Quick guide on how to shoot big sky photography

Camille-Seaman

Big sky photography – a way to give your landscape photos the shock element.

But it ain’t easy shooting the sky, and you need to acknowledge the fact that the there will be obvious contrast issues. Even more importantly, you’ll encounter a big problem in finding the best time to go on a photo shoot. This is were we come in and save the day.

What to keep in mind when embarking on a big sky photography shoot?

Besides worrying about what gear you are using, you should consider thinking about when it’s the perfect time to take a landscape photo that is encompassed by the sky. We can’t just take photos of sunny, beautiful scenery all the time – where’s the fun in making everything blissfully happy? We need to get out of our comfort zone and take a walk, with our camera of choice gripped tightly in our hand, when there’s a storm about to hit, or a slight summer shower. The most beautiful photos that I have managed to take were the ones that made me worry not about my health, because I was soaking wet, but if my camera can withstand so much downpour.

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We need to make the landscape more exciting by adding the sky, and that means paying attention to weather reports. Can you imagine what impact a bland landscape enveloped in a sky filled with a single cell Cumulonimbus cloud can have? I’ll tell you – jaws will drop.

The land needs to play the supporting role in your big photography shoots – don’t focus on capturing the essence of the land, focus on timing it perfectly so the sky is the main star in your picture.

This doesn’t mean that you forget about the importance of the land all-together. Even though it doesn’t get the lead part, it also has to bring something to the scenery – it may not be much, but still, it needs something. You could capture a single withered tree, a blacked-out boy that plays with a basketball, even a dog that just looks straight up, maybe wondering, like all of us, what does it all mean. You need to let your creativity run amok through yourself, and not worry about failing – you will fail countless of times, but failing at something is a step into being sort of a good at it.

Big sky photography

Everyone has different preferences regarding lenses – and sometimes it really depends on the circumstance you are in – but try starting with a wide-angle zoom. I’m just stating the obvious now, but when you use a wide angle lens, you will capture more of the sky thus exaggerating the feel of impact, and you will create the illusion that clouds are rushing out at the viewer. You can play with perspective all you want, you just require time to find out what best suits your style.

Let’s talk about filters!

There is not such thing as a correct exposure of the land, there are only things that work in a certain circumstance, and other things that feel just wrong using. What’s important though is to significantly differentiate between the landscape and the sky. For starters reduce the exposure of the top portion of the frame, and the easiest way for beginners, and veterans alike, is to use a Neutral Density graduated filter, and align it such that it covers the sky. By doing so, you will darken the sky, while the landscape below remains bright. Play with the Neutral Density graduated filter as you like – 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 are the most used, but let your imagination flow.

Neutral Density Grad Filter

Another trick you can try is to polarise the sky – no, you’re not getting advice from a mad scientist right now, just bare with me. It’s a polariser filter that enhances the sky thus making the clouds stand out in an ocean of blue. It’s actually pretty cool once you get a hang of it. For the best outcome be certain that the sun is at a 90 degrees to the direction your camera is pointing – if the sun is straight behind you nothing will be accomplished.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different style of frames!

You’ve done research on countless weather channels, you got your gear set up, and you just arrived at the location you are dead set to shoot, but you are missing one essential point. How big should the frame be? Should I shoot it wide, or just capture a part of the sky and a little land? From what perspective should I try shooting? Well, for starters I highly recommend using a wide angle lens so that the sky composes half of your picture, or 2 thirds of it – and balance it with a strong focal point.

Different Perspective

Once you go out on a trial run, get home and marvel at your creation, you’ll find that you completely forgot to take a meter reading. Aren’t you glad that you are reading this? Before starting to shoot do a meter reading by tilting the camera forward. By doing so you will exclude the sky entirely. Set the reading to Manual Mode, and you’ll be able to play with the land’s exposure – balance it by using the Neutral Density graduated filter.

Final tips and tricks!

  • Be careful while you use the polarise filter. At first it will look odd, and unsettling – some parts of the sky will look much darker than others, but you can solve this problem by reducing the angle’s width.
  • Experiment with different Neutral Density graduated filters. The 0.6 one is set to be the most useful of the bunch, but don’t form a routine. Use the 0.9 too – they can be bought in a set.
  • Lighting can be a pain in the buttocks, and you’ll most certainly try to use a ND grad filter, but you’ll learn it to be impractical when facing such problems. Shoot two, or more frames from the same point and then combine, and edit them in Photoshop for the best outcome.

 

With this being said, I only wish you the perfect weather, and that spark of creativity to shoot photos that you love.

 

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

 

 

TIPA Awards Winners – The Best Devices in the Photography World

There are so many reviews out there focusing on cameras, lenses, accessories and various other photography-related devices. The prevalence of these items is so great that it can seem daunting for the casual photographer to decide on something. The best way to approach a possible purchase is by reading up on reviews and doing a bit of research. But, you still need a place to start. Don’t you think? This is where we come in with this post on the TIPA Awards winners. We use the awards ceremonies to tell you the best devices in the photography world.

