Knockout Black & White

What exactly draws photographers to the black-and-white image?

What exactly draws photographers to the black-and-white image? We have the ability to re-create a scene almost exactly as it existed, yet we still continue to create images in black-and-white. Color television was invented and became affordable for everyone to own, and the black-and-white television set was rendered obsolete. At the same time, color... Read more

Go Deep

About five or six years ago, the term "bokeh" started getting batted around a lot in the photography community.

About five or six years ago, the term "bokeh" started getting batted around a lot in the photography community. Bokeh became one of the most overused buzzwords of the decade, and now just about every online discussion or review of a lens discusses the phenomena of bokeh at length. Bokeh is a word that seems to have materialized out of nowhere... Read more

Wild Exposures

Multilayered silhouettes that explore new territory in self-portraiture

Creating multiple exposures is a trend that’s getting a lot of attention in the photography world lately. I’ve seen multiple-exposure photographs pop up everywhere, from Flickr to 500px, and I really love the way they look. These images, created by combining multiple images into one, can be done in-camera with some camera models, as well... Read more

Winter Wonderland

Tips and inspiration for cold-weather storytelling in a snowy environment

When I ventured into my first adult winter in New England, I found myself approaching the season with a certain giddiness and childlike innocence that bordered on naive. What I had forgotten from the winters of my youth was how a snowy world creates a sense of freedom with all that vastness of white. Winter is a photographer’s dream! I love to... Read more

Exposure Solutions: Balance Backlight

Backlight can produce beautiful results for portraiture if you know where to take your meter reading—and, if you call upon a reflector.

Backlight can produce beautiful results for portraiture if you know where to take your meter reading—and, if you call upon a reflector. One nice quality of backlight is the illumination at the edges of your subject’s hair, creating a warm and healthy appearance. Shoot backlit portraits when the sun is at a low angle in the sky: early morning... Read more

Step Up Your Light

Speedlights and on-camera flashes have become so advanced that many photographers are using them as primary studio and location lights.

Harbor Digital Design Ultimate Light Box Diffuser ProPack Speedlights and on-camera flashes have become so advanced that many photographers are using them as primary studio and location lights. Thanks to wireless communication, multiple flashes can be used together in several groups to produce very sophisticated lighting setups. Just as adding... Read more

Envision The End Result

You know, it doesn’t take much to turn a snapshot into a great shot.

You know, it doesn’t take much to turn a snapshot into a great shot. Most of the time, envisioning the end result—what you can do in the digital darkroom—is the key. Hey, if it worked for Ansel Adams (using film and the wet darkroom), it can work for you, too! Ansel Adams was the master of previsualizing the final image. Other times,... Read more

Build A Prime Lens Kit

How (and why) to select key prime lenses for your camera system

In the almost distant past, the prime lens was de rigueur. Just about every SLR from the late 1930s up until the mid-1970s was equipped with a 50mm prime lens. Then manufacturers started to include zoom lenses as part of the kit because it afforded entry-level photographers more bang for the buck. These early zoom lenses were slow and of relatively... Read more

Add Some Flare!

Shooting toward a light source reduces the overall contrast and color saturation of your image.

Shooting toward a light source reduces the overall contrast and color saturation of your image. It underexposes your subject if you set the exposure for the background and overexposes the background if you set the exposure for the subject and the effect introduces odd color and shape artifacts in your image known as lens flare. As photographers, we’re... Read more

Reflections

Be delighted by what can emerge in the layered world of visual echoes

Over the many years I’ve been a photographer, I’ve experimented with a number of creative techniques. I began shooting film, way back when, and learned how to use the darkroom in college. I experimented with the basics, and then less mainstream techniques like double exposure to add an element of mystery to the final image. I also enjoyed... Read more

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

Exposure Solutions: Sharp Action

There is, perhaps, nothing more satisfying than an image of action frozen in crisp, sharp detail, allowing us the time to scrutinize and analyze every nuance—down to the smallest speck.

Arising early one morning in Maui, I came upon a spot where both big waves and surfers were now arriving. After traversing down a somewhat narrow path along a rather steep cliff, I found the perfect shooting spot. Within the hour more than 20 surfers had accepted the challenge offered up by these thunderous and sometimes unforgiving waves. It became... Read more
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