What Does EOS Stand for? – Meaning and History

What does EOS stand for, and why do so many Canon products have this name attached to them? There are various theories, some more plausible than others. In this article, we are going to provide you with the answer. Furthermore, we are also going to take you on an EOS journey.

what does eos stand for in photography

What Does EOS Stand for?

If you are passionate about photography, then the name “EOS” surely sounds familiar. You may even own an EOS but still don’t know what it means. So what does EOS stand for anyway?

Some people have gone as far as suggesting that Canon may have drawn inspiration from the Greek mythology. See, the ancient Greeks had a Goddess of Dawn and her name was – you know it – Eos. The analogy is probably due to the dawning of autofocus that single-lens reflex cameras are capable of. This is quite a romantic approach, but the reality is quite far from it.

EOS actually stands for Electro-Optical System. As a matter of fact, Canon started using the name EOS in the late ‘80s. That’s when they produced their first autofocus single-lens reflex camera.

But wait – we’re not done. Some people suggest that EOS actually means Eye on Start. Here’s why. Early Canon models with electronic focusing and metering system pack a sensor in the viewfinder chamber. This camera system will only start focusing and metering once the body is brought near the photographer’s eye. Consequently, the name may also have something to do with Eye on Start. So what does EOS stand for now? Don’t worry, we’re sticking with Electro-Optical System, so you won’t go wrong by sharing this information.

girl with eos camera

Where Did It All Begin?

The not-so-Greek-goddess EOS began its journey in mid-1980s. Canon was set on building a fantastic SLR camera, moving away from the FD lenses to the EF lens mount. This move proved to be a huge success. Photographers easily left behind their old cameras and upgraded to EOS. Over the years, the sales have remained high, and EOS is now one of the most popular SLR systems.

The first camera with the Electro-Focus (EF) mount was the EOS 650. The camera hit the market in March 1987. One of the first EF innovations was the Ultrasonic Motor (USM). With it, Canon created a way of utilizing piezoelectric elements to manufacture a drive mechanism that could power autofocus. Thanks to this revolutionary development, the EF lenses became famous for their autofocus capability.

Back in September 1989, Canon launched their first “1” series camera. The EOS-1 soon established itself as a market leader among action and fashion photographers. The camera’s Cross-type Base-Stored Image Sensor allowed for autofocus with unprecedented accuracy. Along with the new EOS-1, Canon simultaneously released two lenses that would gain an equally wide appreciation: EF 50mm f/1.0L USM and EF 80-200mm f/2.8L USM.

Just one month later, in October 1989, Canon presented the EOS RT. This camera featured a new innovation from the Japanese manufacturer. The EOS RT came with a fixed pellicle mirror. This means that it allowed for a shutter delay of only 0.008 seconds. As a result, photographers could track their subjects in “Real Time”.

In October 1990, Canon launched their $1,000-worth EOS 1000. This pricey camera packed the One-Shot AF and AI Servo AF modes. This too became a hit among photographers in all corners of the globe.

In November 1992, Canon introduced the Eye-Controlled Focus with their new EOS 5. The Eye-Control BASIS sensor’s uniqueness lied in the fact that it could track the position of the photographer’s pupil. As a result, the camera would select the point the user was looking at, automatically achieving focus.

canon eos 5

In July 1995, Canon debuted their first Digital EOS. The EOS DCS 3 was the first to produce transmission-ready photographs straight from the device. This camera was manufactured in collaboration with Kodak, who was responsible for the major electronic components.

Later that same year, Canon launched the EOS 50E. It was Canon’s first camera to feature the E-TTL (Evaluative Through-The-Lens) – the manufacturer’s most advanced light metering system. The sensor would meter through the lens. As a result, it was less likely to get confused by reflected light. Since then, the E-TTL has been replaced with the upgraded E-TTL II.

In November 1998, Canon brought the 45-Point Area AF with its new EOS-3. The 45-Point Area AF allowed for a new level of both accuracy and speed of focus. The Eye-controlled Focus was also enhanced.

In October 2000, Canon presented the EOS D30, the first camera to be produced with Canon components only. The Japanese manufacturer brought something new to the table this time too. The camera featured a 3.11MP CMOS image sensor, which may not sound at all new. However, it was the first time that the CMOS technology was used for the imaging sensor. Until then, it was only deployed in developing the AF and metering sensors.

