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How To Use Auto ISO

For the longest time I considered my camera’s auto ISO feature something only amateur photographers used

For the longest time I considered my camera’s auto ISO feature something only amateur photographers used. It was for people who didn’t fully understand the intricacies of light sensitivity and exposure adjustments, I told myself. True, I’d long used aperture priority and shutter priority automatic exposure modes when a situation called... Read more

One-light Portrait Lighting

The things you can do with a single light source are simply amazing

The things you can do with a single light source are simply amazing. If ever you doubt this, walk outside and take a look at the sun. Don’t stare at it, mind you, but consider the variety of beautiful lighting scenarios created by that single source up in the sky. It can act a specular source on sunny days, a giant softbox on cloudy ones. It can... Read more

Fixing Bad Light

We’re all faced with bad ambient light from time to time.

We’re all faced with bad ambient light from time to time. Sometimes it’s too flat, or too dark, or just too plain boring. Well, here’s a look at a few types of bad light and what you can do to fix them. Midday Sun A professional photographer with a beautiful portfolio once told me that the secret to his success was simply that he refused... Read more
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How To Make An Animated GIF

Animated GIFs are experiencing a bit of resurgence of late

Animated GIFs are experiencing a bit of resurgence of late. It seems like they’re most often used to make goofy Internet memes out of scenes from movies and TV shows, but animated GIFs can actually be another useful storytelling tool for photographers. Animated GIFs live somewhere between stills and video, and when used creatively they can be... Read more

Lighting Ratios In The Digital Era

A lighting ratio is the difference between the brightness of the main light and the fill.

A lighting ratio is the difference between the brightness of the main light and the fill. Ultimately it’s a measure of the contrast within a scene, between highlight and shadow. A stronger ratio is higher contrast, while a lower ratio represents flatter illumination. Lighting ratios were especially important in the days of film, because the... Read more

More Artful Architectural Photos

When I land a particularly challenging photo assignment, I turn to my friends for their insights and advice

When I land a particularly challenging photo assignment, I turn to my friends for their insights and advice. When the assignment involves architecture, the first person I turn to is my good friend, the talented architectural photographer Elon Schoenholz. He creates subtle, sublime photographs with a beautifully simple approach, using little more than... Read more

Aperture Basics

Apertures, irises and f-stops. What do they all have in common?

Apertures, irises and f-stops. What do they all have in common? For starters, they’re all terms for the same thing—the size of the opening inside a lens that determines the amount of light that is able to pass through during a given exposure. As shutter speed dictates time, the aperture dictates amount. Since apertures can be a bit tricky... Read more

The Photo Studio Safety Primer

There are a lot of ways to get hurt in photography

There are a lot of ways to get hurt in photography. You could sprain an ankle on a pre-dawn hike to a landscape location, or drop a lens on your toe while making a family portrait in your own backyard. But nowhere is it more dangerous to be a photographer than in the studio—or really anyplace that photographer might be working with studio components... Read more

Using Picture Styles For Photo And Video

I’ve been a RAW shooter for several years now, so I’ve never paid much attention to my camera’s available picture styles

I’ve been a RAW shooter for several years now, so I’ve never paid much attention to my camera’s available picture styles. You see, picture styles (or “picture controls,” as Nikon calls them) don’t apply to RAW image files. They’re for folks who shoot JPEGs, TIFFs or video files. But if you shoot these non-RAW... Read more

Assignment Breakdown: Full-Length Portraits

I recently accepted an assignment that involved three long days of portrait shooting

I recently accepted an assignment that involved three long days of portrait shooting. What the client wanted was fairly simple and straightforward: full length portraits on a bright white background. It was simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Many photographers struggle with creating a bright white background for portraits, because... Read more

Tips for Macro Lighting

Warm weather is here. It’s the perfect opportunity to get out and make beautiful pictures of the littlest things in this world

Warm weather is here. It’s the perfect opportunity to get out and make beautiful pictures of the littlest things in this world—like flowers and insects and other tiny items you might find around the house. Whatever you may be photographing with your macro lens, here’s how to light with everything from ambient only to reflectors, diffusers... Read more

Crafting Vignettes: Part 2

Sometimes, no matter how deliberately you shape the light in a scene, you’ll still want to aid the viewer in getting immediately to the center of interest.

Sometimes, no matter how deliberately you shape the light in a scene, you’ll still want to aid the viewer in getting immediately to the center of interest. For that, a little post-production wizardry is perfect for adding and enhancing vignettes. These vignette adjustments can also be applied on a scale that would make them impractical or impossible... Read more
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