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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

Building A Basic Camera Kit For Serious Photography

What should be in your bag when outfitting your camera kit?
camera kit
If you’re reading this, you’re interested in photography. Some might say you’re “serious” about the hobby. So, now you want to upgrade from your smartphone, point-and-shoot or even your basic camera to a kit that matches your dedication—something like an interchangeable-lens mirrorless or DSLR camera. What are this kind of kit’s essentials,... Read more

For Outdoor Portraits Aim Your Camera At The Sun!

Put the sun at your subject’s back for improved outdoor portraits
outdoor portrait photography
When you’re taking a picture of a person outdoors on a sunny day you have one fundamental decision to make: Do you position the subject so they’re facing the sun, or do you position them so that the sun is at their back? There’s one answer that’s almost always correct: Place the sun at the subject’s back. Here’s why. First, if you position... Read more

Use A Polarizer For Better Color

Polarizers do a lot more than eliminating reflections and deepening blue skies
Nearly a decade ago, on this very website, I wrote a short piece about using a circular polarizer on overcast and rainy days. I explained how the polarizer would eliminate the shine on damp leaves and other surfaces, and instead allow detail and color to come through. The response was immediate and strong. “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”... Read more

Use Teleconverters To Photograph Wildlife

An affordable option to get up close and personal with animals in the wild
In the good ol’ days of 35mm film, serious wildlife shooters needed 600mm and even 800mm supertelephoto lenses to get up close to their subjects. But then came the digital revolution and smaller-than-35mm sensors, which have the effect of cropping out the center of a full frame and making a 400mm lens behave more like a 600mm. Now factor in higher... Read more

Repair Moiré The Easy Way

When fine patterns interfere with your sensor, here’s an easy fix for removing those colorful bands of moiré
Photoshop is such a powerful and multifaceted image-editing tool, there are many repairs that can be made with several equally effective approaches. Fixing moiré is one such task. Moiré is the colorful banding that appears when a fine pattern in an image is even finer than the pattern of the pixels on a camera’s sensor. It’s frequently found in... Read more

Studio-Style Lighting Control Outdoors

When taking photos outdoors, look for natural opportunities to control the light as you would in a studio
shooting outdoor portraits
When working outdoors, you might think you’re required to take it or leave it when it comes to the light offered by Mother Nature. In fact, though, you often can take control over this natural light simply by changing your position relative to the subject, or by changing the position of the subject themselves, so that structures nearby, as well as... Read more

Types Of Lenses

There’s a lens for every need. But how do you know what you need?
types of lenses
There are, it seems, one million and one lens options out there for the discerning photographer. You bought a new camera and it probably even came with one, called a kit lens. Is that all you need? What’s a kit lens, anyway? What about a wide-angle, or a portrait lens? Do you need a zoom? Is that the same as a telephoto? Here’s a rundown of types... Read more

How To Photograph A Solar Eclipse

This month’s total eclipse presents photographers with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
how to photograph a solar eclipse
On August 21, 2017, the “Great American Eclipse” will present a unique opportunity for photographers nationwide. The moon will pass between the earth and the sun and fully block the sun, creating a swath of shadow stretching from the northwestern to the southeastern United States. Ideal viewing can be had in Oregon, Wyoming, Illinois, Tennessee... Read more

Don’t Polarize Portraits

Got a glare on glasses? Tempted to polarize it away? Don’t do it!
In the Digital Photo Tip of the Week, learn how to fix glare on glasses in your portraits and why you shouldn’t use a polarizer.
Anytime I talk about fighting glare on glasses—be they the prescription kind or the sun-fighting kind—someone always asks whether they should just use a circular polarizing filter to eliminate the reflection. This might sound like a good idea but the problem is that, more often than not, it doesn’t work very well. Worse still, when you use a polarizer... Read more

The Sunny F/16 Rule

Extrapolate the Sunny F/16 Rule to work in a variety of outdoor lighting situations
the Sunny F/16 Rule
What’s the correct exposure on a normal sunny day? There’s a formula to answer that, don’t you know? The correct answer is a shutter speed of 1/ISO at ƒ/16. So, with ISO 100 dialed in to the sensor, the correct exposure on a normal sunny day will be 1/100 sec. at ƒ/16. This handy rule of thumb is very helpful as it always gives you an idea of... Read more

Fight Color Shifts At High Shutter Speeds

Many indoor light sources cycle and flicker, and you might see this in your photos at high shutter speeds
how to fix color banding
Have you ever seen a strange colorcast in part of a photo when it’s shot indoors at high shutter speeds? I’ve noticed this effect on some photo assignments, although it was never a problem I could re-create consistently. It was only when I read about a feature in certain new cameras that I realized what I was seeing. You see, artificial light sources... Read more