The One Photography Equipment List You Need to Read

Photography as a hobby can be a great way to express yourself, can be a rewarding experience, and in some cases can be a lucrative path to a successful career. For the most part, when you first start your photography venture, a camera, a memory card for your DSLR, and a single lens is a good way to begin.

You can practice your newfound skill before you move on to adding to your photography bag of tricks and expanding your choices. Once you have really started to delve in, you can think about new lenses and other equipment. This article will give you a recommended photography equipment list to help get you started in the right direction.

1. The Camera

female photographer shooting outdoors

Obviously the most important, and often the most confusing and stressful part on your photography equipment list, is the camera. This is your main piece of equipment and many people get overwhelmed with the options and features to choose from. You will want to choose something you can afford. However, there are many technical specifications that can prove to be difficult to understand. Do a little research and get to know shutter speeds, megapixels, types of viewfinders, etc.

For a good beginner’s camera that can grow with you, here are some good features to keep in mind:

  • High ISO. An ISO refers to a camera’s sensitivity. A higher ISO will give you a better ability to take photos in a low light situation.
  • Camera Settings. A DSLR will work great for you on a budget and often has many valuable settings. Think about what you are likely to shoot and cater to that aspect of your hobby. Once you get more professional, think about moving on to a mirrorless camera or expanding your lenses.
  • Budget. Consider a used camera body if you are on a tight budget. This is a great way to save a little cash that you can apply to other equipment.
  • Megapixels. More mega pixels means a sharper image that you can freely enlarge in scale without losing quality and it getting blurry.

2. Lenses

Nikon lens

If you speak to people very involved in photography, you will likely get the majority opinion that the most important item on your photography equipment list are the lenses you equip your bag with. You will quickly notice that the price range of lenses are great and the choices are overwhelming. They can definitely become the most expensive aspect of the hobby.

Here are some lenses to consider for your photography equipment list in the beginning:

  • Prime. A prime lens is sort of like a point and shoot lens. It has no zoom and has one focal length. Many people are familiar with a 35mm lens and find it a comfortable choice to start with. A 50mm lens is also a good choice.
  • Zoom. Sometimes you can get a zoom lens as part of a kit that comes with your camera body. These tend to be low quality and many choose to buy a better one instead. A zoom lens does exactly what the name suggests. It gives you the ability to move in closer on a subject using the lens instead of having to move yourself or any equipment.
  • Telephoto. These lenses will allow you to blur backgrounds so you can focus on your subject. They can also help change the perspective of your photo.

Once you get more involved, you will understand your choices more and can look for specific lenses to fulfill specific project needs.

3. Tripod

Photographer using tripod

An often overlooked piece on the photography equipment list is a good tripod. If you do not realize the importance of a well-made tripod immediately, you will later. If you are doing stills or want to adjust your subject, being able to set up your shot and move between the two without having to readjust your camera every time you step back into position can be a time and frustration saver. A tripod will give you a place to set up your shot and leave your camera in position.

4. Ballhead

Believe it or not this is sold separately from the tripod. You can choose a specific strength to meet the weight of your camera and lens to avoid slippage on the tripod as you work.

5. Film or Memory Cards

Do not forget this photography equipment list essential. For digital cameras, make sure to have a few memory cards to store your photos. SLR cameras will need good old traditional film rolls. Be sure to have plenty because there is nothing more frustrating than running out of film or memory before your shoot is complete.

6. Extra accessories

  • Batteries are a necessity. Having extras on hand can prevent a shoot from ending before you are ready.
  • Lens cleaning supplies are also necessary. Keep a supply with you so that you can properly care for your expensive lenses while on a shoot.
  • Grey card. These really help keep your white balance spot on. They are easy to use and can make a big difference in your shots.
  • Filters. A polarizing filter is great to have around for keeping colors vibrant, cutting out glare and reflection, and shooting through glass. If you are an outdoors photographer, this is a must have.
  • A comfortable strap and roomy Bag. Lugging equipment can be a pain- literally. Invest a little bit more into a strap with some padding – your shoulders will thank you. A good bag will protect your equipment and keep you organized.

7. Software and Hardware

  • Software Programs. There is a lot of competing software brands out there to choose from. Some will offer more ways to manipulate your photos. Others will give you some simple adjustments to just tweak lighting and color. Choose what is right for you.
  • External Drive. This will give you a place to back up your photos.
  • Memory Card Reader. These will save you time and frustration because often it takes a long time to go straight from the card in your camera to a computer. A memory card reader will definitely speed things up.

Summing Up

This photography equipment list is not all inclusive but it gives you a general idea of what to buy to get started. Start with the basics and allow your equipment to grow as your hobby grows. That is the best way to stay within your budget, learn the ropes, and get the most enjoyment out of your new hobby without breaking the bank.

Image Source: 1, 2, 3

Depth of Field in Photography – A Beginner’s Guide

Understanding how to manipulate depth of field in photography to focus and enhance the subject of a photograph is as essential to the art form as finding the light. The depth of field surrounding the subject of a photograph can be used as a spotlight to focus the viewer’s eyes of a classic portrait shot. The wide, large depth of field used in landscape shots serves to emphasize the scene’s great breadth.

Read on to find useful information on identifying depth of field in photography and what factors can affect its size.

What Is Depth of Field in Photography?

depth of field in photograph

‘Depth of Field’ refers to the zone between the closest and farthest objects in a photograph that still appear acceptably sharp. While a camera can only focus on one point, there is a gradual transition from in-focus to blurred and out-of-focus images. This area of sharpness is highly variable from one photograph to the next. The distance can be affected by things like the type of camera used to capture the photograph, the length of the camera’s lens, and the distance between the camera and the subject of the photograph.

How to Choose the Right Depth of Field

Managing depth of field in photography allows the photographer to enhance the impact of the subject of the photograph and direct the viewer’s attention to the most important part of the image. Learning how to manipulate the focal points in an image allows the photographer to have greater artistic flexibility and creativity.

