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For The Ultimate Polarization Effect, Polarize Your Lights!

For eliminating reflections and maximizing color and detail, nothing beats cross polarizing the light and the lens.
For The Ultimate Polarization Effect, Polarize Your Lights!
When I mention the use of a polarizing filter, what’s the first thing you think of? Chances are, it’s probably a circular polarizer—a glass filter that attaches to the front of your lens and can be rotated to modulate the filter’s effect—which is usually to eliminate strong glare from scenes, or to make blue skies darker in outdoor pictures. But... Read more

Keep Your Image Files From Being Corrupted In Camera

A few simple steps can protect your data and prevent the loss of a one-in-a-million shot
Keep Your Image Files From Being Corrupted In Camera
If you’re anything like me, you’ve got stacks of old media cards lying around. Be they SD or CompactFlash, these cards in my camera cabinet range in size from 1GB to 256GB, with vintages from 2006 to just last week. The smaller the card, generally speaking, the older it is. Every once in a while, depending on what I’m shooting, I might grab one... Read more

Better Portraits Through Overexposure

Overexpose ambient light or on-camera flash for beautiful skin and better high-key portraits
Better Portraits Through Overexposure
I’ve found that in a lot of portrait situations—particularly in natural light, or naturally high-key situations, or when I’m using a light source such as a flash on or very close to the camera—I’m happiest with the results if I subtly overexpose the images. The camera meter might suggest, for instance, that the correct exposure is 1/125th... Read more
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Which TTL Metering Mode Should I Use?

Understanding how a DSLR’s light meter works is the first step toward more accurate exposures
Which TTL Metering Mode Should I Use?
Whether you’re shooting a fully programmed automatic exposure or using modes such as Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority, or even if you’re setting exposures manually, in all cases you’re relying on your camera’s through-the-lens light metering capabilities to determine the correct exposure. A DSLR’s TTL meter measures the amount of light... Read more

Make Blooming Flowers More Vibrant With Lightroom’s HSL Tools

Lightroom offers some surprisingly powerful custom color controls
In Lightroom’s Develop module lives a tab with the cryptic letters HSL. This tab, as you may infer from some contextual clues, allows you to modify the color. So those letters stand for Hue, Saturation and Luminance. By modifying these three sets of sliders, amazing color control can be as easy as the click of a button. That’s why this is the perfect... Read more

Angle Of View And Choosing The Right Lens

Two lenses might be able to render the subject the same size, but that doesn’t mean the shots will look the same. Here’s how angle of view should impact your lens choice.
Angle Of View And Choosing The Right Lens
I have a client who hires me regularly to make portraits of her employees. The primary requirements are that each person remain about the same size in the viewfinder—cropped from the waist to the top of their heads—and that the background shows depth, but is out of focus as well. This means, fortunately or not, that there are a lot of ways I could... Read more

Using High-Speed Flash Sync

Want to shoot with a flash but don’t want to be limited by the slow sync speed? You need to use high-speed sync.
Using High-Speed Flash Sync
A major advance in the world of speedlight photography was the introduction of high-speed sync. High-speed sync allows for shutter speeds faster than a camera’s traditional flash sync speed to be used. A camera’s sync speed is determined by the shutter, and is most often 1/250th of a second or less. Beyond 1/250th of a second, a focal plane shutter... Read more

Better Flash Exposures With Flash Exposure Lock

The push of a button can make your flash smarter and your exposures better
Better Flash Exposures With Flash Exposure Lock
No matter how brilliant the electronics, every once in a while even amazing flashes with awesome automatic capabilities can be fooled. It’s the nature of auto anything: it’s probably going to be right most of the time, but every once in a while it’s tricked into delivering the wrong amount of flash. Usually that’s because it wants to compensate... Read more

All About Flash Exposure Compensation

Not sure what flash exposure is ideal? No problem. Try flash exposure compensation to automatically nail the right light.
All About Flash Exposure Compensation
One of the benefits of working with a dedicated speedlight flash unit is that it opens up a whole world of excellent automatic flash exposure possibilities. In many cases, smart flashes are designed to provide the speed and ease of automatic exposures with the accuracy and control of manually adjusted flash outputs. Still, sometimes smart flashes get... Read more

Recovering Photos From Faulty Flash Media

How to prevent data loss, and what to do when a CF or SD card is corrupt

After recently donating my time—on a Saturday morning, no less—to shoot photos for a worthy charity, I returned to my office to download the 600-plus images I’d just shot. I stuck the CF card into my reader, but nothing happened. I ejected the card, tried again and still nothing. After a reboot of my system with the same result, I decided to check... Read more

Macro Photography for Spring Flowers

Tips for making the most of new blooms and warm weather

This time of year presents a wonderful photographic opportunity: longer days and warmer weather, as well as the emergence of spring flowers that bloom full of color and interest. One of my favorite ways to photograph spring flowers is with a macro lens. So here are a handful of tips for photographers who want to try their hand at macro photography of... Read more

Paint Your Own Custom Portrait Background

The big-time pros use hand painted backgrounds, now the rest of us can too

There are several prominent commercial portrait photographers who I’ve noticed rely on an advantage over the rest of us: they have beautiful, custom-painted portrait backgrounds. Sure, there are plenty of background options from a number of resellers, and at a variety of affordable price points. But as is so often the case, you get what you pay for.... Read more
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