In November 2002, Canon launched the EOS-1Ds. This was a major breakthrough for the manufacturer because it featured a full frame CMOS. Unlike smaller sensors, the full frame CMOS allowed for larger, more sensitive pixels. This meant better detail, especially in dark and highlight areas. The full frame sensor proved to be a hit among photographers using wide-angle lenses, as they could now get the most out of their lenses.

In March 2005, the EOS 350D was rolled out. With it, Canon brought new technologies such as the DIGIC II and the E TTL II. Its low price and the fact that it gave consumers the opportunity to exploit all EOS system’s capabilities made the 350D the fastest selling DSLR of all time. Way to go, Canon!

In February 2007, 20 years after the launching of the first EOS camera, Canon takes a leap forward by introducing the EOS-1D Mark II. Accumulating years of EOS technology, the camera delivered crystal-clear images at an unprecedented 10fps. It set new standards, becoming the world’s fastest DSLR.

Fast-forward to 2016, and we have the new EOS-1D X Mark II. Capable of shooting 14fps, it’s built around a 20.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor while packing the Dual Pixel autofocus system. This goes to show that Canon continues to make legendary cameras for pros and amateurs alike.

EOS 1D X Mark II

Now that you know a bit more about the groundbreaking Canon line of cameras, you can easily see how EOS means so much more than just a name. What does EOS stand for? Well, it stands for innovation, uniqueness, and passion for photography.

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Minimalist Photography – 10 Useful Tips to Get You Started

Minimalist photography has an ever-growing popularity among both amateur and professional photographers. We often hear that “less is more” and it’s quite true. We live in a saturated world where our surroundings can seem a bit overwhelming. Minimalism is like a breath of fresh air we are so looking forward to taking in.

Minimalism is, of course, a subjective notion in the art world. To put it lightly, it is a technique characterized by uttermost simplicity. Many embrace the idea while others consider the extreme sparseness as a lack of creativity.

We believe that less is indeed more, and the simple lines, contrasting color, geometric patterns, and lone subjects are a great way to draw the viewer into the story. Here are a few tips on how to make the most out of minimalism in photography.

minimalist photography yellow walls

Minimalist Photography – Tips for Eye-Popping Minimalist Pictures

1. Learn About Minimalism

There’s a whole philosophy behind minimalism. As with any other type of photography, you need to understand it in order to implement the concept perfectly into your images. You can look for information about minimalist art either online or find books on the matter. We recommend “The Minimalist Photographer” by Steve Johnson photographer and “Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Studio Photography” by Kirk Tuck.

2. A Simple Composition Is Key

Needless to say, minimalist photography is all about keeping things simple. That’s the most important rule and you cannot bypass it. A lack of elements does not mean your photograph will turn out boring. Try incorporating interesting subjects into your picture and focus only on them. Drawing the viewers’ attention to one or just a few elements will catch their eye instantly.

The perfect example of minimalism in photography is the presence of a single human or animal figure against a plain background or a close-up on wood or brick patterns. There are many other ways you can use the technique to shoot just about anything. Don’t worry if a few other elements find their way into your picture. You can always do a little bit of cropping or erase them in Photoshop.

minimalism simple composition

3. Don’t Be Afraid of Color

Another key aspect of minimal photography is the presence of bright colors or contrasting colors. The same goes for textures, which are frequently present in minimalist pictures. Your goal should be to focus on eye-popping color to make up for the lack of elements in the photograph. Experiment with different angles to create a more complex composition while still keeping things as simple as possible.

4. Increase the Contrast

There’s nothing like a high-contrast image to grab our attention. Contrast is one of the main factors when it comes to evoking an emotional response. It can be applied to colors, patterns, shades, shapes, all to create tension.

high contrast minimalist image

5. Make Use of Negative Space

Negative space is defined as the area between and around the elements in an image. It’s basically a composition tool that indicated where the focus should be. It’s a concept that is being used in art, architecture, design, and sculpture with great success. In photography, it’s one of the factors that can help determine if the picture is bad or outstanding.

