The Art Of Expression

The skills gained by shooting weddings and portraits can transform your photographic style
The Art Of Expression
My career as a photographer began in the wonderful world of weddings. Fresh out of art school, with only a minimal amount of technical training, I stumbled into a job as an assistant to a wedding photographer. Little did I know at the time, what I learned shadowing an established, very talented wedding photographer not only would teach me everything... Read more

Using High-Speed Flash Sync

Want to shoot with a flash but don’t want to be limited by the slow sync speed? You need to use high-speed sync.
Using High-Speed Flash Sync
A major advance in the world of speedlight photography was the introduction of high-speed sync. High-speed sync allows for shutter speeds faster than a camera’s traditional flash sync speed to be used. A camera’s sync speed is determined by the shutter, and is most often 1/250th of a second or less. Beyond 1/250th of a second, a focal plane shutter... Read more

The Faceless Portrait

Capture portraits that convey meaning without focusing on the face
The Faceless Portrait
There’s a story behind every faceless portrait. It lures you in with bits and pieces that make up the whole. These are the details that anchor story to image—the relationship between two humans and the way their hands clasp, the femininity found in fabric or how the wind catches a hemline at 7 p.m. on a hot August afternoon. These types of faceless... Read more

Better Flash Exposures With Flash Exposure Lock

The push of a button can make your flash smarter and your exposures better
Better Flash Exposures With Flash Exposure Lock
No matter how brilliant the electronics, every once in a while even amazing flashes with awesome automatic capabilities can be fooled. It’s the nature of auto anything: it’s probably going to be right most of the time, but every once in a while it’s tricked into delivering the wrong amount of flash. Usually that’s because it wants to compensate... Read more

Romancing The Frame

Gaining trust is the key to getting an honest, lasting portrait
Above: The atmosphere that Ashlee Weaver uses to help frame her subjects creates a fairy-tale feel to her couples’ imagery. Romance is elevated through an ethereal look and feel of the outdoor landscape, as if they have escaped to some enchanted place. And through creative composition, it’s as though her subjects are surrounded—nearly enveloped—by... Read more

All About Flash Exposure Compensation

Not sure what flash exposure is ideal? No problem. Try flash exposure compensation to automatically nail the right light.
All About Flash Exposure Compensation
One of the benefits of working with a dedicated speedlight flash unit is that it opens up a whole world of excellent automatic flash exposure possibilities. In many cases, smart flashes are designed to provide the speed and ease of automatic exposures with the accuracy and control of manually adjusted flash outputs. Still, sometimes smart flashes get... Read more

Recovering Photos From Faulty Flash Media

How to prevent data loss, and what to do when a CF or SD card is corrupt

After recently donating my time—on a Saturday morning, no less—to shoot photos for a worthy charity, I returned to my office to download the 600-plus images I’d just shot. I stuck the CF card into my reader, but nothing happened. I ejected the card, tried again and still nothing. After a reboot of my system with the same result, I decided to check... Read more

Macro Photography for Spring Flowers

Tips for making the most of new blooms and warm weather

This time of year presents a wonderful photographic opportunity: longer days and warmer weather, as well as the emergence of spring flowers that bloom full of color and interest. One of my favorite ways to photograph spring flowers is with a macro lens. So here are a handful of tips for photographers who want to try their hand at macro photography of... Read more

Soft Focus And The Global Village

Add style and dimension to your travel images with this versatile, often-misunderstood technique
Travel seems to be a compulsion with serious photographers. We’re a horde of camera-toting gypsies, wandering our shrinking, relentlessly more familiar planet, the so-called “global village,” searching for some fabulous piece of geography that hasn’t already been photographed to death. There are, of course, scores of useful approaches to making... Read more

Landscapes And The Soulful Photographer

Simple steps to help you focus and refine your landscapes

“When I’m ready to make a photograph, I think I quite obviously see in my mind’s eye something that is not literally there in the true meaning of the word. I’m interested in something which is built up from within, rather than just extracted from without.” —Ansel Adams Spending time in nature is the perfect setup for quiet observation... Read more

Paint Your Own Custom Portrait Background

The big-time pros use hand painted backgrounds, now the rest of us can too

There are several prominent commercial portrait photographers who I’ve noticed rely on an advantage over the rest of us: they have beautiful, custom-painted portrait backgrounds. Sure, there are plenty of background options from a number of resellers, and at a variety of affordable price points. But as is so often the case, you get what you pay for.... Read more

Photo Contest Tips From The Judges

Improve your chances of winning a photo contest with these rules of what NOT to do, gathered by the Digital Photo judges

Photo contests are a wonderful way to challenge yourself. Nothing motivates a photographer to create beautiful images more than the thought of submitting them to a panel of judges, and the chance of winning a prize doesn’t hurt, either. Even if you don’t win, the experience will make you a better photographer. Unfortunately, most photo contests... Read more