Quick Fix Fridays: Extreme HDR

Combine those two situations and you have an awesome HDR (High Dynamic Range) possibility – and challenge.

The most dramatic HDR images are created in situations in which there is an extreme contrast range (differences in brightness levels) – when you are shooting from inside to outside and vice versa, and when you are shooting into the sun. Combine those two situations and you have an awesome HDR (High Dynamic Range) possibility – and challenge. The... Read more

How To Use Auto ISO

For the longest time I considered my camera’s auto ISO feature something only amateur photographers used

For the longest time I considered my camera’s auto ISO feature something only amateur photographers used. It was for people who didn’t fully understand the intricacies of light sensitivity and exposure adjustments, I told myself. True, I’d long used aperture priority and shutter priority automatic exposure modes when a situation called... Read more

One-light Portrait Lighting

The things you can do with a single light source are simply amazing

The things you can do with a single light source are simply amazing. If ever you doubt this, walk outside and take a look at the sun. Don’t stare at it, mind you, but consider the variety of beautiful lighting scenarios created by that single source up in the sky. It can act a specular source on sunny days, a giant softbox on cloudy ones. It can... Read more
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Fixing Bad Light

We’re all faced with bad ambient light from time to time.

We’re all faced with bad ambient light from time to time. Sometimes it’s too flat, or too dark, or just too plain boring. Well, here’s a look at a few types of bad light and what you can do to fix them. Midday Sun A professional photographer with a beautiful portfolio once told me that the secret to his success was simply that he refused... Read more

Black & White Basics

Making black-and-white images is easier than ever, thanks to black-and-white adjustments in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as black-and-white plug-ins like Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro, Perfect B&W from onOne Software and Topaz Labs’ B&W Effects.

Making black-and-white images is easier than ever, thanks to black-and-white adjustments in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as black-and-white plug-ins like Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro, Perfect B&W from onOne Software and Topaz Labs’ B&W Effects. Sure, you can play around with the sliders in the programs and plug-ins,... Read more

How To Make An Animated GIF

Animated GIFs are experiencing a bit of resurgence of late

Animated GIFs are experiencing a bit of resurgence of late. It seems like they’re most often used to make goofy Internet memes out of scenes from movies and TV shows, but animated GIFs can actually be another useful storytelling tool for photographers. Animated GIFs live somewhere between stills and video, and when used creatively they can be... Read more

Lighting Ratios In The Digital Era

A lighting ratio is the difference between the brightness of the main light and the fill.

A lighting ratio is the difference between the brightness of the main light and the fill. Ultimately it’s a measure of the contrast within a scene, between highlight and shadow. A stronger ratio is higher contrast, while a lower ratio represents flatter illumination. Lighting ratios were especially important in the days of film, because the... Read more

13 Tips to Travel Like A Pro

"Now boarding, US Airways flight 708 to Munich, Germany. All passengers please proceed to gate A20."

“Now boarding, US Airways flight 708 to Munich, Germany. All passengers please proceed to gate A20.” I’m kicking back in my seat in the International A Terminal at the Philadelphia airport, casually reviewing some notes on Florence, Italy. I’m leading a workshop there for Strabo Photo Tours, and I’m connecting in Munich... Read more

More Artful Architectural Photos

When I land a particularly challenging photo assignment, I turn to my friends for their insights and advice

When I land a particularly challenging photo assignment, I turn to my friends for their insights and advice. When the assignment involves architecture, the first person I turn to is my good friend, the talented architectural photographer Elon Schoenholz. He creates subtle, sublime photographs with a beautifully simple approach, using little more than... Read more

From The Window Seat

With no expectations or agenda, I literally watched as the world went by and periodically snapped pictures of the mysterious and multifaceted skyscapes from my window seat.

Rereading a story I shared in the Shutter Sisters book Expressive Photography, I was reminded of the exact moment I fell in love with photographing views from an airplane window. "On a recent flight from New York back to Los Angeles I found myself easing into the idea of a long, lazy flight home. I chose to stow my laptop, hold my camera in my... Read more