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Review of the Nikon D500 for Wildlife and Bird Photography

Sun, 06/30/2019 - 10:00

The post Review of the Nikon D500 for Wildlife and Bird Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Shreyas Yadav.

Roller with Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500 f/5.6

Fast action is at the heart of Wildlife photography. Wildlife action is fast and unpredictable. Most of the wildlife, including predators, are active during early dawn and late dusk. During the edge of the day, light conditions are low. Having a range of focal lengths is essential to photograph distant wildlife shots.  The weather conditions are harsh in the wild. Moreover, wildlife photographers try to find a camera which is capable of capturing stunning images in every possible situation in the wild.

Nikon crafted a flagship DX-format DSLR camera – the Nikon D500, with excellent high ISO performance, a faster frame rate, and a fast and accurate focus – even in low light.

What it is?

Nikon D500 with the Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 lens mounted on Gitzo Tripod

The Nikon D500 camera body weighs around 870g (30 oz) including battery and XD card. It is a crop sensor (DX format) DSLR with a 20.9 MP CMOS sensor. The ISO range is from ISO 100 to ISO 51200. This ISO range is useful in getting better image quality even in low light. In addition to high ISO performance,  frame rate and autofocus performance of the Nikon D500 is excellent. Frames per second for Nikon D500 is whooping 10 FPS. The autofocus is fast and accurate in low light as well. Nikon D500 is fully capable of focussing up to f/8 with center focusing points. These key features make the Nikon D500 excellent for Wildlife and Bird photography.

This article is a field-review of Nikon D500 from the perspective of Wildlife Photographer. This review will help you in understanding how the Nikon D500 performs in the field.

Note: All the wildlife and bird images are photographed in the natural forest with uncontrolled light conditions and within their natural habitat.

Images are captured with the Nikon D500 and the Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 lens with a bean bag. Images are captured either from a safari jeep or from a safari boat.

  • Sensor and processor – DX format (23.5 mm x 15.7 mm) CMOS sensor with EXPEED 5 processor
  • ISO – ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (ISO Expandable from range ISO 50 to ISO 1640000)
  • AF Modes – Single Servo (AF-S), Continuous Servo (AF-C), Manual and Full-time Servo in Live View
  • AF Area Modes – Single Point AF, Group Area AD, 3D Tracking, Dynamic-area AF with 25, 72 and 153 points, Auto Area AF
  • Power – EN-EL 15 Lithium Ion Battery with MH-25a charger
  • Storage cards – SD, SDHC, SDXC, and XQD cards. One slot for SD card and another slot for XQD card
  • Dimensions and weight – Approximate weight of the body including Battery and card is 870 g (30 oz) and dimensions are (Width x Height X Depth) 5.8 in (147 mm)  x 4.6 in (115 mm) x 3.2 in (81 mm)
  • Frame rate  (FPS: Frames per second) – 10 FPS in Continuous High Mode and for Continuous Low mode FPS Selectable from 2 to 9 FPS
  • Shutter release modes – Single, Continuous Low (2-9 FPS)  and Continuous High (10 FPS), Mirror Up, Self Timer and Quiet release
  • Shutter speed range – Slowest shutter speed is 30 s, and Fastest shutter speed is 1/8000 s
  • Metering modes – Spot metering, Center-weighted metering, and  Matrix metering
  • Exposure mode – Manual (M), Aperture Priority (A), Shutter Priority (S) and Programmed Auto (P)
  • White Balance  – Auto, Cloudy, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Fluorescent, Color Temperature (2500 k to 10000 k)
  • Flash – No Built-in Flash and External Flash is required
  • Image format – JPEG (Basic, Normal, Fine), NEF / RAW (12-bit or 14-bit with an option of Lose less compressed, Compressed and Uncompressed)
  • Lens compatibility – Full compatibility with Nikon AF lenses with G, E, D type and  DX-format lenses. Partial compatibility with PC lenses, AI-P, and Non-CPU lenses
Controls and ergonomics

AF-ON is useful in back button autofocussing. The focus area selection button is next to the AF-ON button. The Nikon D500 has a touch screen, and it can tilt up to a certain angle.

