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

Athletes And Their Environment

Using the great outdoors and the natural world to humanize athlete portraits

It was like glitter had been thrown on the climb—shiny, bright bikes and multicolored jerseys sparkling between mileposts on Las Flores Canyon Road outside Malibu, California, while the Rally Cycling professional Continental cycling team warmed up at spring training camp. On assignment to document the start of the team’s season, I spent some time... Read more

Weather Permitting

Use both expected and unexpected changes in the weather to create striking, more intimate images of your subjects

Shooting in the great outdoors can be a challenging, yet rewarding creative endeavor. No matter the genre of photography—portraits, lifestyle, landscapes, etc.—working amidst the elements can be as labor-intensive as setting up an entire studio shoot, but in a totally different way. Photographers working outdoors are up against a great many things... Read more

Adding Copyright Information In Camera

Your ownership information can be embedded directly in EXIF metadata from the moment of capture. Here’s how.

I’m a big believer in using every technological advantage possible. So that means that if I can use EXIF metadata to embed all sorts of information in my image files, well then I’m definitely going to take advantage of that. One of the most practical uses of image metadata is to append files with data about their creator—the copyright holder... Read more

Advice On Output Sharpening

Your picture isn’t finished until you prepare its pixels for printing

For the last few weeks I’ve been discussing image sharpening in Photoshop and Lightroom. This is done, typically, for three reasons: to compensate for the in-camera sharpening that is not performed on RAW image files; to creatively sharpen select areas of a scene in order to match the aesthetic you have in mind; and to sharpen the finished image in... Read more