Today, we’ve got the winners of one of the most, if not the most, prestigious award in the photography world. The TIPA Awards are the most popular and coveted imaging and photo awards in the world. Every year, the editors from TIPA vote for the best imaging and photo products that were introduced to the market during the previous year. The voters take into consideration design and ergonomics, innovation, the use of cutting edge technology, ease-of-use and price/performance ratio. TIPA’s experienced editors vote for the best of the best and whichever product gets the most votes, gets designated as the winner. Know that the categories for the TIPA Awards are regularly updated according to the latest tech trends. Let’s take a look at the winners of the TIPA Awards 2014.

tipa awards

One more thing before we begin. You will notice that some categories will seem to repeat themselves, such as the Best Digital SLR Camera, but it’s not really the case as the categories do slightly differ.

Best Technology & Design

For this category, the Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF came out as a clear winner.

Best Interchangeable Lens

The TIPA editors voted for the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x as being the best interchangeable lens.

Best Digital SLR Camera

Canon EOS 70D was voted as the best digital SLR camera in 2014. This camera is also a bit pricey. It costs a cool $1,000. Ouch. If you have the means, many professionals will tell you it’s worth the high entry price.

Best Digital Compact Camera

In case you were wondering which digital compact camera to buy in 2015, you can try the pricey Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II.

Best Photo Software

Adobe Photoshop, beware! DxO ViewPoint 2 was voted as the best photo software by the TIPA editors.

Best Digital Projector

The best digital projector on the market is the Epson EH-TW7200. It is a upper mid-range home cinema LCD projector that has some cool features, such as vertical and horizontal image shifting, a high contrast ration and a brightness of 2000 Lumens. It is also capable of 3D playback, which for the price of $2,800 is great!

Best Photo Printer & Consumables

Everyone knows that Epson makes great photo printers, but now TIPA gave the 2014 verdict and it appears that the Epson Expression Photo XP-950 is the best.

Best Compact System Camera

The FUJIFILM X-T1 was voted as being the best compact system camera.

Best Photo Printer & Consumables

Hahnemühle Photo Silk Baryta 310 was also voted as being the best product in the photo printer and consumables category.

Best Large Display

The LG 21:9 UltraWide 34UM95 was voted as being the best large display available on the market.

Best Accessory

Manfrotto New 190 collection

Best Lighting System

The Nissin i40 was voted best lighting system by the TIPA editors.

Best Mobile Imaging

Photosmith 3 got voted as the best mobile imaging. Have you tried it?

Best Storage Solutions

Choosing a memory card isn’t as easy as one may think, but now that TIPA has declared the SanDisk Extreme PRO SDHC/SDXC UHS-II Memory Card the best in 2014, you might have an easier time deciding on which one to get for your beloved camera.

Best Camcorder

Wondered what is the best camcorder you can buy at the moment? Well, TIPA decided that Sony FDR-AX100 was it!

Digital Compact Cameras

The two high-end digital compact cameras on our list, the Nikon AW1 (mirrorless) and the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II are very impressive cameras indeed. If you are interested in purchasing a digital compact camera, then let’s take a quick look at the key features and specifications that these cameras possess.

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II has a 12.8 megapixel 1.5″-type CMOS sensor and a Digic 6 processor. The 24-120mm equivalent F2.0-3.9 lens with optical IS is really amazing and the dual (customizable) control rings along with the tilting 3″, 1.04M dot touchscreen LCD make the picture-taking experience a great one with the new Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II. It is capable of 5.2 fps continuous shooting and maintains same angle-of-view at 4:3 and 3:2. It has Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication abilities along with remote control via smartphone. It takes 1080/30p videos and it has an optional XGA electronic viewfinder. The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II costs $799.

The Nikon AW1 is a mirrorless waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof camera. The camera is freezeproof and could go unprotected in temperatures as low as 14F (-10C), it is waterproof down to 49 feet (15 meters) and shockproof from up to 6.6 feet (2 meters). It has a 14MP C-format (2.7x crop factor) CMOS sensor and an ISO of 100-6400. You can view all your photos on its 3-inch LCD that has a whopping 921,000 dots. The Nikon AW1 also has built-in GPS with compass, altimeter, and depth meter and an Action Control system for underwater/gloved operation. You can even do PASM shooting through the ‘Creative Mode’ menu. The camera shoots 15 fps in burst mode with continuous AF, 60 fps with single AF and it also takes full HD 1080p video. The Nikon AW1 is priced at $746.

If you have any questions about any product on this list, feel free to drop us a line in the comment section below and we would be more than happy to assist!

10 Photography Tips for Mirorrless Cameras

More and more people are choosing mirrorless cameras over digital single reflex lens cameras (DSLRs). Some do it because they are transitioning from a compact camera, others because they are too intimidated by the size and feature set of a DSLR.

