Continuous Light

A new generation of lights has hit the market, including some innovative continuous light sources. Here's a look at the advantages and disadvantages of these different types of lights.
Continuous Light
If you’re a portrait photographer, chances are you started out with a continuous light source. I remember my first “hot lights,” inexpensive tungsten lights reflected through a simple silver reflector. Imagine a household lightbulb being reflected by a large silver dinner plate, and you get the idea. As the name implies, the lights were hot, and... Read more

Cold Weather Camera Tips

Keep your expensive equipment warm, safe and dry when shooting this winter
Cold Weather Camera Tips
Cold weather has arrived all across the United States, though the definition of cold is different for each of us. Minnesotans, for instance, are soon to be dealing with sub-zero temperatures for months, while Southern Californians and Floridians may just feel a little chill as the mercury occasionally drops to 50. When the temperature falls below freezing,... Read more

Lighting For White Background Portraits

Illuminating bright backgrounds requires the right know-how and deliberate positioning of the subjects, the lights and the light modifiers
For consistent white background illumination, place two lights behind a subject on each side of the frame. This ensures even lighting without hotspots. One of the most popular requests I get from portrait clients is to photograph them in front of a white background. It’s for good reason, too. The look has a timeless quality, plus it’s clean and... Read more
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Preventing Camera Shake

Keeping the camera steady and choosing the right shutter speed are crucial for sharp pictures
Preventing Camera Shake
Want to ensure your pictures are sharp every time? Then you’d better get good at keeping the camera steady and choosing the correct shutter speed based on the lens you’re using. Most of us know that a too-slow shutter speed won’t freeze a fast-moving subject—like an athlete running or speeding car—but those are pretty specialized circumstances.... Read more

Composing People

Great candids and portraits aren’t always as simple as getting the right expression
Composing People
If this photograph had been shot from a position more directly behind the woman taking a snapshot, the three people who are her subject would have been blocked or overlapped by her body. Shooting from a position more to the left caused the photographer (in the image) and her subjects to be horizontally more separated—especially important in a two-dimensional... Read more

Photography Goals For 2020

Kick off the New Year on the right foot by conquering three photography challenges
Photography Goals For 2020
It’s that time of year again when we’re all making New Year’s resolutions to improve our diets, kick our bad habits and take care of all those things we keep putting off every year. Why not add to the annual to-do list with a handful of things to improve your photographic pursuits as well? Here are three suggestions to help get every photographer’s... Read more

Shooting In Manual Mode

Learn to control aperture and shutter speed independently for technical and creative control
Shooting In Manual Mode
Many photographers have the same simple goal on their to-do lists: to learn to master manual exposure control. And while photographers shouldn’t feel bad for relying on automatic assistance, it’s understandable why so many of us want to get good at making manual exposures. It’s because manual exposure settings offer complete technical control,... Read more

Family Travel: Beyond The ‘I Was There’ Photograph

A different photographic style to shoot friends and family on the road
A Backroads bicycle trip around Japan’s Noto Peninsula led to person-to-person cultural exchanges, making for a much deeper and more rewarding experience. During four very different Backroads tours—hiking through the Japanese Alps, cycling around Japan’s Noto Peninsula, crossing western Cuba and biking/cruising down the Danube—I focused my cameras... Read more

Negative Fill For Edge Definition

This simple lighting technique is an effective way to add shape and definition to portraits, tabletops and more
Negative Fill For Edge Definition
When photographers learn to use lighting controls, step one is the key light, which is the main illumination in a scene. Step two is learning about fill light, which adds illumination to the shadow side of the subject to prevent the shadows from being too dark and overly dramatic. In my opinion, though, the next step should be the reverse of fill light—when... Read more

A Simple Solution For Emailing Large Image Files

Send high-res photos easily with this iCloud-enabled trick
Have you ever tried to diagnose a computer problem over the telephone? It’s incredibly frustrating—usually because the person at the other end inevitably doesn’t understand much about computers. You might be surprised just how many people aren’t especially tech savvy. This is particularly problematic for photographers who want to send those... Read more

Tips For Shooting Photos In Cold Weather

Learn to overcome the challenges of winter subjects
Tips For Shooting Photos In Cold Weather
Snow is a challenging element to include in a composition. It can wreak havoc with exposure and make it difficult to direct your viewers. However, when you get a lock on proper exposure settings and add more prominent colors, it can be magical. Shooting photos in snowy conditions brings with it a number of technical and compositional challenges that... Read more

Gearing Up For The Olympics

How sports photographer Paul Kitagaki Jr. captures that unexpected moment
Gearing Up For The Olympics
Shawn Johnson (U.S.A.) captures the silver medal in the women’s individual all-around competition at the 2008 Olympics on Friday, Aug. 15, 2008, in Beijing, China. Like the athletes they capture, photographers have been gearing up for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Both have to be at the peak of their games to produce the desired outcomes. Paul Kitagaki... Read more
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