My Own Backyard

Become a better landscape photographer by practicing these techniques without traveling far afield

I live in Suburbia, plain and simple. The streets in my Southern California town have been plotted out in a grid formation, with strip malls on most corners and tract homes that resemble one another. Besides the beach being only a few miles away (my favorite part of living here), many of the natural elements around me have been placed there by human... Read more

Accelerate Time

How to create stunning time-lapse video with a process that has become easier than ever

“NEVER SAY NEVER.” I absolutely love still photography. In fact, my family probably would tell you I’m obsessed with taking photographs. There’s something almost indescribable about the magic, power and expression a still photograph can convey. Every day I grab my camera and seek out an image that moves me and, hopefully, others. A few years... Read more

Light Fantastic

Capturing the magic of nighttime photography

Exploring the world at night with your camera opens up many fun opportunities to play with exposure. Chasing light outside is an excellent way to learn more about your camera settings while creating artistic images. Long exposures, bokeh effects and painting with light are just a few ways to get creative, learn some new techniques and reinvent how... Read more

Focus On The Details

Create unique images of the natural world using your smartphone

Photography is a powerful tool. We wield our cameras with the possibility to share a different perspective of the world. In this day of instant everything, I find myself taking a majority of daily photos with my smartphone. This little device has become a great resource for documentation, and it often acts as a lifeline for keeping me present in the... Read more

Shooting A Series

Ordinary moments become a collection of family treasures

Long before the days of #hashtags, dipping back in time when social media was a new phenomenon, photographers shot in series to collect a grouping of “similars”—images that documented a specific location or subject over time. This is an interesting practice that not only shows how you grow as a photographer, but shows how the location changes... Read more

Creativity Unleashed!

The classical thought is that you have to be born creative. But can creativity be learned? The short answer is, yes!
“You’re either born with it or you’re not.” You simply grab a camera, point it at a subject, and miraculously every image is worth framing. It doesn’t matter what the subject is or what the lighting is or settings are, the “creative force” is with you. You see the world differently. And then there are those unlucky souls, photographers... Read more

Tilt-Shift Focus Effects

Create super-shallow depth of field with tilt-shift lenses and their Photoshop equivalents

Tilt-shift lenses are often used for architecture and product photography. The “correct” way to use a tilt-shift lens is to adjust the lens elements in order to minimize distortion or to shift the plane of focus for massive depth of field. But breaking the rules with a tilt-shift lens is a great way to create funky shallow focus effects. Here’s... Read more

Photo Exercise: Simplicity

Less can be more for stronger, meaningful images

Contrary to our natural inclination to fit as many elements as possible into the frame, keeping things simple can result in images that are strong, purposeful and soulful. Simple doesn’t have to be boring. A single subject against a clean background can be utterly captivating. We can achieve simple and strong images by choosing interesting subjects... Read more

Transforming (Weaker) Images With B&W

Black-and-white has the magical power of rescuing some images that didn’t quite make it as color photos, if you know how to look at them

Long gone are the days when photographers shot with black-and-white film and developed it in a darkroom or waited for the technicians to send our rolls back so we could see once and for all what magic our lens wrought in that tricky, elusive medium. Because digital cameras capture in color and black-and-white is done in postprocessing, in order to... Read more

Seeing In Black & White

How to determine what types of scene characteristics will create compelling black-and-white images

As much as I like color, there’s just something that’s compelling about black-and-white images. Maybe it’s the purity, grit or tension, but black-and-white continues to be a popular medium in photography. Thanks to digital capture, we can convert any image into black-and-white, but not all color images are created equal when it comes to black-and-white... Read more

Minimalism & Monochrome

Bring simplicity and space to your black-and-white photography

As we embrace winter, I think about accepting the lack of sunlight and how this affects my photography. The leaves have all fallen, leaving us in the depths of “stick season,” the snow flies and washes out all color. Darkness comes before dinner, and I have hibernation and warm cups of tea on my mind. Winter is a season that drives composition and... Read more

Five Techniques For B&W Improvement

Not everyone is a great black-and-white photographer from the get-go. These techniques will help refine your monochrome eye.

What does it take to really master black-and-white as a photographer? If the perfect flash or reflector was the only thing required, we’d all be winning prizes by now. No, what’s required is a daily practice where you go straight to your edges and allow yourself to truly explore the world in black-and-white. For some, taking your big camera here,... Read more
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