Understanding your Mirrorless

y1First, in order to work your camera, you need to understand it. Mirrorless are in the Digital Compact Cameras category, which means they have tiny sensors and exchanging lenses is impossible. Being compact is one of the best attributes you can find in a MILC (mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera).

So, a MILC is like a digital SLR, only without the mirrors and all the extra features. It is also much, much smaller and lighter than a digital SLR, which means it is more versatile and chances are that you will be using it more on a daily basis, because it can easily fit in your bag. A MILC menu of controls and operation is very similar to a compact camera. But the best thing about mirrorless is that it has large sensors that help improve the image quality, giving you more accurate results.

Some people use a MILC as their only camera, other use it as an extension, while some photographers have a MILC that they take out on a daily basis, taking quick, beautiful snapshots. Either way, here are some tricks for you to make the best use of your mirrorless camera.

Mirorrless Camera Photography Tips

#1 The first tip is to invest in extra lenses. If you’ve purchased a camera with interchangeable lenses, take advantage of them. Most cameras come with the 18-35 mm zoom lens which is okay – until it isn’t. These lenses are versatile and functional, but they get in the way of achieving amazing results. For starters, you should use a wide-angle prime lens, which will help you take the most advantage of your tiny camera body. Look into the 35 mm or 50 mm prime with a maximum aperture of f/2.0 or faster. The point is, the lower the number, the better for you.

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#2 In a mirrorless camera, the light gets through the lens, without a mirror, right onto the image sensor. This means that the more light that comes through the lens, the higher the sensor and the better the picture.

#3 High-end MILC use contrast detection to adjust their autofocus, while others only have contrast-detection AF. When looking to buy a MILC, the best advice is to go for one that has focusing settings similar to DSLRs. Nobody wants their pictures to be out-of-focus.

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#4 Ideally, all MILCs have full Manual mode, Aperture and Shutter Speed. If you are a novice, you can try Program mode. The exposure will be correct, and this mode will also let you play around with Iso light sensitivity which is great for low light conditions.

#5 Canon mirrorless cameras have modes that some DSLRs don’t. Some of the features give you control over the level of background blur or adjusting the depth of fields and color richness.

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#6 For moving photos, you should place your camera on a tripod and put it on Shutter Priority mode. Set the shutter speed to 1/250 seconds. This way, you will capture most of the movement. If what you’re capturing is a really fast movement, adjust the shutter speed to 1/1250. This should be enough to freeze the moment.

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#7 When taking portraits with your MILC keep in mind that you have full control over the depth of field, so use the Aperture Priority mode as much as you can. 35mm prime (no zooming) lens or even a 50mm on a full frame camera will allow you to get the best results in photographing people. The aperture should be at around f/8, and if the distance between you and the subject is less than 6 meters, go for an aperture of f/5.6 or larger.

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#8 Almost the same tricks apply when taking a landscape photograph, only now you aperture should be of f/9 or higher to keep things in the distance in focus. If you look to have everything in the picture as sharp as possible, set your aperture to 20 or even higher, and consider using wide-angle lens.

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#9 Shooting in low light is tricky with any sort of camera, but once you get the hang of it, you will take amazing pictures. For example, using a tripod is advisable, but if you don’t have one, you needn’t worry. Turn your camera to Shutter Priority and set the shutter speed to 1/60 a second. If you don’t own a tripod, you could use something else, such as a table, or a pile of books on a chair on which to rest the camera.

#10 Even when shooting with a MILC, you should never neglect the ISO function. This allows you to get more detail in dark rooms or during the night. Of course, you could set it on Auto Mode and let the camera choose the right ISO, but you would get better results if you did it yourself.

After all, you know best. The general rule is that the higher the ISO, the more grained the image will be. Usually, during daytime, a low ISO of 100 or 200 is advisable. In low light conditions, use an ISO of 3200, especially with a mirror lens. Some MILCs offer features that help you with the noise reduction. Read the manual first and then experiment.

Conclusion

The obvious advantage of having a mirrorless camera is that your back will never suffer again from carrying your heavy DSLR. The results are similar to professional digital SLRs which is a big plus for a mirrorless. Plus, a MILC is better for a casual photographer who wants to take pictures all day.

A serious shooter is always going to go for a DSLR, especially in a studio or out in the wild. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter which one you have, because there is absolutely no difference in image quality.

They both take excellent photos, but of course, they need you to make that happen.

DSLR Guide for Beginners: The Best Entry Level DSLR Tips

So, you’ve purchased your first DSLR camera, have you? You most likely read the manual, watched tutorials, asked your fellow photographer friends for tips. And still, you are reluctant to experiment with your new purchase. Do you find it easier to just use the Auto function? You don’t even take the camera out with you because you find it too difficult and somewhat embarrassing to fiddle around with various settings? This guide on the best entry level DSLR tips for photographers just starting out. [Read more…]

Creative Photo Ideas for Spring 2015

Here are some awesome creative photo ideas for you to try along with the necessary tips to achieve the looks and style in these photos. These are very useful for both professional photographers and amateur ones who want to have a little fun with some beautiful shots.