1. Narrow Depth of Field

insect photographed up-close

A photograph is said to have a narrow depth of field when there is only a small area of acceptable sharpness. The images in the foreground and background are blurred. Using a narrow depth of field allows the subject of the photograph to shine. This type of photography is best for capturing portraits, wildlife, and sporting events. In these scenarios, the photographer seeks to isolate the subject from the busy background so that the subject stands out.

2. Large Depth of Field

Flowers at the beach and the sea in the background

A large depth of field means that much of the photograph is crispy and clear. There is only a small area of blurriness in the foreground. Most photographs of landscapes are shot using a large depth of field. This allows the camera to capture as much of the scenic background in focus as possible.

What Affects Depth of Field in photography?

The primary way to control depth of field in photography is by adjusting the camera’s aperture. Aperture types and sizes vary by camera. The two other factors that can impact the depth of field are the camera’s lens and the distance between the camera and the subject of the photograph.

1. Type of Camera

Different types and brands of cameras have various sized imaging sensors inside the cameras. An imaging sensor is the mechanism inside the camera that converts light into a viewable image. The larger the imaging sensor on a camera, the more narrow the depth of field will be at any given aperture.
A camera with a smaller sensor can use a shorter focal length or be positioned physically further away from the subject and attain the same image size as a camera with a larger sensor. The larger sensor requires a longer focal length or to be close to the subject of the image in order to obtain a comparable photograph.

2. Aperture

A camera’s aperture is the adjustable opening inside the lens that allows light to enter the camera and be processed by the imaging sensor. The size, or diameter of the aperture hole, determines the amount of light that enters the lens at any given time. The larger the size of the aperture, the narrower the depth of field. Conversely, the smaller the size of the aperture, the larger the depth of field.

Some cameras have a feature called the “F-number” or F-stop”. This number represents the ratio of the focal length, discussed below, to the aperture diameter. A small number means the aperture opening is large and sending lots of light to the camera’s imaging sensor. On the other hand, a large number means the aperture opening is small and less light.

3. Focal Length

The focal length is the distance between a camera’s lens and imaging sensor when the subject of the photograph is in focus. This number is represented in millimeters (mm). A high number means the camera has better zoom capabilities. The higher the number, the more narrow the depth of field.

Below is a helpful chart that shows the most common focal lengths and their corresponding depth of fields:

  • 70mm = Largest Depth of Field.
  • 100mm = Large Depth of Field.
  • 200mm = Narrow Depth of Field.
  • 300mm = Most Narrow Depth of Field.

4. Distance between Subject and Camera

Setting up the camera the correct distance from the subject of the photograph and the background is paramount to determining the possible depth of field. Depth of field in photography can be as simple as remembering the saying “two steps forward, one step back”The closer the camera is placed to the focal point, or subject matter of the photograph, the less depth of field is possible in the image.

Summing Up

The best way for any new (or even an experienced) photographer to perfect an image’s depth of field is by taking as many photographs as possible. Experimenting with focal length and subject distance is a great way to see how changes to the depth of field can affect the overall, aesthetic tone of a photograph. For a more narrow depth of field, a photographer should position the camera closer to the subject or opening the camera’s aperture. Conversely, for a large depth of field, a photographer should move away from the subject and open the camera’s aperture.

Image Source: 1, 2, 3

9 Best Free Online Photography Courses

Photography is about much more than taking a camera and pushing a button. There are factors like lighting, exposure, and post-processing to consider. Mastering these elements takes plenty of time and patience. Fortunately, there are a variety of courses online that can help. This article is going to cover nine of the best free online photography courses available today.

Sony camera and laptop

1. Basics of Photography: The Complete Guide by LifeHacker

One of the best free online photography courses to try is the Basics of Photography by Lifehacker. This course is designed to teach new uses a broad range of tips and tricks to help them get started.

The course starts by familiarizing users with how their camera works and explains what all goes into picking the perfect camera to fit your needs. As you progress further in the course, you will learn how to take advantage of a variety of automatic settings before learning how to take custom shots on your own. This is definitely a perfect course for new users who have limited to no background knowledge.

2. Intermediate Photography Course by PhotographyCourse.net

As the name implies, the Intermediate Photography Course is one of the best free online photography courses for intermediate users. The course was designed by PhotographyCourse.net and is intended to teach users a wide range of interesting photography techniques.

Some of the subjects covered in the course include depth of field, white balance, polarizing filter usage tips, and discussions on composition. It also goes into detail about proper reflector usage making this an ideal course for users who are thinking about going into professional photography in the future. Each subject is broken down into easy to understand modules for added convenience.

3. Your Road To Better Photography by Udemy

Your Road To Better Photography is another one of the best free online photography courses available created by Corey Reese. This course is suitable for both beginners and experienced users alike. For more experienced individuals, this course will be more of a refresher for certain key core fundamentals.

The course has 28 minutes of on-demand video that users can stop and pause as needed throughout the course. It also has four articles that talk about different aspects of photography including insider tips for improving your average shot quality.

4. Lighting 101 by Strobist

Proper lighting can really make or break a professional photo shoot. This is why Lighting 101 by Strobist is another one of the best free photography courses. The course is completely text based and is suitable for those of you who prefer to read at your own pace during your free time.

Each section is broken down into easy to understand language that provides a few photographic examples. It also includes specific equipment examples to help set new users on the right path if they do not already have a flash for their camera.

5. The Art of Photography by Open2Study

For users who prefer a more complete course, The Art of Photography is one of the best free online photography courses to consider. It’s taught by Dr. Shane Hulbert and teaches things like how to understand exposure, how to identify pixels, and what is RAW and why you should use it.

The Open2Study course is divided into four modules that each have 10 videos. Each model has nine quizzes and one assessment to measure your understanding of the material. If you’re serious about photography, this is one course you cannot miss.

6. Professional Family Portraits by Kirk Tuck

If you have always wanted to learn to take professional looking family portraits, this is one of the best free online photography courses for you. Professional Family Portraits is taught by Kirk Tuck and features five different modules that are very easy to follow.
Each module has an HD video that can be stopped and paused at any time for you to catch up. Some of the subjects that are touched on include ambient lighting, proper locations for group photos, and processing.

