The rules of composition are fundamental to creating great photos—and any great art
By Tracey Clark Of Shutter Sisters
When it comes to photography, I’m big on storytelling. I know that part of why I’m drawn to capturing photographs is because of the stories that can be told through the beauty and wonder of the ordinary. Ironically, of all the photography classes and lessons I’ve taught (both online and off), some of the most satisfying were the ones that didn’t...
Paper sweeps are great studio backgrounds, but incorrectly placed lights can bring out textures and inconsistencies in the seamless.
By William Sawalich
When shooting indoors with a seamless paper background most photographers want to achieve a pure seamless background. It might be white or gray or black or blue or almost any color under the sun, but what it can’t be is a patterned or mottled paper. Yet sometimes seamless paper backgrounds sure don’t look totally smooth. What causes this? And can...
Where to place your camera for inviting photos of food
Text & Photography By Christina Peters
Do you have trouble figuring out what camera angle to use for your food shots? I find that, with the students I teach, this is a common problem. When I first started teaching, I would do a demo in class, where I set up my camera while my colleague, who I was teaching the class with, would set up our food and props for the shot. A student asked me, “How...
Explore the creative possibilities of underwater photography
Text & Photography By Elena Kalis
Ten years ago, seeking to extend my traditional art background, I picked up a camera and an underwater housing and started “playing in my backyard” with my young daughter as my model. I was also lucky to live nearby clear, warm water, and soon became fascinated by what I found. The spectacular effect of sunlight through water, the dreamlike...
Sometimes photos aren’t enough to capture a moment. Photographer Jason Watts helps families document unique periods in their lives.
By Tracey Clark, With Jason Watts, Photography By Jason Watts
One morning in mid-August, as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, a stunningly simple vintage-style portrait of a young boy caught my attention. The words written across the image, posted by photographer Jason Watts, read, “Bearing Witness.” That image and those words stirred my very soul. I was only two weeks away from traveling across the...
Fully mobile photography has changed the game for travel photographers—find out how it can make your shoots better, too
Text & Photography By DL Byron
For the entire history of photography, photographers have strived to make the process of capturing an image more portable and more instantaneous in order to help them take masterful photos, wherever they may go. The camera obscura (literally, “dark room”), the precursor to what we know as a camera, was actually a room with a pinhole in it. That’s...
What happens when a portrait photographer turns her eye to the discarded elements in her environment? Images of objects that feel like portraits.
Text & Photography By Jen Lemen
As a photographer, I’ve always been determined to find the kind of hope that illuminates a frame. My eye is trained to see tiny things—the impossible ray of light, the most subtle gesture, the glance that says it all. I love trying to capture the human spirit in my lens; I love even more the invitation to travel and see the world with new eyes....
Planning and focus can be the difference between amazing travel photos and a collection of dull snapshots
Text & Photography By Tom Bol
Have you ever sat through a friend’s vacation slideshow and dreaded every minute of it? Countless images of cluttered markets, busy landscapes and cliché snapshots blur into oblivion. You nod your head in a daze of encouragement, wanting to be polite, but after the last shot of the cute kid eating ice cream, you can’t take it anymore. If only your...
Capture the silky water effect with these tips and tools
Text & Photography By Rick Sammon
John Lennon said, “Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.” When it comes to your photography, it’s your imagination—your creativity—that makes you who you are. That’s very cool.
One of the controls we can use to create our own photographic reality is the shutter speed setting on our cameras. With that simple control, we can alter time—by...
In studio and outdoors, a hair light can help separate a portrait subject from the background
By William Sawalich
One of the best ways to increase the production value on any photograph is to add to the illusion of three-dimensionality. Skilled photographers use depth of field, light and shadow to accomplish this, accentuating shapes and separating subject from background in an effort to make it easier to interpret what’s important in an image quickly and easily,...
Alleviate color balance issues with a simple gelled-flash technique
By William Sawalich
With all the technological advances Digital SLRs have made in recent years, it may seem like there’s literally nothing they can’t do. They can automatically select the appropriate ISO, the shutter speed, aperture, white balance, flash exposure… They can do almost everything automatically and perfectly every time. But the one thing they...
Look, ma! No HDR (high-dynamic-range) program or HDR plug-in! That’s right, HDR fans.
By Rick Sammon
Look, ma! No HDR (high-dynamic-range) program or HDR plug-in! That’s right, HDR fans. The opening image was created in Photoshop using basic adjustments, which I applied with Photoshop Adjustment Layers.
In my how-to feature in this issue, we consider when to use HDR techniques and the capabilities of specialized software like Photomatix...