Shoot a daring fashion photo

Creative Photo Ideas

Seeing how winter is coming to an end, why not try to lift up everybody’s spirits by shooting a very vibrant and colorful image. This is a great technique used by Dan Comaniciu, a fashion photographer.

He says that you don’t have to make your model wear very brightly colored clothes or use a colorful backdrop, as it is quite easy to edit the whole picture in Photoshop.

Tips

Even though it’s very easy to edit the photos‘ colors in Photoshop, it helps to have the right lighting when taking the picture. The photographer used two Hensel lights along with strip soft boxes on the sides of his subject, at around 90 degree angles. This gives the subject a very special almost sculptural feel.

It’s very important to light your backdrop uniformly. Comaniciu made use of two flash lights, shot with the same levels through his soft boxes, pointed at the backdrop.

Creative Photo Ideas – Shoot Macro Photos

Creative Photo Ideas

Explore the miniature world that surrounds you. Macro photography lets you be creative and capture very beautiful images without leaving the comfort of your home.

There are a lot of subjects you can shoot by using macro photography. You may choose to go more traditional and shoot nature and flowers, or you may wish to use more abstract angles and shoot a regular object such as a spoon. Shooting water drops hitting a surface seems to work pretty well too.

There are some rules you must follow when shooting macro photography, though. To capture a great image you will need a macro lens with a ratio aspect of 1:1. However, if you don’t own something like this, you can improvise and connect an extension tube to whatever standard lens you have.

The aperture setting is one of the most important aspects when it comes to macro photography.

Because of the very close proximity in which you take your shot, the depth of field looks to be very low, even when you close the aperture.

A great technique used in macro photography is to take more shots with different exposures and different focus points and edit them all together to form a single sharp image.

Tips for the Creative Photo Ideas

You will need a tripod because you will be forced to shoot using a very narrow aperture setting.

You might want to use an additional light to make your subject look great. LED panels are a very easy and fast solution.

To end up with very sharp images make use of the Liveview feature and switch the setting of focus to manual. Make sure your focal point is very sharp before taking the shot.

Shoot people on the go

Creative Photo Ideas

Taking digital photography shots of random people on the street may seem a little challenging, but busy centers are filled with great opportunities to shoot great images of people on the go.

Photographer Adam Hinton made a trip to Tokyo to work on a personal project.

He said that his initial intention was to photograph people on the streets of Tokyo on their way to work. He wanted to make a purely esthetic project with no social commentary whatsoever. However, Adam did say after starting the project that people who are on their way to work often look focused, serious and very tired.

He shot the images by standing in the center of the busiest street in Tokyo in the morning rush. He took shots of every person who walked through a beam of light that he spotted in the crowd.

Tips

The photographer advises everyone not to be gimmicky in their approaches. You should avoid signs or humor and look at the subject aesthetically to understand what statement you’re making.

Don’t carry a lot of things with you as you will want to stay very light when shooting in a large crowd.

Shoot your local wildlife

Creative Photo Ideas

You don’t have to travel to Africa to get great shots of wildlife and Jamie Hall proves this with his amazing photographs.

He said he wanted to shoot deer in an urban location to stand out of the crowd and he went in different parks and woods in cities where deer usually were hiding. The photographer said that you must study their movements as they are creatures of habit. After studying them you will be able to predict where the animals will go.

He said that even though deer are going in urban environments they’re still very nervy animals and you won’t be able to get too close to them. You must really be aware of the creature’s habits to get great shots of the animal.

Tips

Do some research in order to find out where your local wildlife can be found.

Jamie said that in most shots he used shutter speeds of 1/30 seconds to 3 seconds. This means that you will have to take shots of the animal while it’s standing perfectly still.

Shoot a creative abstract

Creative Photo Ideas

You won’t have to travel very far to find some amazing shapes, patterns and textures in man-made environments and natural ones.

Mark Mason shoots what he refers to as threatened things, temporary things and hopelessly out of the way objects.

He explains that the textures, colors and shapes of an object are vessels such as words in a poem that helps him explain what he feels at the moment he’s taking the shot.

The image is shot in an auto graveyard close to Route 66. He chose not to photograph the rusty cars and instead captured fascinating textures and patterns in the metal of those cars.

Tips

For the image, he used a Canon EOS-3 with 135mm f/2 lens.

He doesn’t recall the exposure he used but says he mounted the camera on a tripod so most likely he used f/5.6 because that metal was flat.

It’s very important to have great lighting when taking the shot. Mark says he was standing in the shadow of a trailer but the dirt on the metal reflected the light coming from the sun evenly.