7. Ditch Auto – Start Shooting In Manual by Jared Hill

If you’re stuck shooting in auto due to lack of knowledge or confidence, this may be one of the best free online photography courses for you. Ditch Auto – Start Shooting In Manual is designed for DSLR cameras and is approximately four hours in length.
While the course is very detailed, it is self-paced and can be paused as needed for you to practice with your camera. It is a great resource for users who have just gotten their first DSLR camera.

8. Cambridge In Colour Courses

Cambridge In Colour is another great resource for new photographers. They offer a broad range of courses that are designed to teach the basics in an easy to follow format. All of the courses are completely free and you can interact with other users via the forums for additional help and support.

Some examples of the courses they currently offer include focal length and aperture, camera exposure, and understanding depth of field. Visit their website to take a look at their updated course catalog.

9. Getting Started with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5

Getting Started with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 course is designed to teach users how to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 from start to finish. Each section is broken down into videos ranging from 10 minutes to 20 minutes in length. You will find a wide range of topics ranging from how to upload your photos for editing to applying special effects.

The course is very easy to follow and can be accessed at any time. While the course doesn’t go into the finer details of the program, it is a great asset for users who have never used the program before who need a bit of basic guidance.

Summing Up

The nine courses covered in this article are great assets to professional and amateur photographers alike. They offer a great deal of information and are completely free to use. Take your time browsing the available courses and tell us which one was the most help to you.

10 Best Photography Apps for Mac in 2017

With the rise of digital cameras and high quality camera phones, more people than ever have become interested in photography. While learning proper shooting techniques will take you a long way towards capturing great photos, it’s important to have the proper editing tools as well. Here are the current ten best photography apps for Mac, sorted by price (least expensive to most expensive).

1. GIMP

PriceFree download.

One of the photography apps for Mac that is a direct competitor of Photoshop, GIMP provides many of the powerful features of you find in Photoshop without the monthly price tag. There is a learning curve if you’re used to working with Photoshop, but this app is worth the trouble if you’re looking for an all-inclusive pro editing tool.

Features

  • Customizable interface;
  • Layer selection;
  • Supports a wide range of file formats;
  • Text and brush options.

Gimp for Mac

2. Fotor Photo Editor

Price: Free for basic app or online access; upgrade to Fotor Pro monthly subscription ($8.99/month or $39.99/year).

Fotor is unusual among the available photography apps for Mac in that you can download in through the App Store or use it online. Either way you choose to use it, the software provides reliable, basic editing features like rotating, cropping, and recoloring images. It also has a few nifty features like refocusing, slimming down your subjects, and taking away wrinkles.

Features

  • Solid editing basics;
  • Focus;
  • Effects and borders;
  • Textures;
  • Save, share & print.

Fotor Photo Editor for Mac

3. ACDsee

PriceFree download (upgrade to monthly subscription to store photos).

A version of this photo software has been around in the mid-90s, and its longevity is due to its easy of use and fun features. In addition to the editing standards, this software allows you to quickly fix your photos and then upload them to your favorite social media site. There’s no need to download to your computer first, which is handy for prolific Facebook and Instagram sharers. If you want to save the photos for later use without downloading them to your computer, you’ll need to pay for a monthly subscription.

Features

  • Cropping, recoloring, saturation, and sharpening;
  • Easy to use organizational features;
  • GPU-accelerated adjustment layers;
  • Seamless sharing to social media sites.

ACDsee for Mac

4. Google Photos

PriceFree download (can purchase Google Drive space for uploads over 15 GB).

Google Photos is an excellent replacement for now defunct Mac Photos software. If you love photography, but don’t want to splash out on expensive photography apps for Mac, Google Photos is a great basic editor. In addition to typical editing software offerings like recoloring, enhancement, and cropping, Google Photos also offers the ability to search your library by subject matter (so, search for “dog” to get all of your photos of your family pet).

Features

  • Motion stills;
  • Content-aware filters, adjust lighting, and more;
  • Smart automatic albums;
  • Share up to 1,500 from the app.

5. Photozoom

PriceFree trial ($169 for full version).

One of the best photography apps for Mac, Photozoom allows users to focus in on the details of their captures without distorting or pixelating the image. Beyond the main feature of zooming capabilities, Photozoom has basic editing tools like rotating, sharpening, and resizing images. It’s not the most comprehensive of editing programs, but it does well with what it offers.

Features

  • Excellent for zooming and cropping;
  • Two-stage sharpening;
  • Self-timer;
  • Instant uploading on the photos on social media.

Photozoom for Mac

6. InPaint

Price$19.99.

If you want to take your photo editing skills beyond the typical cropping and rotating, but aren’t ready to take on a pro software yet, InPaint might hit that sweet spot. The software includes handy retouching tools that allow you to remove background noise or watermarks. That might come in handy for your vacation photos: take out all of the other visitors in your photo of the Eiffel Tower! It’s also helpful in restoring old photos or giving your subjects perfect blemish and wrinkle-free skin.

Features

  • Digital facial retouching;
  • Watermark removal;
  • Eraser tools;
  • Fill black areas tool.

InPaint for Mac

7. Pixelmator

Price: $29.99.

Now on its 3rd version, Pixelmator is a tried-and-true photo editor that includes everything that the standard photographer would need from an editor tool. Use one of the 160 effects to enhance your photo and use the color correcting tool for crisp hues.

Features

  • Vast retouching and painting options;
  • Drawing tools;
  • 160 effects;
  • Pixelmator Team-designed layer styles presets
  • Full support for Photoshop files.

Pixelmator for Mac

8. Capture One

Price$99 (Express version), $299 (Pro version).

Created by a digital camera company, the Capture One software is an excellent choice if you do collaborative, interactive or on-set photo shoots. It allows you to upload and share your photos in real time so clients or art directors get immediate access to how the shoot is going.

Features

  • Custom-made color profiles for more than 400 cameras;
  • Color balance tool;
  • Black & White tool;
  • Skin tone editor;
  • Supports 250 RAW formats.

Capture One for Mac

9. Photoshop Elements

Price: $99.99.