Buttons for selection of White Balance, Exposure Mode, Metering and Image Quality.

Shutter release mode dial.

Buttons for Exposure compensation, ISO selection, and movie recording.

Focus mode selection button.


Controls on the camera feel perfect for wildlife photography.

Here is why:

  • Exposure selection mode – This button helps to select the exposure modes – Manual (M), Aperture Priority(A), Shutter Priority(S) and Programmed Auto (P)
  • Frame rate setting – This dial helps to set the Frame rate as Single ( S), Continuous Low ( CL), Continuous High ( CH ), Timer and Mirror lockup
  • ISO and exposure compensation setting – the ISO button allows you to change the ISO quickly
  • Focus point selection dial – The Focus point selection dial helps select focus point
  • Focus mode and Focus area mode selection – This button, along with Primary and secondary dials ( Dials used to change the shutter speed and Aperture), is used to select focus modes as Single, Continuous and Auto. The same button is used to choose focus areas such as Single, 3D, Dynamic with 25,72 and 153 focal points, Group area and Auto-area
  • Metering selection button – You can select Spot, Center of Matrix metering from this button quickly. In Wildlife photography switching between Matrix and Spot metering is often required depending on the light conditions
  • AF- ON button – This is one of the most useful buttons on the Nikon D500 for wildlife photography. If the bird is standing on a tree branch or takes quick flight, the AF-ON button helps to capture the image with accurate focus.
Build quality and weather sealing
  • The Nikon D500 is mostly made up of magnesium alloy, carbon fiber, and plastic
  • The weight and size of the Nikon D500 are suitable for all day shooting and even hand-holding. The size of the D500 is perfect while you travel in the wilderness and it is perfectly sized while hiking and traveling in the safari vehicle.
  • Body toughness of the Nikon D500 is decent but not great as that of Nikon D5. I find the durability of earlier versions, such as Nikon D200, D300 or D700 was better than D500. However, the build quality of Nikon D500 feels slightly better than the Nikon D7100 or the Nikon D7200 but up to the standard of flagship DX body.
  • Protection against dust and water splash is decent enough
  • I have used Nikon D500 in moderately dusty environments and medium drizzle. The camera performs fine. In fact, I clean the camera after a photoshoot in the rain or heavy dust and I recommend you do so too. This type of weather sealing may be sufficient for mild dust and water splashes, but it doesn’t look good enough in extreme weather.
Ergonomics and handling
  • Ergonomically, the Nikon D500 feels just right. Important command dials for wildlife and bird photography are located on the camera body itself. This helps you to change the settings quickly.
  • Hand-holding, the Nikon D500, feels better. One caveat is the video recording button is located a bit oddly. Despite using it multiple times, I still get confused in locating the video recording button. Apart from the video recording button, you will find the buttons and dials are at the right place with the correct size.
Camera performance from the perspective of Nature and Wildlife photographer Autofocus performance

Osprey in flight. Focus performance of the Nikon D500 for Birds in flight is excellent. Exif : 1/800s , f/8 and ISO 450

Bird action happens fast and can be erratic. Wildlife movement is also fast as it occurs at dawn or dusk. The ability of the camera to focus fast and accurate is a must. With the Multi-Cam 20K Autofocus Sensor module, Nikon D500’s autofocus capabilities are excellent. The Nikon D500 focuses accurately (provided you choose the appropriate focus mode and focus area mode).

I use back button autofocus for focusing. There is a dedicated button for back button autofocus, which is AF-ON.

Hare in the clutter. The Nikon D500 precisely acquires focus on the main object even through the forest clutter.

The Nikon D500 focusses extremely well in following conditions:

  • Daylight
  • Cloudy and rainy weather
  • Low light
  • Distant objects
  • In the forest clutter and forest canopy
  • Dusty and snowy weather
  • Birds in flight and animals in action

In terms of autofocus performance, the Nikon D500 is an absolute winner.