Here’s how you must use negative space. When you go about framing your shot, adjust the composition until the filled (positive) and empty (negative) spaces look nicely balanced against one another. Allow a significant amount of empty space to “fill” the picture because you most certainly don’t want to cram too many elements into your frame.

6. It’s All About Lines and Shapes

Lines and geometric shapes are some of the most distinctive indicators of minimalist photography. A great way to start shooting the minimalist way is to take your camera out in the city.  Modern architecture is a great subject to explore. The lines and geometric patterns make an excellent background for minimalist pictures.

7. The Plainer the Background, the Better

Plain backgrounds are essential when it comes to capturing minimalist images. Let’s think about product photography. The whole idea is to have your viewer lured to a specific area in the frame, and a simple background means fewer distractions.

minimalist food photography tomatoes

8. Light and Shadows

Lighting is very important in minimalist photography. Both light and darkness can be used to create stunning minimalist images. Look for opportunities to bring out the most of what the natural lighting has to offer. It will really bring the colors and the textures to life. Additionally, dark shadows can become a central part of your simplistic composition.

9. Don’t Forget About the Rule of Thirds

The well-known rule of thirds is one of photography’s elementary basics. Let’s see what it’s all about. By diving the space into three vertical and horizontal parts and positioning the elements of interest along the lines or at the intersection of the grid lines, we can shoot more well-balanced photographs. Studies have shown how our eyes will drift in a more natural way to the intersection points rather than the center of the image.

In minimalist photography, the rule is even more easily applicable. A person looking at your images will understand where it is you want to direct their eyes.

10. Tell a (Minimalistic) Story

Keeping it basic doesn’t mean there’s no room for storytelling.  Push your photography to a new level by creating a tale behind the image. The easiest way is to head into the city and practice minimalist street photography. Humans and animals can become focal points of the image and more often than once you must move quickly. Stories happen in seconds and you must have your eyes wide open to your surroundings and press that shutter button as soon as you see an opportunity. It might be gone is just a second.

 

Now go out and practice because you can add a new perspective the elements around you anywhere and anytime. Keep your eye out and remember to keep it as simple as possible. Get creative, find what you like and start snapping pictures. Minimalism is subjective, and you will find that what you perceive as eye-candy is not what others see. But you’re the only one that knows best.

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Bird Photography – Top 8 Tips for an Amazing Shot

Bird photography is a challenging branch of photography. As with wildlife in general, capturing magnificent birds in movement and trying not to scare them away is quite tricky. Capturing birds in flight are one of the most difficult actions you can focus on, and finding your way around intruding elements such as branches or leaves is no piece of cake either.

Read our tips on how to master bird photography and you’ll be a contender for National Geographic contests in no time.

bird photography

Basic Bird Photography Tips

1.      Invest in a Good Camera

As much as we’d like to say that you don’t need fancy equipment to capture birds on camera, it wouldn’t be true. Wildlife photography is one of the most expensive fields of photography. Forget about taking your point-and-shoot out for a spin because it won’t do the job. If you want to take stunning, sharp pictures of the winged creature, you must invest in a fast DSLR.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, Canon EOS 80D, Nikon D500, and Nikon D5 are some of the best cameras for bird photography. However, these premium cameras are not for everyone, and you might want to look into less costly equipment. Pentax K-1 and Sony a99 are two cheaper, excellent alternatives.

Your camera should have a great autofocus system, and be able to handle a shutter speed of at least 1/2000 of a second, and 6 to 9 frames per seconds. Entry-level DSLRs can shoot decent pictures but they are not fast enough and you might have to spend more time shooting until finally getting that perfect photograph.

2.      Lens are Very Important

Professional bird photographers depend on their 500mm or 600mm lenses. However, these are quite expensive, currently selling for over $8,000.

For beginners, Canon EF 100-400mm, Nikkor 200-500mm , Canon 400mm, or Nikkor 300mm are the most affordable and efficient alternatives to the pricey telephoto lenses.

3.      Find the Proper Location

The most effective way to find the exact bird you’re looking for, or to find a great number of birds, is to contact a local bird-watching club. They, of course, know all about bird species, their habitat, and their migration patterns.