If you want photography apps for Mac that incorporate the best of Photoshop Apeture or Lightroom without the monthly fees, Elements is a great place to start. The selection tools suggest up to 5 alternatives for each effect you’re considering, which makes for quick, simple editing work. You can also make Facebook covers and photos with the templates provided.

Features

  • In-program editing suggestions from Elements Live;
  • Easy photo correction;
  • Collage and slideshow creator;
  • Photo organizer.

Photoshop Elements for Mac

10. AfterShot Pro

Price$100 (free 30-day demo available).

This is an excellent option for professional level photographers who shoot in RAW. Easily recolor your photos or add a watermark for sharing files with clients. The program is responsive, intuitive, and has multiple shortcuts for easy touch ups.

Features

  • Easy-to-use editing sliders;
  • Preview photos quickly below main editing panel;
  • Watermarking;
  • Enhanced Highlight Recovery;
  • Blemish Remover tools.

AfterShot Pro for Mac

Summing Up

Whether you’re a parent looking to improve your favorite family photos or a photographer polishing your skills, these apps will make all of your photos album ready. Choose from basic editors like Google Photos if you’re a beginner. Some, like InPaint and Photozoom, allow you to focus on one particular type of editing if you’re not a prolific editor yet. There are also top of the line apps like Elements, GIMP, and Capture One for the professional photographer, so you can choose what’s best for your skill level.

GoPro Hero 4 Camera Review: Pros, Cons, Best Features

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys action and is constantly on the move, and want to film your adventures in the best way possible, then you have every qualification to be a GoPro owner. In case you’re not familiar with what a GoPro is, we must mention that it’s the world’s most famous action camera. An action camera is a type of camera that you can take with you when you go surfboarding, snowboarding, and doing all sorts of activities where you wouldn’t dare to use your phone or another type of camera to film.

the GoPro Hero 4 camera from three angles

If you’re interested in buying such an action camera, today’s review is going to be particularly useful to you. We’re going to look at the GoPro Hero 4 action camera and talk about some of its best features, and its pros and cons.

GoPro Hero 4 Action Camera Review

Main Features

The GoPro Hero 4 shoots 4K full frame, and its resolution is an impressive Ultra HD 3,840 x 2,160. But these aren’t the only shooting options you have. You can also choose to shoot with 2.7K at a resolution of 2,704 x 1,520, and with 2.7K 4:3 at a resolution of 2,702 x 2,028. The resolution settings on this GoPro are truly amazing, as it’s quite obvious from the examples above. You also have some high-speed options such as 1080p (1,920 x 1,080), 1,440p (1,920 x 1,440), or 720p (1,280 x 720).

Another cool feature of the GoPro Hero 4 is the time lapse which you can control according to your needs, from 0.5 to 60 seconds. If you want to use your GoPro when you’re riding your bike (by placing it on your helmet) or when you’re in your car (by putting it on the dashboard), you’re free to turn on looping for a high-quality image and the possibility of multitasking while filming. With this mode, you don’t have to worry about the camera stopping because its memory is full. The new files will replace the old ones in case this happens.

One of the most notable features of the GoPro Hero 4 is its SuperView mode, which is perfect for when you want to shoot wider frames. In this mode, the angle of vision is of 4K, 2.7K, 1080p and 720p. However, we must mention that the image will be a bit more distorted than what you would normally expect from a GoPro Hero 4.

If you’re looking for a camera that allows you to take pictures while also shooting video, then you’ll be happy to hear that this GoPro allows you to take both time-lapse pictures and 12-megapixel pictures while filming at 1,440p, 1,080p, and 720p. Moreover, the burst mode allows you to take up to 30 shots per second. This 12-megapixel CMOS is an improved version of the GoPro Hero 3.

If you’re wondering how you’re going to mount your GoPro Hero 4 in order to use it on your adventures, you should know that you have more than one mounting option. The adhesive bases you can use are both flat and curved, to fit any type of surface. You can also mount your camera with clips, which come in two different lengths, and add a link extender as well, in case you want the camera to rotate and capture a 90-degree view. The camera comes with two such extenders, that you can also use together, since they help you manufacture a pivot arm.

As with most action cameras that are designed to stand extreme weather elements and adventurous activities, this one too has a waterproof housing that works up to 131 feet deep.

GoPro Hero 4 camera placed under water

GoPro Hero 4 Pros

Among the most important pros that we have to single out in today’s review is the quality of the images you shoot with the GoPro Hero 4. The details are pretty spectacular, and so are the colors. The audio is also really great, and the camera does a good job even in situations where there isn’t that much light. Then, the 1.7-inch touchscreen LCD is definitely something that is worthy of our attention, and an important factor in deciding what kind of action camera to purchase. We should also mention the ProTune mode, which provides better control and quality, as well as an impressive range of peripherals, mounts, cases, and so on. Plus, all you need is the mobile app and WiFi in order to control the camera. Finally, another important pro is the fact that this camera is suited both for people who are more experienced with this kind of technology, and for people who are just getting started.

GoPro Hero 4 Cons

While there aren’t many cons when it comes to the GoPro Hero 4, we should mention a couple of things that could be improved. For instance, in some cases, the photos and videos can come out looking a bit hazy. Moreover, the case tends to sometimes muffle the audio. Another thing that we’re not particularly excited about is the fact that the LCD panel is an optional extra. The camera wouldn’t be waterproof if it weren’t for the housing, and this is something that can bother some people. Finally, we should also mention the battery. First of all, you can’t use any of your old GoPro batteries for this camera. This means that you run the risk of being left with no battery to film something you’re interested in. For instance, just to give you an idea of how much battery life you should expect, let us tell you that if you shoot at 1080p 30fps, you only have around 100 minutes of footage before the battery dies.

The Final Verdict

Overall, we are highly impressed by GoPro Hero 4’s quality, especially considering its affordable price. All the features it comes with, as well as the multiple accessories, make it one of the best action cameras on the market. It’s definitely better than the GoPro Hero 3+ Black, and we strongly recommend it to people who are looking for a compact device to help them capture their daily adventures.

