Lensbaby’s Deliberate Distortion

I’ve experimented with Lensbaby lenses for years, since they paradoxically let me focus on blur in a very unique and compelling way
Lensbaby’s Deliberate Distortion
During a trip to Florida a few years ago, while staying at a beach-side resort, my daughter began blowing bubbles by the beach. What intrigued me about the oval shapes and oily texture of the bubbles is that they echoed some of the oval shapes appearing in the background as part of the photo’s bokeh. I love the dreamlike quality the lens allows me... Read more

Pro Insights For Studio Lighting

Two professional studio photographers share their go-to gear and setups to help you choose the best lights for your projects
As part of a multi-portrait story on Steven Spielberg, Art Streiber used a Profoto head in a small, gridded softbox for the main light; the catch light is a gridded 7-inch reflector right over the camera. The backdrop is lit by a Profoto head in an extra-small, gridded softbox. Studio lighting, both flash and continuous, tends to be larger and more... Read more

Essential Photo Accessories

For the best photo experience and enhanced creative options, consider these must-have accessories
My tripod is the most important accessory in my kit. So much of how I create my photos relies heavily on keeping my camera perfectly still, even when I’m working in challenging environmental conditions. You would think that to practice and enjoy photography, all you’d need is a camera and a lens, right? In a basic sense, that’s absolutely true.... Read more

Portable Lighting Solutions

Keeping it “light” with on-location lighting, from speedlights to monolights and LED
Winemaker Bob Tillman at his Alta Colina Vineyard in Paso Robles, lit with a Nikon speedlight with a Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible attached to soften the fill light and a ¼ CTO to warm it. The days of lugging bags filled with heavy lighting equipment and paying hundreds of dollars in excess and overweight baggage fees for location shoots are over.... Read more

Light Modifiers

Softboxes, beauty dishes, ring lights, snoots and more tools to get the photo you want, in any situation, even when traveling
Use softboxes to create even, flattering light without harsh shadows. You can see the softbox in this portrait reflected in the subject’s sunglasses. Considering that, as photographers, we’re essentially capturing light in a box, modifying how that light gets captured is a key to creativity. When you’re working with artificial light sources, light... Read more

Special Lenses For Special Effects

Whether you want to make big enlargements of tiny subjects with a macro lens or alter the focal plane and perspective with a tilt-shift lens, these specialty lenses produce truly unique optical effects
Special Lenses For Special Effects
When most of us think about camera lenses, we think about things like focal lengths and maximum apertures and how they allow us to photograph certain subjects most effectively. Lots of lenses work for lots of different things, most of the time. But some lenses are built to do things that are especially unique. These specialty lenses may be designed... Read more

Lenses For Sports Photography

Sports photographers need to reach out and grab the shot. Here's how to pick the right lens.
Lenses For Sports Photography
I used my Nikon D4 with my NIKKOR 300mm F2.8 lens set to 1/2000th of a second, f/4.5, ISO 200 to capture the action of a steer wrestling competition at the PRCA Rodeo during Cheyenne, Wyoming’s Frontier Days. When it comes to sports photography, since speed is the name of the game, pros turn to “fast” lenses. But what constitutes a fast lens... Read more

Lenses For Landscape Photography

Landscape photographers need a wide variety of lenses to capture nature’s splendor
Lenses for Landscape Photography
It’s very important that I provide viewers with a clear path within my photos, especially when I’m using an ultra-wide focal length. I want to avoid the problem of confusing the viewer as to what the primary focal points are by establishing a clear sense of direction. It’s fair to say that landscape photography can mean different things to... Read more

Portrait Lenses

What to look for when shopping for a portrait lens for any camera, any format and any budget
Just about the moment the camera was invented, it was used to create portraits. Historic records of people have always been a main photographic focus. In an era of selfies, a portrait stands out as a composed and intentional representation of a person. The first consideration when choosing a lens for portraiture is typically focal length because it... Read more

Gear For Travel Photography

Think small when gearing up for travel photography
While many cameras continue to downsize thanks to the mirrorless revolution, the quality of their images keeps ramping up. Many photographers are switching over to small full-frame, APS-C and Micro Four Thirds camera systems and enjoying the incredible results these systems provide, and equally enjoying the weight savings they provide. As we gear up... Read more

Travel Lenses

Confidently capture the world with these great lenses
Kudla/Shutterstock While there’s no single defining characteristic that makes something a travel lens, there are definitely pieces of glass that are geared for work on the road.  When it comes to zooms for travel, one focal length range must be covered—a 24-70mm for a full frame camera or a 16, 17, or 18-55mm for a camera with an APS-C sensor. With... Read more

Lighting Demystified

Mastering photographic lighting is easier than you think, and will open up a world of possibilities
It can take just a single light to completely change a scene—if you know how to use it. Photo by David Schloss Whenever I hear a photographer say “I just use natural light,” sometimes what they mean is “because I don’t know how to use lighting equipment.” For most photographers, understanding how to set up and modify lighting to achieve... Read more
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