You can also go online and search the web for information. Locating birds is quite easy, as you can tell. And the good part is, no matter where you live, you can still find a few species to start exercising on. Then, you can move to more exotic, rare birds, and go on shooting expeditions for truly unique photographs.

humming bird photo

4.      Best Time to Shoot Birds

Light means everything when it comes to photography. When capturing birds on camera, we recommend you pack your gear and head to the location early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The light is amazing, and the birds are the most active during these times.

Then we have the time of tides. This is a key factor to consider when photographing at coastal locations. Start shooting when the tide rises because it’s then that the birds are drawn closer to the shore.

5.      Be Silent

Bird photography is all about being patient and silent. Let’s say you have found your bird and go about approaching it. Even a low sound is enough to scare the birds away. Furthermore, birds have excellent vision and it’s very likely they will spot you first.

As with any type of wildlife photography, it is important you understand the animal’s behavior. The key to a successful shot is to not act in a threatening way. Dress yourself in camouflage clothes and move slowly in approaching them.

yellow and white bird picture

6.      Use the Rule of Thirds

Through composition, we get to tell the subject’s story. You may have heard about the powerful technique called the rule of thirds. Here are the basics of it. You must imagine breaking down the image into thirds, horizontally and vertically, so that you get nine parts. The idea is to place points of interest along the lines of the grid or at the intersection of the four lines.

Furthermore, be careful with the background. Use a clean one rather than having too many elements in your picture. Fill the frame with just the bird, and have it contrast the background.

7.      How to Shoot

We cannot put enough emphasis on the importance of a good tripod, but when it comes to bird photography, you might want to leave it at home. It’s best you shoot handheld when the light is proper. When the light becomes dull, you can use a monopod as an alternative to a tripod.

Back to the light. Try to shoot only with the sun behind you. You are left with fewer issues such as bad exposure and color saturation, that you might not even be able to fix using an editing software.

Just as with any portrait, it’s critical you try to get the bird in its best pose. This can be quite tough given the head-turn. Watch the bird’s movement and try to anticipate new ones. Try catching it as it is facing the camera, with its head angled towards you and the body slightly away.

8.      Catch Them in Action

bird in action feeding photo

Birds rarely keep still, which makes capturing them on camera quite tiresome. However, you will get the most aweing shot if you succeed to catch them in full flight or while feeding. Make use of the burst shot mode when you have a lot of action going on. This way, you can take several pictures, and at least one is bound to be satisfactory.

Focusing on your subject will also be strenuous, and you must track the subject until locking focus and pressing the shutter button. Just as always, try to understand their behavior and to anticipate their next move.  Use Aperture Priority to have the suitable shutter speed controlled automatically. This way, you won’t have to change the settings manually every time the light conditions alter.

Luckily, trying to photograph birds while they are feeding is easier than when they are flying. When they’re hungry, birds tend to ignore humans. As long as you maintain a considerable distance, it shouldn’t be a problem to catch them in action.

Remember that no matter how great your skills are, there’s always an element of luck involved in taking a perfect shot.

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Storm Photography Tips – How to Shoot Severe Weather

Storm photography is one of the most eye-catching types of photography. Storms make a great subject for both professional and amateur photographers. The natural action, the intensity of light and color, the contrast between the calm setting and the storm clouds or the lightning, they can all be easily captured on camera.

A drop of rain or as much as a little wind are enough to ruin many people’s day, but not for a storm chaser. Being a storm photographer means embracing all that Mother Nature has to offer, even if it leaves you drenched and shivering from the cold.

storm photography capturing lightining port-la-nouvelle

Storm Photography Tips

1. Camera

If you’re planning on photographing lightning, you must have a camera that allows you to manually set the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. You don’t necessarily need a DSLR for that, as many compact cameras nowadays let you do this. However, an interchangeable lens camera will work wonder, as always.

Speaking of lens, wide angle lens are more suitable when trying to capture the lightning bolt while zoom lens allow for capturing more detail of the bolt. You must set the lens focus to infinity, and it’s also best to use the Manual mode when shooting storms.

Back to the camera, it too has to be set in Manual mode. The exposure time varies depending on what you’re shooting. It can be anything from 10-20 seconds to a couple of minutes. If the scene is too bright, then you must increase the aperture. Consequently, if it too dark, decrease it. As for the ISO, increase it the darker it gets, but try not to go too much (keep it at a maximum of 400) because you will compromise the quality of the picture. High ISO means more noise, and you certainly don’t want to go through all the trouble of chasing storms just to have your photograph coming out full of grain.