Image Source: 1,2

Nikon D3300 Camera Review: Pros, Cons and Top Features

A lot of people would answer Nikon when asked what kind of camera they most like to use when taking professional photographs. That’s because the Nikon brand has managed to establish itself as one of the leading creators and developers of high-performance cameras, and with good reason. Nikon’s dedication to provide people with many camera options that can satisfy their highest expectations shows in the number of cameras they have on the market. One such camera is the Nikon D3300, which we’re going to talk about today. In our Nikon D3300 review, we’re going to touch upon its main features, what makes it shine, and what could have been made better.

a nikon d3300 camera on a table

Nikon D3300 Review

Performance

Naturally, the first thing we should discuss when it comes to a Nikon D3300 review is the way this camera performs. In this respect, the Nikon D3300 doesn’t disappoint, especially if we were to compare it with its predecessor, the Nikon D3200, or with other competitors. If you’re wondering how long it will take for you to power it on, focus on a particular subject and then shoot, the answer is about half a second, which is definitely impressive. Of course, the amount of time you’ll have to wait also depends on whether or not you’re shooting with the flash, whether it’s dark outside or not, and so on.

When it comes to Live View, this takes much more to focus and shoot, which can be regarded as an obstacle by some people. Still, there are other things that make up for it, such as the fact that if you use your Nikon D3300 with a 95MB/sec SD card, you will get a 5.1fps burst, which is indeed amazing. We should also mention that its LCD is the same as in the case of older Nikon models, but this is a good thing, since it’s visible even when the sun shines bright, and it also has a perfect size.

Top Features and Design

Next, let’s focus our Nikon D3300 review on some of its most impressive features. First of all, whenever you take a picture, you can choose between the Easy Operation and Advanced Mode options. The Easy Operation one is similar to Auto and it provides you with a limited number of features that you can use. The Advanced Mode is more suitable for people who have more experience using this camera. This one suggests what settings would work best for the scenario you chose. Plus, it also allows you to edit those setting if you want to.

Another impressive feature is the Fn button that you can use to control ISO sensitivity, image quality, Active D-Lighting menus, or white balance. The SD card is not in its usual place, having been moved to a more convenient one, namely the grip-side location. Nikon also implemented the interactive display in this model, and we’re loving it. You can now simply adjust the options by looking under the setting readout.

The Nikon D3300 looks almost identical to its predecessor. However, there are a couple of improvements that we should mention. For instance, it feels lighter and it’s much easier to hold for longer periods of time, which can be a great plus if you’re a professional photographer who takes pictures on a daily basis. Right on top of the grip, you’ll notice the shutter button and the power switch, and three more buttons behind them. Those three buttons are a record one, an info display one, and an exposure compensation one. The back of the camera includes the Menu, Review, Zoom in, Zoom out, and “i” buttons.

person holding a nikon camera

Finally, we should mention that the Nikon D3300 also comes with a collapsible kit lens that you have to pay an extra $50 to get. Even if this could be an interesting addition for some people, it’s absolutely not necessary to buy it if you just want to take high-quality pictures. You can do that just as well with the basic Nikon D3300 camera. Something that we wish we could see in this model is bracketing, both for flash exposure and simple exposure, but this is not an option that the D3300 has.

Pros

The most important pro that we should mention in our Nikon D3300 review is the image quality, which is really impressive. If you want your images to be full of details, then this is a great camera for you. Then, another pro is the fact that the ISO performance is very good, and the dynamic range as well. This camera has a high pixel count and a really great Guide Mode that is easy to use. When it comes to JPEGs, the Nikon D3300 has a really nice buffer capacity. Finally, some other things that impressed us were the uncompressed HDMI output, the 5fps continuous shooting rate, and the 1080/60p video.

Cons

While there aren’t many significant cons that we can identify when testing the Nikon D3300, especially if we keep in mind its price, competitors, and target audience, there are a few things that we should mention under this category too. For instance, there’s a lot of image noise that users are complaining about. Plus, there’s no built-in Nikon D3300 WiFi, no AE bracketing, and a slow contrast-detect in Live View. When the natural light is not strong, you might have to struggle a bit more with taking a high-quality photo, and if the flash overheats, it will shut down. The automatic video autofocus could also be better, but this is not something that particularly bothers us.

man setting up camera to take pictures at night

Final Verdict

Finally, we would say that the Nikon D3300 is one of the finest DSLRs for beginners, because it comes with great features and it’s easy to use. Both compared to older Nikon models, and to several other competitors, the D3300 promises and delivers a lot of high-quality features for a really affordable price. We’re definitely most impressed by the quality of the Nikon D3300 photos, and we’re sure you’re going to be as well, once you test it out.

We hope this Nikon D3300 review was useful to you. All in all, if you want to experiment with your first DSLR, we strongly recommend this one.

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Top 5 Prestigious Photography Classes Worth Completing

If you’ve always been passionate about photography and you want to learn more about how to take breathtaking pictures, you should consider attending a photography class. Since photography is a discipline that is studied by people all over the world, it makes sense that there are a lot of course options available to you, depending on what it is that you want to learn. From free online courses, to classes that you have to pay for and attend in person, the choices really are endless. Because we want to help you out, we’ve devised a list of 5 of the most convenient and well-regarded photography classes that you could attend. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Photographer taking a picture with a professional camera

5 Amazing Photography Classes Worth Taking

1. World of EOS Learn from Canon

Canon is definitely one of the best camera manufacturers in the world, which is why Canon photography classes appeal to so many people. This class is made even more appealing by the fact that it’s absolutely free to attend. The World of EOS Learn is divided into two main sections, each of them containing several online tutorials that you can find on YouTube.

The first section is called Getting Started and it’s perfect for people who don’t have any knowledge of photography and want to learn the basics in an easy and interactive way. For instance, here, you can learn more about how a camera actually works. The second section is called Get Creative and this is where the fun begins. You’ll learn all about different types of lenses, you’ll be given advice on how to shoot portraits, you’ll understand what low light photography is and how you can use it, and so on.

2. The Art of Photography from Open2Study

Photography is indeed an art, and this is precisely what Shane Hulbert, this course’s instructor wants to help you understand. You will learn how to look at photography as a contemporary visual art, by looking at contemporary artists and their work, in hopes that this will inspire you to create your own photographic art.