So there you have it. This was our list of some creative photo ideas for you to try this March.

Images source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

8 Urban Photography Tips for Urban Landscape Photographers

Hong Kong Urban Photography by Thomas Birke 254534524

Many photographers do not go head first into the wild jungle of concrete urban photography in metropolitan environments have to offer, simply because there is so much information going on out there that you it is quite hard to focus on something. However, there are some brave photographers that are not afraid of the challenge so if you are among them, here are some great tips which may help you out with your urban landscape photography.

Given the fact that you either do not have a lot to work with or quite the opposite, you have too much, you need to get creative. All the rules that apply in general photography, apply for urban landscape photographers as well so make sure you know everything about focal points, exposure, ISO and light before you embark on the trip of an urban landscape photographer.

1. Avoid Areas with Billboards

When talking about urban photography, the average person immediately thinks about portrait photography. You can see these huge billboards with portraits everywhere and they take up so much space that you cannot see anything that is happening beside them. If you want to be a true urban landscape photographer, focus on the word landscape. Try finding areas where you can mix together different architecture styles, where you see buildings blending with the color of the sky or where you find buildings which simply work well together. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

2. Be Careful Gear-wise

You will most likely have to have more than one lens when going outside to take some great photographs. Choose a wide angle and a zoom lens for urban photography. The wide angle adds depth of field and is great for capturing the big picture while the longer focal length allows you to capture details.

3. Choose a Theme

It is easier to accomplish a goal if you have one from the beginning. Of course you can be spontaneous and just go out and start taking pictures but if you have a theme in mind, it is going to be easier to focus on the small things as well. When you search for something specific, you will also notice what happens around it.

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4. Find Mirrors

Many modern buildings choose reflective materials as their outside surface so why not take advantage of that? Think on those beautiful landscape photographs which show a scene reflected in water, you can have that in an urban environment as well, by using buildings instead of water.

5. Find the Best Angle

Given the fact that buildings usually have lots of lines you can work with, be careful when it comes to your shooting angle. A photograph with no sense of perspective is something you want to avoid at all cost. If possible, try taking photographs of buildings or city streets from a level that allows you to create a good looking perspective. If you want to shoot a building from bottom to top, be careful that the edge lines of your photograph are parallel with the edge lines of the building; otherwise you will end up with a distorted perspective.

Urban Photography

6. Shoot at Different Moments of the Day

You will be surprised on how urban photography of random objects, street scenes or buildings can turn out during different moments of the day. Try going out one day in the morning, capture some photographs of your favorite building, coffee shop or street. Come back and take the same photographs in the afternoon and during the night and see how light influences not only your photographs but also the subjects of your photography.

7. Use Contrasts

If you want to attract the human eye into a certain point of your photography, you need to use contrasts. This also works if you want to make a statement or make a certain idea known, through your photography. By using contrasts, you can make people see a whole new part of their city, one that they may not be even aware of. For example, if you want to attract people’s attention on how much garbage they produce daily, try capturing pictures of overfilled trash cans around your town and of people ignoring it.

If you want to see how urban environments blend it with nature, try finding the perfect angle from where you can shoot a building blending in with the sky. See how the building changes depending on the color of the sky (this works amazing with buildings with a reflective surface). There are countless of ways to make people see what you want them to see by using contrasts.

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8. Do not Focus on People

Whether it is you intention or not, if you shoot a picture of an urban landscape and it happens to have people in it, the focal point will automatically be set on the people. That it is just how the human mind works. You need to choose what exactly you want: an urban landscape blurred out by the people or simply an urban landscape photograph. An urban landscape photograph means that you will have to exclude people from it.

Tips on Indoor Photography

One of the most important features you need to consider when talking about photography is light. Once you have your subject you need to think about light and then about all the other parameters, especially when it comes to indoor photography.

In the following article you will find some the best tips on indoor photography that you can start using today.

There is not much you can use when you are shooting indoors or au contraire, there is too much. If you consider starting your own business as a professional photographer you must explore everything and see what you are actually good at. Although you may think that an expert photographer is good at taking any types of pictures, you might be surprised on how an awesome portrait photographer can be considered average when it comes to landscape photography.

The secret behind every successful story is finding what you are good at and just go with it.

So enough with the small talk, here are some things you need to take into consideration when shooting something or someone, indoors.

1. Every photograph tells a story

Some of the best photographs that have ever been taken were spontaneous. You don’t need to think all things through before taking the best photograph, if you are not conducting a professional photo shoot. For example, if someone approaches you and asks you for an indoor portrait photography photo shoot, the first thing you need to do is to try finding out something about the person.

You have to be in harmony with the subject of your photograph and understand what he/she expects from you and your photography skills if you want to reach perfection. If you are not necessarily taking a picture of someone, but of a something, you have only one point of view: yours, so be careful on what you are trying to say with your photograph.