Deer crossing the safari track. The camera’s focus performance for distant objects is excellent. This deer was crossing the Safari road. The distance between the deer and our vehicle was around 100 meters

Image quality – Colors, details and dynamic range

Colors of the peacock. Color rendition and image quality of the Nikon D500 is great. Exif: 1/100s, f/5.6 and ISO 720

Colors, tonal range, and dynamic range of the Nikon D500 images is excellent. Metering of the Nikon D500 is fantastic. It evaluates and produces correct image exposure.

Stare of an eagle. The Nikon D500 captures the details perfectly. Exif: 1/400s, f/5.6 an ISO 500

For most of my wildlife images, I use Matrix metering. For some tricky light situations, such as harsh lights or shadows, and if the animal is dark or bright, I switch to Spot metering mode. Matrix metering will give you excellent light exposure.

Jungle fowl calling. Feather details are excellent. Exif: 1/250s, f/5.6 and ISO 450

The elephant in its kingdom. Colors and details of the elephant are accurate. Exif: 1/1000s, f/5.6 and ISO 2200

The dynamic range of the Nikon D500 is improved as compared to earlier versions of the DX format Nikon cameras. If the light is sufficient, I set the exposure compensation to +0.3 or +0.7. Exposure compensation shifts the histogram towards the right. It helps in bringing out the details and enhancing the colors in an image.

The Dynamic Range of the Nikon D500 is wide. The camera was able to capture the eyes and feathers in the shadow. Equally, the Nikon D500 captured the highlighted crest on the head perfectly.

High ISO and low light performance

Image quality and ISO performance in low light are much improved in the Nikon D500. The camera ISO has a range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200. In controlled light conditions or lab test, the Nikon D500 Images may look less noisy. However, when you are shooting with the Nikon D500 in the real jungle and natural light conditions, you have to be realistic when you select your ISO.

Peacock at ISO 1600

I use a maximum ISO up to 6400 in most cases, and for some rare wildlife moments, I go up to ISO 12800. In the forest, especially during the early morning or late evening, an ISO of up to 6400 helps.  With ISO 6400, I can get a sharp image with excellent dynamic range. The colors are also good. These images are perfectly usable for big prints and web-sized images.

Bond of Nature. Family portrait at ISO 4000

Whereas, if you go ridiculously high on ISO such as ISO 51200, you will still get an image, but you will have to apply Noise reduction in post-processing. Also, the image loses the fine details. If you are going to print the image, select the reasonable high ISO at the available light conditions.

Bottom line

The Nikon D500 has improved high ISO and low light performance. Up to maximum ISO 6400, images are great. The sharpness and colors are fantastic and noise levels are low and manageable in post-processing.

Sambar deer at ISO 6400. It was almost dark in the forest. Luminance noise is visible in the image.

Mongoose at ISO 6400. It was almost dark in the forest.

White balance

Fish eagle on the perch. Auto White balance for the Nikon D500 produces color temperatures and tint accurately.

The auto white balance of the Nikon D500 is accurate. The camera produces white balance without any shift in color or tint. All the color temperatures look right.

Other than Auto White balance, there are different white balances available such as Daylight and Shade. All produce good results.

For wildlife and bird photography, I recommend you choose Auto White Balance. It will help to reproduce the correct white balance for your images. If you want to add creative effects, you can always tune the raw image in post-processing.

Bonus: My D500 camera settings for wildlife and bird photography
  • Image Quality: RAW
  • NEF (RAW) Recording: NEF RAW Compression: Loose-less compressed and Bit Depth: 14-Bit Depth
  • Color space: Adobe RGB
  • Picture Control: Standard (SD)
  • ISO: Auto ISO with Maximum ISO as 6400 (It will depend on the lighting conditions, but I find 6400 is the right balance for image quality and low noise)
  • Autofocus mode: AF-C (Continuous)
  • Autofocus Area mode: Dynamic (25 points) or Group area focus
  • Exposure mode: Manual (Shutter speed and Aperture will be set based on the available light in the environment). You can also use Aperture priority as an Exposure Mode.
  • White Balance: Auto
  • Metering: Matrix
  • For autofocus, use Back button autofocus: AF-ON
  • Shutter release mode: Continuous High CH (10 FPS) or Continuous Low CL (6 FPS)
Conclusion and recommendations Pros
  • 10 FPS (Frames Per Second)
  • Fast and accurate focus even in low light
  • Good High ISO Performance
  • Superb image quality and dynamic range
  • Excellent ergonomics
  • Perfect location of camera buttons and dials
  • Autofocus with central autofocus points up to Aperture of f/8
  • No Built-in flash and GPS
  • Location of the video recording button
  • Above average Build quality and weather sealing (Not the best in class)
In summary