If you’re concerned that this class is more about theory than practice, then you should put your worries aside. You’ll also get to explore some practical skills that you’re going to need as a photographer and that can make you unleash your creativity when taking pictures. Moreover, this course will teach you all about the main features of a camera and how to use them, as well as how to use image editing software to enhance the look of your pictures.

3. History of Photography Podcast from Jeff Curto

There’s no reason why photography classes can’t come in the shape of podcasts as well. In fact, podcasts are some of the most exciting and appealing ways in which you can learn new things, since you can simply listen to them while on your way to work or when you’re cooking dinner. Jeff Curto is passionate about both history and photography, and you can easily notice that when listening to his podcast.

This podcast is perfect for people who have an interest in learning more about how photography evolved into what we know it to be today. If you’re hoping that this class is going to teach how to take pictures, then you’re in the wrong place. But if you’re hoping to get to learn more about the fascinating world of photography, the evolution of different types of cameras, and so on, then you’re definitely in the right place and should start listening to Curto’s podcast.

two large spotlights used for photography

4. Lectures on Digital Photography from Marc Levoy

If you’re looking for more extensive photography classes taught by experts in the field, then this series of lectures coming from Marc Levoy might become your new favorite thing. Marc Levoy is a Principal Engineer at Google and Profession Emeritus at Stanford, where he teaches Computer Science. His experience is quite obvious from the amount of detailed information that his lectures contain.

They’re absolutely free to access, fit both for people who are photography beginners and people who’ve worked with a camera before, and they cover almost every imaginable aspect of photography. You’re going to learn how cameras work, what you can find inside of a digital camera, how you can use all of the camera features to take amazing photographs, and so on. This is an online resource that you won’t regret accessing if you’re interested in taking some photography classes.

5. Photography Beginner’s Bundle from CreativeLive

Even if this class is not free, as are the other photography classes discussed above, it’s also not as expensive as to create a large gap in your budget. The Photography Beginner’s Bundle costs $299 and it includes 4 classes, exclusive access to some bonus materials, and on-demand access. The website claims that if you were to purchase all of these features separately, you would have to pay $606, which definitely makes this bundle a great bargain.

The 4 courses that you’re going to get if you buy this class bundle are: Fundamentals of Photography, Adobe Lightroom CC Photo Editing: The Complete Guide, Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics, and Understanding Light. As you can see, this bundle tries to offer people a little bit of everything, which makes it one of the best photography classes for beginners. You don’t only get to learn about the basics of it, but also about more specific things such as how light works in photography and how to edit your images using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.

collage of two pictures showing the before and after of using Photoshop

Summing It All Up

There’s no doubt that the world of photography is a complex one. Professional photographers have a deep understanding of how to use their equipment, how to frame their subjects, how to use their surroundings in their favor, and many other things. Whether you want to become a professional photographer yourself, or you simply like taking pictures as a hobby and you want to be able to do it in a more professional way, the 5 photography classes we provided you with above will definitely make that happen. Don’t hesitate to check them out as soon as possible!

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SDHC vs SDXC Cards: Which Is Best for You?

If you have a DSLR and you need a new memory card where you can stock all of your pictures, your best bet are the San Disk memory cards. The problem is that there’s more than one type of memory card that you can purchase, and the options might seem confusing, especially for someone who is not an expert in the world of photography and technology. Because we want to make sure you make the best possible choice for your type of camera and your needs, we thought we’d provide you with a guide to some of the most popular types of memory cards, namely the SDHC and the SDXC. Let’s see what we can find out from a SDHC vs SDXC comparison!

sdhc memory card front and back view

SDHC vs SDXC

First of all, we should have a look at the terminology of these two types of memory cards. SD comes from Secure Digital. Thus, SDHC means Secure Digital High Capacity, while SDXC means Secure Digital eXtended Capacity. Second of all, we should mention that there are no major differences between the two, which is what can make matters so confusing.

One of the main differences that stand out when talking about SDXC vs SDHC is the fact that the latter usually has a capacity of 4GB up to 32GB. The former can be much larger, but it’s also more expensive. So it all depends on your budget and your needs. If you don’t want to invest that much money in a memory card, then you can opt for the SDHC. If you need a lot of space on your DSLR, then you might want to purchase a SDXC.

All SD cards have a number on them, next to the logo. This number can be 2,4,6, or 10. The number refers to the class, which in turn references the transfer speed with which you can read and write images from and to your memory card. This speed is measured in megabytes per second. If you’re the kind of person who also shoots videos with their DSLR, you should know that this rating is not as important when it comes to videos. That’s because the format of the video is one of a smaller “fixed stream”, and this doesn’t take up the entire data pipe.

The way to read these class numbers is not at all complicated. The class number corresponds to the number of megabytes per second of the transfer rate. That means that a memory card inscribed with class 2 sustains a minimum transfer rate of 2 MB/s. Consequently, class 10 cards sustain a minimum of 10 MB/s.

three sdhc memory cards with different class ratings

Now that we’ve explained how to read the class rating number on a SD card, it’s time to explain what the differences between different class numbers mean for your DSLR. The Rated Speed is the maximum speed with which you can expect your memory card to read and writes files stored on it. This speed is important whenever you take a picture, because it shows you how much time you have to wait until your camera is ready to take another one. This is specifically relevant when you take still photographs, especially if they’re high-resolution. It’s also useful whenever you save pictures in RAW formats if they’re extremely large.

Consequently, if you get a faster card, you’re going to be able to take pictures faster. The speed difference is highly noticeable when it comes to taking multi-shot burst pictures on high-megapixel DSLR cameras. If you usually take a lot of still photos, and you also want to be able to transfer them to and from your memory card really fast, then you’re going to want to purchase a card that has a higher speed.

The Speed Class is what you should expect a minimum speed to be under the worst possible circumstances. This feature is more relevant when you shoot videos, because that’s the moment when your DSLR has to save a continuous stream of data. The amount of such data that the device saves is dependent a lot on the format and resolution of the video. The minimum speed we mentioned above is exactly what you need to make sure your camera records the video evenly and that there are no dropped frames to worry about.