2. Light, Light and again, Light

indoor photography

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The biggest struggle you will face when trying to shoot a portrait photograph indoors is with light. If you are shooting during day time, you must certainly find a window and place your subject close to it, so that you can make the most out of the natural light you have. To control all the shadows and curves you should also consider investing in a reflector. By placing a reflector on the side of your subject, opposite to the side with natural light, you can obtain stunning effects. Things will get even trickier when you are shooting without any or very low natural light. One way to try solving this problem by using Lightscoop, a great little mirror which redirects the light from your pop-up flash so that you can obtain warmer images, without making your skin look like you just won the casting for the next Twilight movie.

3. Know your camera as good as you know yourself

Many people do not even bother to understand their cameras before or after purchasing it. You would be amazed on how many options and features you have. Before starting to shoot any kind of photographs, take some time and understand your camera and what it is able to do.

4. Background

When shooting indoors, background is also important. To make the best out of an indoor photography, try choosing white backgrounds, so that the light can be reflected and you can achieve a great result. If you do not have an entirely white background, try emphasizing the subject on whatever background you choose but be careful on the contrast. You do not want a chaotic background, especially not when it comes to indoor photography, because then you will lose your subject.  Another idea is taking black and white pictures so that the people do not get distracted by the background or pieces of clothing and stay focused on the subject.

5. Aperture

indoor photography

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It is important to use a wide aperture especially for indoor photography because you want to make the most out of the light you have. A wide aperture not only gives you a better photograph on low light level but it also creates a shallow depth of field with will help you subject pop out of any cluttered background.

6. ISO

There are a lot of mixed reviews when it comes to ISO and shutter speed. Some photographers say that in low light levels you can use a higher ISO, mainly between 800 and 1600 if you want to achieve a fast shutter speed and take advantage of the light you do have. However, higher ISO means a lot more noise in the photograph so other photographers say that you should not use an ISO level higher than 800 especially when shooting indoors. If you have reached ISO 800 and you are still not fully satisfied with your picture, you should probably try either going to ISO 1600 or play with artificial sources of light such as your flash or a reflector.

7. Spot

Find the perfect indoor photography spot in your house. It can be the kitchen, especially if you have a lot of natural light coming in and white walls or cabinets, it can be your living room if it has more light or more white than your kitchen or even your bathroom, it does not matter as long as you have the key element: light. Try taking pictures all around your house and see which spot is the best for indoor shooting.

8. Understand what and why you are shooting

indoor photography

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Even if you are shooting at home, in the supermarket, in your car or any other indoor location, if you want people to understand the story you are trying to tell with your photographs you must first understand it yourself. If you understand exactly what you or your subjects want from your photograph, it will be that much easier to shoot a photograph which speaks for itself.

These were 8 great tips on how to make the best out of a photograph, even if you shoot it indoors.

What other indoor photography tips do you have or use?

Wildlife and Nature Photography Tips

You can never be too cautious when it comes to taking photographs in nature, but you should not let cautiousness get in the way of you and your perfect shot. Try mixing both of them and achieve perfection when it comes to wildlife and nature photography.

There are many things you should consider before putting on your backpack, grabbing your camera and just march into your backyard. To come to your aid and help you out on your journey to being a great photographer, here are 8 great tips on wildlife and nature photography.

1. Pick a theme or a topic

wildlife and nature photography

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You can choose different seasons, a certain color or even a category of animals such as insects, mammals or birds. It is important to have a certain theme or topic already figured out before actually starting shooting everything, everywhere because this way you have something to focus on and you are more likely to accomplish a goal if you actually have one. Moreover, by shooting a lot of pictures of the same object, animal or category of either objects or animals, you can find which pictures are better, under what conditions and you can actually try finding out what is the influence behind the pictures that are better.

2. Know your camera and what it can do

I cannot stress enough on this subject. It is hugely important to know what your camera is capable of, sometimes even before actually purchasing it. There is much more to photography than simply point and shoot and there are a lot of functions and features that you should know abut such as ISO, Aperture, Exposure, Shutter Speed, Macro and so on. Learn how you can use all the feature your camera has into your own benefit.

3. Dress for the occasion

Try finding out where you want to go after you have decided what you are going to shoot. This is important because you have to be prepared for any type of weather conditions. Do you need hiking boots and a rain coat or flip flops and sun-block? These are all factors that can influence your photographs and photography skills so you should definitely take them into consideration.

4. A tripod is your best friend

If you want to shoot landscapes without having to worry about blurry pictures due to shaky hands, you should consider bringing a tripod – especially if you are going with the raincoat rather than the sun-block. A tripod and the perfect filter are a badass combination which can easily make an average quality picture look a hundred times better. However, if you are going for wildlife shooting, a tripod might not come in that handy since you have to be part of an animal’s environment if you want great pictures.