2. Tripod and Remote Shutter Release

A tripod should be an indispensable tool in every photographer’s kit. Invest in a sturdy, heavy tripod, that will remain well-grounded even if you’re experiencing strong winds.

A remote shutter release is one of the cheapest devices in a photography toolbox, but it’s also one of the most useful. As a photographer, you obviously want clear, sharp images. This means the least amount of camera shake. Combining a tripod with a remote shutter release is a winner solution. The remote release is a cable that plugs into the side of your camera and has a trigger that controls the shutter release. This way, you can shoot sharp photographs without having to worry that your shaky hands will blur the image.

storm clouds in bodie california

3. Check the Weather

Storm photography, just as any type of outdoor photography, makes reading or listening to the weather forecast a vital step in the process of capturing photographs of storms. Check weather.com for information, and try to stay away from severe weather that might be too dangerous for you.

The best time for storm chaser photography is right before or just after a thunderstorm. You can take stunning pictures of shelf and wall clouds, mammatocumulus, cumulonimbus incus, lightning, or the storm itself.

Moving on the clothes, this is another important aspect. You will be spending a great amount of time outside in the cold, rain, and wind. Dress accordingly: warm, waterproof, comfortable items.

4. Keep Your Gear on the Low Side

Don’t bring too much with you out on your shooting trip. A camera, lens, tripod, remote shutter release and some optional filters for the lens are all the tools you need to carry in your backpack.

5. Composition

Just because it’s all about shooting storms, storm photography does not mean pointing the camera up at the sky and shooting only the lightning, clouds, tornado, or other elements. You will want to include both the horizon and part of the ground in your picture.

storm cloud above the water

6. How to Find Storms

Storm chasing can be a simple thing, and you definitely don’t need too much equipment to find them. Watch the weather forecasts and use the radar. This will leave more time for you to set up the camera before lightning strikes.

Storm photography also means doing a bit of storm chasing. If you don’t think you have enough time to capture the approaching storm on camera, watch the radar animations and see where it’s heading. Then get in your car and drive to next spot.

7. Extra Gear

The camera equipment is not all you need on your storm chasing trips. Bring the following with you on your expeditions: flashlight, extra clothes (it might rain and you will get drenched), food, beverages, insect repellent, emergency cash.

8. Stay Safe

Needless to say, don’t bring many metal items with you when shooting lightning. Rather than using an umbrella to keep your camera from getting wet, buy a camera raincoat. It’s practically a piece of plastic that helps keep rain, dust, dirt, snow, and sand, away from the camera’s body and lens. They’re quite cheap, and you don’t have to spend more than $20 on this item if you don’t want to.

9. Editing

If your camera allows for it, always shoot RAW photographs. It is recommended you use this format because you will have more editing options using the RAW format than the common JPEG. When it comes to editing your pictures, you can always rely on Adobe Photoshop. Additionally, Adobe Lightroom is a good tool for managing images and also do some light editing.

tornado photography extreme weather

10. Get Inspired

Check out pictures made by famous storm photographers and examine them in detail. It is not about copying the works of others, but rather finding out what is the correct way to compose a photograph, and how to set your camera. Check out the EXIF and you’ll get information on the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and focal length. You can then go about using the approximate same camera settings on your expeditions.

Have a look at some of the most impressive portfolios on the web: Jim Reed, David Mayhew, Mike Olbinski, James Langford, Kelly Delay.

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Time Lapse Photography – Top Tips To Get You Started

Time lapse photography offers a visually stunning experience for the viewer. It is the meeting ground between videography and photography. You have probably stumbled upon some amazing works of time-lapse and it inspired you to showcase your artistic talent. Creating a time lapse is not as hard as it may seem. Check out our recommendations and tips on how to master this cinematography technique.

time lapse photography day to night

What Is Time Lapse Photography?

Time lapse photography is a type of photography that encompasses a sequence of pictures of a subject (mostly landscapes) with an interval of time between each image. The interval can be as short or as long as you want. It can either be a second or a few days even.