So, even if video shooting doesn’t require a high Rated Speed, it does require a minimum Speed Class which should be compatible with your device’s specifications. No matter the kind of device you have, you’re going to find the minimum class rating required of a SDHC and SDXC.

The UHS Speed Class was first used in 2009 by the SD Association. They designed it both for SDHC and SDXC cards, so if this is an important criterion for you when choosing your memory card, you should know that both types of cards that make the topic of today’s article have it. One thing you should pay attention to is the fact that UHS memory cards only work if you have an UHS host device. If your device can’t be used as an UHS host, then it will simply use the standard Speed Class rating, not the UHS one. We advise you to purchase UHS memory cards, since they record better, have the ability to capture HD videos, and preserve a great video quality.

samsung memory card specifications

Samsung EVO memory card with the UHS feature.

Summing It All Up

We hope today’s guide to SDHC vs SDXC memory cards has proven useful in helping you decide what kind of card is better for your DSLR. Basically, there aren’t many differences between the SDHC and the SDXC cards, especially in what concerns newer technology such as the UHS Speed Class rating. The main difference between the two is the fact that the SDXC has a larger capacity than the SDHC. However, this also means that it’s pricier.

Some photographers might want their memory card to be larger, but most people can do just fine with a smaller one, such as the SDHC. In conclusion, unless you’re a professional photographer (and even if you are one, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on a memory card), a SDHC memory card is the best option for your camera.

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GIMP Photo Editor Overview: Is It Better than Photoshop?

GIMP photo editor is one of the most popular editing software out there. While it may never succeed in surpassing the almighty Adobe Photoshop, it’s one of the best alternatives you can find. And we’ll go as far as saying that it could very well be a better solution than Photoshop for some users.

And you may wonder why. First, because not everyone can afford spending thousands of dollar to get a copy of a post-processing program. Secondly, because you may find you do not need all the complex functions that other software have to offer.

And let’s get to the best part – the GIMP photo editor is FREE. That’s right. You get to edit your photographs without spending a dime. As an aspiring, amateur photographer, it may very well be all you need. Even professional photographer may find in GIMP the ideal photo editor.

GIMP photo editor logo

What is GIMP Photo Editor?

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The GNU consists of a group of programmers that were willing to create an editing software for everyone – a completely free, open-sourced OS. The developers are affiliated with the Free Software Foundation.

GIMP offers many of the tools and capabilities of Adobe Photoshop. You will find plenty of filters, effects, and tools that are quite similar to those in Photoshop. However, you won’t be charged one penny to use the features.

It is typically used for things such as:

  • Retouching photographs.
  • Advanced photo manipulation.
  • Resizing graphics.
  • Creating logos.
  • Creating photo collages.
  • Producing graphical design elements.
  • Scanning pictures.
  • Creating animated GIFs.
  • Exporting graphics to a Web format.

gimp editor on windows 10 image retouching mountainscape

Why is GIMP Software Better than Photoshop

  1. Gimp is FREE.
  2. GIMP is fast and stable. If you’re running an old computer, you will notice that Photoshop will sometimes slow down up to the point of freezing. This is because Photoshop takes a lot of hardware resources while GIMP takes less hard drive.
  3. Free updates. In addition to being free to download and to install, GIMP updates are also free. Photoshop users sadly have to pay for any new changes.
  4. It handles any file format. If you want to use GIMP AND Photoshop, then it’s totally fine because the free software does not discriminate. It can handle .PSD files and many other file formats.
  5. GIMP is portable. GIMP is about twenty times smaller than Adobe Photoshop. But that’s not all. The editing program can be loaded on a USB flash drive, allowing image editing anytime and anywhere.

GIMP Tools

The GIMP editor is filled with useful features. And if you played around in Photoshop, you’ll be familiar with many of the tools. Here are the software’s main features:

  • Painting tools: brush, airbrush, pencil, cloning tool, and more.
  • Selection tools: ellipse, rectangle, bezier, fuzzy, free, intelligent scissors.
  • Transformation tools: rotate, flip, scale, shear.
  • Layers.
  • Channels.
  • Advanced scripting.
  • Plugins.

painting of a man done in GIMP using GIMP painting tools

GIMP Tips

Dive into the layers

Beginners may be scared of Layers, but will find they are one of the most useful features of the GIMP photo editor. This tool allows for non-destructive editing. Any move you make can be undone, and you can go back to the original picture anytime. Layers are transparent, and every edit you make on a specific layer will not tamper with the ones above or below the working layer.

Red eye removal

You can’t always take your DSLR out, and with a less performant camera, we are often left with the creepy “red eye” look. The good thing is, GIMP packs the red eye removal tool in the filter menu. Just select the area that needs editing, then go to Filters>Enhance, and select the tool.

Creating a watermark

Every photographer should protect their art and add a watermark to their pictures. Making one in GIMP is easy as pie. A watermark may either be a text or a logo. To create a text watermark, all you need to do is use the Text tool and draw a text bar in which you can type the text. Then tweak the Opacity slider until you get the ideal effect.

If you would rather use a logo, then open the logo and add it to the photograph as a layer. Resize and position it, then play with the Opacity slider once more to have it blend in nicely with the image.

Brushes

Just as Photoshop, GIMP photo editor comes with a bundle of brush presets. But some editing needs call out for more personalized brushes. This is why users have the option of creating their own custom brushes. The Brush sidebar features a selection of sliders that can be used to create a new brush.

Creating a GIF

GIFs are so in right now. And did you know you can create on in the GIMP editor? And it’s quite easy.

First, you need to gather all the images you wish to incorporate in the GIF file. Then, you must open the first image as a layer and continue to add the following pictures also as layers. Once you have all the images stacked up, go to Filter>Animation and choose Playback. And you’re done!

Plugins

GIMP plugin registry filter plugin

Plugins are extensions that add plenty of extra functionality to programs. Just as many others, GIMP also enjoys a wide range of extensions ranging from filters, animation tools, scripts, to a movie modifier. You can find the plugins on GIMP’s Plugin Registry web page.

