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How To Ensure Bad Lighting

Follow this terrible advice, and you’ll always ensure your lighting will be subpar
photographic lighting
If you follow the bad lighting advice provided here, you’ll never get a shot like this, which was made using a north-facing window as a beautiful, soft key light that’s ideal for portraits. If poor quality lighting is your goal, from portraits to landscapes, here’s our advice for ensuring your lighting is never very good. Learn a lighting rule... Read more

Weigh Down Your Tripod To Make It More Stable

Many tripods have a simple, yet immensely useful feature hiding in plain sight
In the Digital Photo Tip of the Week, learn about a hidden feature of many tripods that allow them to weighed down for more stability
Why is there a hook on the bottom of my tripod? Do you know that your tripod likely has a little retractable hook at the bottom of its center column? Do you know why? If you answered “yes” to both questions, do you know the particulars about how to put this hook to use? Many professional-caliber tripods include a small hook beneath the center column... Read more

On-Axis Lighting

Three instances where placing a light source as close to the lens as possible makes for a great lighting look
lighting for photography
Plop a flash on top of your camera and start firing away, and you’re not likely to be accused of masterful lighting. I’ve always thought of an on-camera flash as dumping a bucket of light on a subject—not exactly the most nuanced lighting approach. But not all frontal illumination is quite so bad. In fact, sometimes full-frontal, on-axis lighting... Read more

How To Find A Stolen Camera

Track down your missing camera equipment thanks to EXIF metadata and a helpful website that puts it to use
find stolen cameras
Much like a private detective, there’s a high-tech service out there that can help you find your camera should it go missing. No, not if it’s missing under the couch, but if it has walked off somewhere at the hands of some unscrupulous thief. The service is called Stolen Camera Finder, and it’s free to try with just a small fee if you decide to... Read more

Shooting Portraits In Bright Sunlight

How to compose good portraits when faced with this awful lighting scenario
portrait photography
Have you found yourself in a situation where it’s the middle of the day, not a cloud in the sky, and somebody needs his or her portrait made outdoors in that bright sunlight? There are lots of opportunities where, for any number of reasons, postponing until the magic hour simply isn’t a reasonable proposition. Instead, it’s imperative that you... Read more

Upgrade Your Lighting Kit With A Boom Arm

This telescoping length of steel may not seem like a big deal, but it provides tremendous control and easy adjustments for even the most cumbersome light sources
boom arm
Cameras and lenses get all the front-page attention, and for good reason: They’re the sexiest, most innovative technologies we photographers typically use. But when it comes to studio equipment, sometimes it’s the less glamorous stuff that’s the most exciting. Well, if not exactly exciting, it’s at least the kind of stuff that makes a surprisingly... Read more

Generate Smiles With Photoshop’s Face-Aware Liquify Tool

A powerful solution for portrait photographers who want to make their subjects happy while helping them to look their best
Photoshop Face-Aware Liquify tool
About a year ago Adobe updated Photoshop CC to add some tremendous portrait retouching capabilities to the Liquify tool, namely, what Adobe’s designers call Face-Aware Liquify. Liquify, you may know, has always been useful for pushing and pulling and expanding and contracting and generally reshaping image elements. It’s such a powerful way to modify... Read more

Use Fill Light Right

On the correct way to use a reflector to illuminate portraits
portait photography tips
When shooting portraits outside, one of the simplest and most popular lighting techniques is to use a reflector—either a white card, for instance, or a silver, white or gold collapsible reflector—to bounce sunlight onto the subject. This works whether the subject is in direct sunlight or shade, and whether the reflected light is used as a key light... Read more

Creative Blur Techniques

Blur isn’t always wrong. Sometimes it’s so very right!
creative blur techniques
We can all agree that sharp pictures are always the best pictures, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes blurry pictures may be preferable. For instance, if you want to convey a feeling of motion in a picture of a fast-moving subject, you might find that a bit of motion blur does the job. Or maybe you just want to add interest to an otherwise ho-hum portrait;... Read more

Using Vimeo For Video Backup

More than a great place to share high-quality videos, Vimeo also can store original video files in the cloud
cloud storage
Looking for a great way to display your videos online? Vimeo is a high-quality option. Almost every video shooter understands that if you want something to look its best online, Vimeo is a tremendous option for maximum quality. Better still, Vimeo offers an unlimited amount of storage space, whether you’re subscribing to the free Basic plan or whether... Read more

Turn The Sun Into An Outdoor Studio With One Simple Modifier

Make the sun a softbox with a translucent piece of fabric
lighting modifiers
If you’re shooting people outdoors, there’s one lighting modifier in particular that you need. In fact, there’s only one modifier that you need. It’s a silk, also called a scrim, stretched on a frame. This piece of white diffusion fabric turns the harshest sunlight into beautifully diffused, soft light. It’s the perfect key light, especially... Read more

How To Fake Sunset Light

Use a strobe and a gel to re-create beautiful magic hour lighting
magic hour light
What’s the prettiest natural light there is? A lot of photographers would argue it’s the golden hour, that time shortly after sunrise and shortly before sunset when the light is strong and warm and comes from a low angle close to the horizon. The combination of a low angle and warm glow can make almost any subject more interesting and attractive.... Read more