When playing back the images, the frequency at which the frames are played will be much faster than the one at which you have captured them. Why? Because time-lapse techniques let us manipulate time and show complex events in just a few seconds, that would otherwise take many minutes, or even days to view completely.

Time Lapse Equipment – The Basics

Camera

You can make time lapse photography with pretty much any camera. As long as you can shoot pictures with it, it’s good to go. However, if you want your time lapse videos to look as great as the ones that got you started on the idea in the first place, invest. DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are, hands down, the best cameras to use for high-quality, clear images.

Tripod

The second most important item in your time lapse kit should be the tripod. Time lapse means shooting the same frame over a particular amount of time. Naturally, you want that scene to remain the same. You need a sturdy tripod, preferably a bit on the heavy side, too. It will keep your camera pointing to the same direction and prevent movement.

Remote timer

With the help of a remote timer, you will be able to shoot countless frames at specific intervals without touching the camera. The automated camera trigger will ensure the lowest possible camera vibrations and movements.

How to Prepare Your Time Lapse Shots

shooting time lapse frames

Camera settings

Put your camera into manual mode and do the necessary settings yourself.

The aperture controls the depth of field. A smaller aperture means sharper images and reduced bokeh, while a large aperture allows for more light to get in the camera’s sensor, which is best for low-light photography.

ISO translates into the camera’s sensitivity to light. A lower ISO (100-400) is recommended to avoid any noise and keep your pictures clear and crisp. Nonetheless, if you are trying to shoot a night scene, you have to the ISO and prevent your images from coming out too dark.

The shutter speed is the length of time your shutter stays open and lets light in. Long exposures are best for low light scenes or to blur moving subjects, while short exposures are used to capture clear shots.

File format

Shoot in RAW if your camera allows you to. Shooting in this file format gives you more freedom of hand when you download the images onto your computer and go about editing them.

Lens

Put your lens in manual mode as well, if you own a DSLR or an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera. when using wide angle lens, and you probably do if you want to shoot landscapes, focus to infinity.

ND filters

Neutral-density filters reduce or modify the intensity of wavelengths without altering the color. Thanks to the reduced light intensity, you can set slower shutter speeds in sunny environments.

Live View

Again, if you have a DSLR, take advantage of the Live View function. Live Views is a way to preview framing by being able to visualize your shot in real-time. It also provides the means to control the exposure.

Time Lapse Interval

time lapse of a blooming flower

The time interval between your frames will determine the speed of the video. The interval must be adapted to our scene.

  • When shooting moving traffic, you can set the timer to 1-second
  • When capturing sunrises, sunsets, or crowds, you can do a 1 to 3-second intervals.
  • When photographing stars or the path of the moon across the sky, you can increase the time to 15-30 second intervals.
  • Other popular subjects for time lapse photographer are growing plants or rotting fruits/vegetables. Here is when you can set your timer to take longer intervals (90 to 120-second intervals).

The Basics of Shooting Time Lapse

When you have all your gear prepped, it’s time to go out there and start experimenting. Your first few shots won’t be perfect, and it is totally expected. You first pictures should focus more on getting the hang of your camera’s settings.

First, you need to create a frame. Choose your subject and create a visually pleasing scene. Try different angles, take out or place elements in your frame, do everything you feel is necessary to make the composition interesting.

Set your camera to manual mode and make the settings (ISO, white balance, aperture, etc.). Then, determine the time lapse intervals according to what it is that you are shooting, and program the remote timer.

You can then review your settings and get started.

Creating the Time Lapse Video

After going over your head to purchase all the equipment, framing your shot, and spending minutes or hours capturing the scene, it will all pay off when you start compiling the images.

Creating the movie from dozens or hundreds of frames is not complicated at all because you won’t have to do it by hand, naturally. There are plenty of software available on the web that will compile all your shots in just a few seconds.

After importing all the photos onto your computer, start editing a time-lapse photo and then sync the changes across all frames in the sequence. Render the time lapse to a .avi file or any other video format, and you’re done.

Talking about time lapse photography software, here are a few programs you might want to get your hands on:

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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?

What is AUTOFOCUS?

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.

WHAT IS AUTOFOCUS?

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.

WHAT IS AUTOFOCUS?

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.

WHAT IS AUTOFOCUS?

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