The Best Light Source…Ever - 11/24/08
Make every image great with the simple beauty of window light
Almost no light source is as flattering for portraits as a soft light. Studio professionals use softboxes and bounce cards to achieve this look, and it occurs naturally outside on cloudy days too. On sunny days this soft light can be found in open shade. This great light is all around, but what do you do without resorting to watching the weather or purchasing expensive strobe lighting and accessories?
Protecting Your Rights Online - 11/17/08
Read the fine print of user agreements before uploading your photos online
Issues of copyright and protecting photographers’ rights may seem like they’re only pertinent for professionals who make any or all of their income from the sale and licensing of their photographic talents. But amateur photographers should also be aware of the ways in which photo contests, online communities and forums license a user’s pictures when they’re uploaded to a Web site.
All-Digital Polaroid Transfers - 11/10/08
Emulate the Look of Polaroid Transfers…without all the fuss and muss!
Polaroid film is slowly disappearing, and with it goes some wonderful photographic techniques. One of the most popular and beautiful effects is the Polaroid dry transfer. The original effect is created by rubbing the colors from a processing Polaroid onto a sheet of watercolor paper. The imperfection of the process is part of its charm, and its look is unmistakably unique.
Improve Your Digital Imaging Skills In One Simple Step - 11/3/08
Rely on recipes to repeat your retouching successes
Experimentation is crucial for any photographer's creative growth. How many successful pros have you seen profiled in these pages that cite rigorous experimentation as the key to their success? This is particularly due to post-processing and retouching. It seems like the vast majority understand the importance of fiddling around on the computer to find new ways to make interesting photos.
The Subtle Twist That Makes Any Image More Interesting - 10/27/08
Use off-kilter framing for unique angles anywhere The names are great: Dutch angle, oblique, tilt, cant, and the British even call it a Batman angle. Whatever you call it, the effect is almost always great-an off-kilter composition that does wonders for an otherwise humdrum scene.
Hollywood has utilized the Dutch angle for decades, frequently to represent disorientation or confusion. In funkier films, Dutch angles are often used in lieu of square compositions. You can use it for a dramatic purpose, or to just make your shots more interesting; either way, there's probably no easier special effect to achieve than the Dutch angle.
When Wrong Is Right - 10/20/08
Set your work apart from the crowd by shooting in the wrong direction Ever lug your camera a really long distance to get a shot-to the rim of the Grand Canyon for a great vista, or all the way to Paris for a snap of the Mona Lisa, only to find that not only has someone beat you to it, but that someone is actually in the way of your great shot?
Add Impact To Photos With A Simple Vignette - 10/13/08
Vignettes put the focus exactly where you want it When working in a chemical darkroom one of the first things a photographer learns is the importance of placing emphasis on a photo's subject. The easiest way to do this is with the technique of vignetting. By simply darkening (or even lightening) the corners and edges of a print, those extraneous areas manage to recede into the psychological background while simultaneously placing the point of focus squarely in the center of the frame-right where you want it, on the subject.
If It's Boring, Backlight It! - 10/6/08
Simple steps to add depth to any photo When I was 20 years old, I was fortunate enough to participate in a sports-photography workshop at the United States Olympic Festival. Sponsored by some of the biggest names in sports photography, it afforded participants the opportunity to work alongside some of the most respected names in the industry. And although I don't shoot sports any more, I'll never forget one lesson I learned that week. It was probably the simplest thing I learned, and it applies to all sorts of photographic situations. Though the Sports Illustrated photographer said it more eloquently than this, I think I can condense the lesson even further: If it's boring, backlight it.
Great Shots Through Windows And Glass - 9/29/08
Simple steps to eliminate reflections and improve your rate of success A newborn baby in the maternity ward. A wild animal display at the zoo. A beautiful sunset viewed from a high-rise office building. How many times are you faced with a perfect subject only to be challenged by a barrier of glass between you and it? It's usually a big bummer because it's tricky to shoot through glass without ending up with pictures full of weird splotches and highlights. Armed with these tips, though, you can maximize your chances to get great shots even when you're forced to shoot through a window.
Secret To Maximizing The Magic Hour Light - 9/22/08
Using manual white balance for great sunset picturesWay back when I first switched from shooting film to digital, I kept wondering why my magic-hour photos (the pictures you take when the sun is setting or rising and creating those beautiful warm oranges and cool pinks and bold blue hues in the sky) weren't as dramatic as they were with film. If you're shooting with a digital camera and you want great magic-hour color, there's a simple secret I learned that makes all the difference in the world.
Achieving The Most Unique Perspective - 9/15/08
For the best vantage point go above and beyond Perspective is one of those things in life that everyone's always searching for. The same is true for photography, particularly when it comes to exploring a new location. What better way to get a feel for a place than to take it all in at once? And what better way than to gain some perspective by getting to higher ground or going up in the air?