Tutorials

The nice people at GIMP have thought of everything. Despite the fact that the GIMP photo editor is a free software, its functions are quite complex and may appear as overwhelming to beginners. This is why you can find tutorials that will boost your proficiency and skill level on the official GIMP website.

Saving files in GIMP editor

By default, the software will save all images as .XCF files, both on Windows and on Linux. But many would rather have the pictures saved in a .JPG or .PNG file format because it is ideal for the Web. So remember to go to the menu bar and choose File>Export as… and pick the desired format.

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New Photography Contests 2016 and 2017

Photography contests are a great opportunity to both be recognized for your talent and to earn some money. What can be more fulfilling than being able to make some cash out of what you love doing? And although some of you may say that you only do art for yourself, let’s face it – it’s also a great way to boost your income.

After developing a portfolio and getting your work out there, photography contests are probably the second best way to promote yourself. You have no idea how many unknown, amateur photographers have managed to make a name for themselves by simply submitting a few pictures in the right places.

Photography contests man photographing landscape tripod

You have a lot of options when it comes to photo contests, but be careful. There are also a vast number of shady websites that ask for an entry fee but are not worth the effort nor the money. Pick your contests wisely and look for reliable photography competitions.

We’ve scouted the Web for some of the most appreciated online photography contests. Here’s what we came up with.

2016 and 2017 Photography Contests

Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

If you’re into wildlife photography you will surely enjoy this fun photo contest. It’s all about funny animal photographs, as the name so clearly suggests. The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards is free to enter.

To enter the competition, just visit www.comedywildlifephoto.com and complete the entry form. Upload your pictures prior the deadline, and hope for the best. Photographers can enter up to three images per category. There’s also a Video Clip Category, which might also be of interest for some of you. Up to two short clips can be submitted.

Deadline: 1st of October, 2016.

Prizes: The overall will receive a one-week safari trip to Kenya. All expenses are, of course, paid by the organizers. The winner will be flown to Africa together with their partner of choice (spouse, friend, partner, etc.). Category winners will each receive a trophy made by people with disabilities at the WonderWorkshop.

Monochrome Photography Awards

black and white picture of a shipwreck

Both amateur and professional photographers are welcomed to participate in the Monochrome Photography Awards competition. It’s all about black and white, so we hope you enjoy shooting monochrome pictures. We think it’s a great opportunity to make use of light and shadow to create stunning B&W photographs.

There are many categories to which you can submit your entry. This being said, everyone stands a chance to display what they’re most good at. Photographers can enter their work in the following sections: abstract, architecture, conceptual, fashion, fine art, landscape, nature, nude, people, photomanipulation, portrait, wildlife.

Deadline: 20th of November, 2016.

Prizes: The overall professional winner will receive a $2,000 cash prize and other benefits. The overall amateur winner will be given a $1,000 cash prize and other goodies.

Smithsonian Photo Contest

The Smithsonian Photo Contest has made quite a name for itself. It may not be as popular as the National Geographic Photo Contest, but it’s an exceptional launching point. All photographers who are 18 or older are free to enter the photo contest.

There are seven categories into which participants can “pour” their creations: Natural World, Travel, People, The American Experience, Mobile, Altered Images, and Sustainable Travel. Bear in mind that if you want to submit an image which has already won other photo contests, you must reconsider it because it is forbidden. So pick a stunning image which has yet to shine on the Web or go out and start shooting new photographs as soon as possible.

Deadline: 30th of November, 2016

Prizes: The Grand Prize consists of $2,500, but there are also other eight smaller prizes.

Travel Photo Contest

Candi Sewu Buddhst temple Indonesia

If you’re both a traveler and a photographer, then we’ve got just the thing for you. Since travel and photography go hand-in-hand, we are positively sure you already have some breathtaking pictures in your portfolio that should make their way to the Travel Photo Contest. Participants from all over the world are invited to take their chance and send their best travel snapshot.

There are no categories, which means that photographers are not restricted in any way.

Deadline: 31st of December, 2016.

Prizes: The Grand Prize winner stands to receive $100, the second place winner will take home $25, while the third place only gets $10. It’s not much, but you never know who’s going to notice your talent.

Photo Pills Awards

If you want to go big, say hello to one of the most generous photography contests you can find. It’s free to enter (which we love), and submitting your entries is as easy as pie. However, it’s not exactly everybody’s cup of tea, and let’s see why.

The Photo Pills Awards is open to all photographers who have what it takes to shoot for the starts. Basically, you have three big categories: Night, Moon, and Sun. This means that photographers have to submit pictures of the Moon, Supermoons, moonrises, moonsets, solar eclipses, sunsets, sunrises, sun silhouettes, the Milky Way, star trails, meteor shower, and pretty much all other celestial subjects.

Deadline: 31st of December, 2016.

Prizes: The overall annual winner will be awarded a $3,000 cash prize. Furthermore, each month you stand the chance of winning $100 regardless of the category you entered.

Embracing Our Differences Art Competition

Embracing Our Differences is a photography contest created to celebrate diversity and individuality. And what better way to embrace our unique personas than through the voice of art? To become a part of the change, photographers are invited to submit a digital art file with a short (up to 200 words) Artist Statement.

Deadline: 10th of January, 2017.

Prizes: $3,000 worth of prizes will be awarded to three winners.

RHS Photographic Competition

RHS Photography Competition 2014 entry photography competition

The RHS Photographic Competition addresses both the young and the older participants. Encouraging individuals of all ages to go outdoors with their camera, it’s one of the few photography contests dedicated to plant lovers. You might begin to look at your garden differently once you see it as a potential subject for your pictures.

There are nine categories: Celebrating RHS Gardens, Welcoming Garden Wildlife, Pure Plants, Abstract and Details, Greening Grey Britain, Social Media, Young Photographer (age 11-17), Children’s Photographer (under 11), and Portfolio.

Deadline: 28th of February, 2017.

Prizes: the RHS Photographer of the Year will receive a whopping £5,000, while the RHS Young Photographer of the Year will be given £750 worth of Wex Photographic vouchers.

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