The DX sensor, superior autofocus performance, high ISO performance, best in class frames per second (10 FPS), and travel-friendly size makes the Nikon D500 perfect for wildlife and bird photography.

You will love using Nikon D500 in the wild.

What do you think about the Nikon D500 camera? Please do let us know in the comments below!


The post Review of the Nikon D500 for Wildlife and Bird Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Shreyas Yadav.

Is Photography Becoming too Easy?

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 15:00

The post Is Photography Becoming too Easy? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

The autofocus on the Sony A9 is amazing! Set it to eye AF, point in direction of the subject and let it do the rest. It’s almost too easy.

Everyone is a Photographer these days. It has never been easier or cheaper to create good quality photographs. People sincerely believe that the camera is what takes these amazing images. I am sure you have heard this as many times as I have; “You take beautiful photos, you must have a great camera.”

With the technology we see now though, I sometimes wonder, do they have a point?

We now have cameras in mobile phones, that not long ago professional photographers, paying thousands for their cameras would have dreamed of being able to use. Look at the ‘shot on iPhone’ campaign, and look at Instagram daily. People can take amazing photographs, with a couple of clicks and minimal effort.

Has modern technology democratized photography, or does it mean photography has become easy?

Technology continues to make things easier. But that didn’t start with digital!

Technology has always pushed to make things simpler. Be that the TV remote control or the digital camera. The digital camera was simply the technology industry’s answer to the market forces. Consumers wanted a camera that could take endless photographs. Businesses, noting this need, used the emerging technology to answer their customer cries. Thus, creating digital cameras and changing the face of photography forever.

Let’s get this out of the way early. There was no comparison between shooting digital and shooting film. After the first generations with their inevitable teething problems and huge price tag,  photography became incredibly easy with digital. Instant feedback told you whether you had the shot or not. You were not limited by 24 or 36 exposures (or less if you shot medium format). Lastly, after the initial outlay, photography became much cheaper as there were simply no processing bills.

Depending on whom you ask, the digital evolution is either the moment someone got into photography or the beginning of the decline. However, let’s think back a little. If you had shot wet plates, imagine how easy those punks using 35mm film had it.

Imagine when autofocus cameras meant you no longer needed the skill of manual focus? Well, that is just ridiculous! Imagine a flash that didn’t need the incredibly dangerous use of flash powder for goodness sakes. The ability to refocus after the photo is in its infancy, but I can see it being a mainstay of every camera in less than ten years.

Technology helps make life better for humans. The most common way to make things better is often making things easier. In the modern world, we adapt quickly and then quickly rely on the new tech we use. It becomes part of our lives and frees up vital brain space. Every photography innovation, from the first camera onwards, has been about making it easier to preserve a moment in time.

Remember when we only had 18 megapixels, or 12, or six! How did we manage with only nine autofocus points rather than focus points over the entire sensor? Focus points that you don’t really need to use because the camera finds the eyes of humans (or animals), locks on, and all you need to do is decide which eye you want in focus.

I mean imagine how photojournalists in the ’80s would react to a modern digital camera? Moving even further back, imagine telling painters in the 1500s that one day there would be a box that captured the image of the person in minute detail and all you needed to do was to allow light into a box?

I remember the first 0.5MP digital camera I ever used. It was like magic. You could see the photograph instantly, and you never needed to pay for the processing. I was hooked instantly. Even though I had a crappy job, I saved hard for a digital point and shoot and began capturing photos again. I occasionally shot on an SLR camera, but could rarely afford to buy film and process it. I even took a night school class to get access to a darkroom and shot everything in black and white.

