your images will be exposed just right. Choose a large aperture if you want a very shallow depth of field and blurry backgrounds. Experiment a bit with shots at different apertures to see exactly how these settings will affect the objects in the background.

4. Zoom Lenses

If you are using a 18-55mm lens it will have an aperture of maximum f3.5 at 18mm and f5.6 at 55. If you use the 18mm end of range because you think this is best for blurred backgrounds, you might face issues. 18mm is a wide angle and this means that for portraits you will have to get really close to the subject and this will distort the facial features.

For me, shooting at 55mm is the best way to go. You will be able to stand further away from your subject and push the background away from the camera. You will still be able to get blurry backgrounds in your shots if you use the fastest aperture.

5. Get a New Lens

This isn’t a very good solution if you’re on a budget, but it is the easiest. Different types of lenses have different apertures. The lenses with larger apertures are called faster and one of the advantages of having this kind of lens is that you will be able to make the depth of field a lot smaller. Another advantage of using a fast lens is that you will be able to snap great images even in darker environments without having to use a flash. A great fast lens is a 50mm f/1.8 lens. This is a very fast lens and it has a great focal length that comes in handy when shooting portraits.

So there you have it. This was our list of 5 tips on how to get shallow depth of field in your photos.

Image source: 1