5. Be part of the animal’s environment

wildlife and nature photography

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It is settled – if you want great wildlife pictures you must not be afraid of getting your hands dirty. You cannot expect an animal to stay still while you take 100+ pictures of it and then try to pick the best ones. Let’s face it, you often get only one chance to a perfect shot, so you have to make the best of it.

If you see an interesting animal you want to shoot, before grabbing your camera and make a 2 foot leap to it, think. What is the animal doing? Is it feeding, running for its life or just chilling around? Is there any way you can get closer without scaring it off? Is the animal dangerous for you or your gear? These are all important questions you need to ask yourself before putting you or your camera in danger.

6. Focus points

wildlife and nature photography

One thing many people involved in the artistic field do not know is the fact that a central focus point can be tiring to the human eye. In order to obtain photographs which are aesthetically pleasing to the eye you have to check out the rule of thirds. For this rule, you need four lines.

Two of these lines divide your photograph into equal thirds – length wise while the other two divide it into equal thirds width – wise. You will obtain four intersection points between these lines and by focusing your subject in one or two of those points, you will reach perfection when it comes to focus.

7. Zoom in and get close

A good quality optical zoom on your camera is definitely very useful, especially when it comes to wildlife and nature photography. You do not always get the chance to get as close as you would want to a certain animal or flower, so your zoom might prove to be the best tool you have.

Another great tip which can prove useful especially if you cannot zoom in as much as you would want is using a pair of binoculars. Simply put your camera lens at one of the eyepieces and allow your camera to focus before taking the picture. Moreover, if you spin your binoculars, you have instant macro lens. Do not expect a high quality but it is certainly better than using your digital zoom.

8. All about light

Flowers collage

There is something called “the golden hour” when it comes to wildlife and nature photography. This “hour” which can sometimes actually be hours is the period of time around sunrise or sunset, when light appears golden because of the atmosphere. Some photographers even say that this is the only time you should take wildlife photographs since in the middle of the day, your camera will most likely struggle with the bright spots and different shadows. However, there is something beautiful about photographs even if they are not taken during the golden periods of time if you know how to take advantage of the light.

Avoid taking pictures directly into sunlight as you will not be able to understand anything of that picture. Instead, try finding some shade and make the most out of all the natural light you have at hand. Try using the sun as if you would use a reflector and find sources that can reflect sunlight, such as water or even wet leaves. Take some time and study the environment to see how and where light is reflected before considering taking the perfect shot.

What other tips or techniques do you use for your wildlife or nature photographs?

How to Take Care of DSLR Camera Lenses

You should regularly clean the lenses on your DSLR camera. Even though you should be careful when cleaning them, this process is nothing to be afraid of. It is very important to clean the lenses only when it is needed, when they are dirty, don’t develop a habit of doing it every day because this can cause damage to the lenses. Here are some simple advices on how to clean your DSLR camera lenses when you need to.

But before we go into any detail on how to clean the lenses on your camera we advise you to purchase a UV or skylight filter and keep it attached on all times on your camera. Other than cutting unnecessary UV light from getting into the camera, the filter also protects the lenses from dirt and even breakage. Remember that filters, such as lenses, come in different qualities so if you use quality lenses, consider investing in a high quality filter also.

Also, remember to always use lens hoods on your lenses – Always!

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You will find in most stores that have camera equipment a cleaning fluid based on alcohol. This item is a must for everyone who is interested in photography and has a camera. The fluid will clean any smudges or fingerprints on the lenses and do so without causing any damage to them. Never use too much liquid, however, and always apply it on a cleaning cloth and not directly on the lens.

Cleaning Tissues

These are very thin sheets of paper used to clean any smudges on the lenses without damaging them. Always throw the tissue after using it as it is intended for one use only. Don’t be cheap or you will end up regretting it. Also, you should never ever use facial tissues as they may harm the lenses because they are too harsh.DCM108.shoot_gearcraft.step3 5653030262b848e9b609bedacad5d1a7

Cleaning Cloth

These washable cloths are a great alternative for single use cleaning tissues. They are able to remove any dust or oils found on your lenses. Always remember to keep the cloths clean, however, by regularly washing them. If you don’t wish to do so, you can always buy a new one as they are very cheap and will definitely come in handy for any camera enthusiast.

Always check your lenses before you clean them with a cloth as you don’t want to scratch the lenses if you have bigger dirt pieces on the lenses. Blow away larger dust pieces before wiping the lenses with a cloth.

Brushes

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This is a great tool if you have a lot of dust on your DSLR camera. Buy a brush that is very soft (usually the ones with camel hair) to avoid any scratches on your lenses. You might also want to consider a cleaning pen. This kind of item has a brush on one end and on the other a cleaning pad.

Silica Gel

These don’t help you clean dirt off your lenses per se but are great to throw in your camera bag to attract any moisture in it. Change them frequently or the silica gel sachets will attract far too much moisture and become utterly useless.

