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... 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

Time To Get Connected?

Connected cameras may represent the future of photography. But are they ready for prime time?

DxO ONE Olympus AIR A01 The connected camera market launched rather suddenly in 2014 with the arrival of the Sony QX1. A sort of mashup between a lens and a camera, the QX1 attached to a mobile device and used the phone (or tablet) as the brains for image capture and sharing. It might have seemed like a novelty had new products not arrived this... Read more

Shooting Campaigns From The Saddle of A Bike

Jeremy Dunn captures adventure-sports images, often side by side with the athletes, and has turned to film point-and-shoot cameras and compact digitals to make it possible

Photographer Jeremy Dunn has shot numerous national campaigns and magazine pieces. Because he needs to travel with the athletes he covers, he uses lightweight point-and-shoot film cameras and compact digitals. The result is a look that’s grainy and reminiscent of vintage European sports magazines. Always having a camera in your jersey pocket... Read more

Life In Motion

Some of the best photo opportunities aren’t found at your destination, but on the way getting there

Welcome to my playground: the space between home and destination. We live in a busy world. Fast-paced and often hurried, we are always in the state of getting from point A to point B. Recreation, work, or everyday life—this is a life in motion. Often, while the big camera is packed away and airports or train stations are navigated, photographic moments... Read more

Tasty Angles

Where to place your camera for inviting photos of food

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... Read more

Below The Surface

Explore the creative possibilities of underwater photography

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... Read more

Bearing Witness

Sometimes photos aren’t enough to capture a moment. Photographer Jason Watts helps families document unique periods in their lives. 

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... Read more
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