Pretty much all of these cleaning supplies are cheap and can be found in any camera store. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t buy the cheapest kinds as those expensive cameras are far more important on the long run than saving a few bucks on cleaning supplies.

And of course, the best cleaning solution is prevention. Take care when changing lenses on your DSLR camera and you will be good to go every time. We hope our list helped you and we wish you (and your DSLR camera) the best.

Image Sources: Source 1, Source 2, Source 3

Best Photography Blogs to Check Out

There is always more than meets the eye when it comes to photography. You can never be quite sure if other people will understand you or your work as deeply as you do. However, when people do understand, that is when you can finally call yourself a great photographer.

In order to make your story heard through your photographs, here are some of the best photography blogs that you need to check out.

These blogs have it all: tips and tricks on photography and technique, reviews for different photography gears and also what gear is suitable for your needs, works and projects of different photographers or photography teams and also means on how to contact the photographer.

With all this being said, let’s get started!

Joe McNally Photography by Joe McNally

best photography blogs

In terms of best photography blogs, Joe McNally has definitely managed to create a blog which not only includes all of his amazing work but also photography tips.

PhotoFocus by Scott Bourne

best photography blogs

Scott Bourne is an internationally recognized figure in the photography business who released the PhotoFocus blog back in 1998. The blog contains a lot of information suited for both beginner and also more advanced photographers.

PetaPixel

best photography blogs

PetaPixel is a blog lead by a team of photographers and photography enthusiasts which contains everything from photography news to reviews, inspiration and tutorials.

Chase Jarvis by Chase Jarvis

best photography blogs

Follow Cashe Jarvis’ blog to see his work from all around the world and get some inspiration for your work as well.

Jeremy Cowart by Jeremy Cowart

best photography blogs

On Jeremy Cowart’s bog you can find different projects in which he is or was involved, online classes, photography news and all other kinds of photography goodies.

Flak Photo by Andy Adams

best photography blogs

Andy Adams developed Flak Photo as a huge database with most of our contemporary photographers and their work. Find out photography tips and see what photography projects are currently on the go.

Strobist by David Hobby

best photography blogs

Strobist was founded by David Hobby and it is a blog that explains about all you need and all you need to know in order to become a great photographer.

Smoking Strobes by Michael Zelbel

best photography blogs

Michael Zelbel is a German photographer specialized in photography lighting and nudes. Smoking Strobes provides you with the perfect start in your photography journey, offering tips, tutorials and inspiration for your future projects.

Damien Franco Dot Com by Damien Franco

best photography blogs

Damien Franco’s blog is dedicated to online marketing and teaches you how to choose either the perfect marketing strategy or the perfect customers for your project.

Old Man in Motion by Bob Krist

best photography blogs

On Old Man in Motion by Bob Krist you will find articles on both photography technique and gear and surf through Bob Krist’s work over the years. This is a lecture you will certainly enjoy.

Cameradojo

best photography blogs

Cameradojo is for anyone who wants to perfect their photography technique. This digital photography online school teaches you everything from the basics in photography to gearing and reviews.

Bert Stephani by Bert Stephani

best photography blogs

Bert Stephani is a full time photographer who tries to do his best when it comes to capturing emotion and the essence of life and he often succeeds. To see what I am talking about and visualize his work and projects, you need to check out his blog

Fine Art Photoblog

best photography blogs

Fine Art Photoblog has an entire team of photographers behind it who present their work through blogging. By checking out the website, you will find an impressive photo gallery filled with fine art photography. You also have the ability to search for different content on the blog and see new pictures uploaded daily.

Richard Bernabe Photography by Richard Bernabe

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Richard Bernabe is certainly an example to follow. He gave up his corporate job in 2003 in order to be able to pursue his true passion – photography. Since then, he has been travelling around the world capturing some of the most amazing wildlife moments. You can admire his work and journeys on his blog.

Stuck in Customs by Trey Ratcliff

best photography blogs

Trey Ratcliff is another travelling photographer who captures true beauty through his photos. You can find most of his work, tips and tutorials on his website and as he describes himself,

“I’m A Warm-Hearted, Old-School Gentleman Explorer With Really Cool Toys.”

By surfing through the personal information of these photographers and their blogs you will find out a surprising fact: almost none of them have pursued a career in photography from the beginning. Not only did they not see photography as a way to earn their living from the start, but some of them actually quit their jobs for their passion.

Given this fact, you should never consider yourself too old or too late to have a career in photography. No one knows everything from the beginning and time is considered a problem only by those who fear it. Do not be afraid of pursuing your dream, no matter what age, financial state or social life you have. As long as you know your goal and try everything you possibly can to try to reach it, it will all work out in the end and even if it doesn’t you will have the satisfaction that you have at least tried.

This was out top best photography blogs that you should consider following on a regular basis if you are more or less “addicted” to the visual art of photography.