The Pentax 3-Megapixel camera I had been saving for months to own, changed my world. The quality wasn’t as good. I had no control over the shutter speed or aperture, but I could take photos. Hundreds of them. All the time. It was life-changing. I had moved more into film making, but this digital camera brought me back. I got hooked again. If it were not for that 0.5 Megapixel camera I got to use in my job, I would probably not even be writing this.

The right place, the right time, but only a phone and no DSLR. Yet I still get an image like this.

Does gear make you a better Photographer?

We are photographers, and we love to lust over gear. The newest this, the better that. Camera companies spend millions trying to persuade us that we need new gear. Will the latest Sony with the mind-blowing eye autofocus really make your photos better? No. Will it make them easier? Undoubtedly, yes.

But, thanks to another wonderful technological invention – the internet – many of us spend more time talking about megapixels than actually using them.

We are as guilty as the influencers who “don’t even use a real camera” because we are the opposite. Instead, we sit pixel peeping the corner sharpness at four million percent and then badmouth how a manufacturer could release such a piece of crap.

A phone camera can take the most breathtaking image, worthy of an art gallery. Conversely, a multi-megapixel medium format camera with the best lens can take a snapshot.

50 years ago this photo was shot on a modified film camera. Gear does not matter as much as you think. Image courtesy of NASA.

Digital makes it easy, but so much harder to stand out

Estimates suggest that over one trillion photographs were taken in 2018 (if you want to see the zeros, one trillion is 1,000,000,000,000). Ninety-five million photos get uploaded to Instagram every day. Add to that the three hundred hours of footage uploaded to YouTube every minute and the number of photographs and videos we are producing is simply staggering. Now whilst you cannot deny that digital made this possible, digital has also made it much harder to stand out.

Camera manufacturers are great at making people believe that they are artists – that everyone has an amazing movie. In the same way that everyone has a great novel, song, or painting inside of them begging to get out. In reality, that isn’t the truth. Photography (to me at least) is art. And art is, for better or worst, elitist.

Some people are not great artists and some are not great songwriters. And many people are not great photographers.

The problem is, with so much poor and average stuff out there, how do you get to see the good stuff? In some cases, you don’t. There are photographers out there, who are taking photographs that are simply some of the best ever taken. However, we will never see them. There are filmmakers out there creating short films that should see them breaking down the doors of Hollywood, but they don’t. Instead, our feeds are filled up with yet more cat memes and average photos we have seen thousands of times before.

We are drowning in content.

It is to the point where photography seems to be a popularity contest, rather than about artistry.

Look at how Canon treated Yvette Roman because she didn’t have 50,000 followers or more on YouTube. Let that sink in. A photographer whose style they loved for a job, who they agreed to hire, was replaced simply due to her lack of numbers. That shows you how companies want to hire photographers who can use their social channels to add to the marketing campaign.

We live in the influencer age, where amazing photographers are turned down for jobs due to not having followers. On the flip side of that, someone who only uses their phone for photography can be given thousands for merely showing that they use a particular piece of gear. They travel the world for free simply because they are popular on Instagram.

This system makes perfect sense when looked at from a marketing perspective. However, these platforms are where most of us spend our time and where we discover new content. Therefore, algorithms now control the amount of photography we get exposed to.

An algorithm doesn’t care about quality; it cares about metrics. The aim is to find popular content and put it out there for more people to find. Does this mean that photography is being reduced to likes? In many ways, yes, but it also shows the power of a story.

My 6-year-old took this photo. Sharp, well exposed and decent color. Not even a DSLR, just a compact.

A camera does not know how to tell a story yet

We live in an age where you can throw your work out for all the world to see. The level of photography has never been higher. I can give my six-year-old a camera, and he can take sharp, well-exposed photos, telling the stories of his lego figures. But a camera, in fact, no technology, can yet create an image that tells a story.

A great photograph always tells a story. It makes us want to know more about the moment. It allows us to create our own story based on what we see in the image and our world view. The story I see in a photograph will be different from yours. In fact, you may hate a photograph I love and vice versa.

This is simply not possible with even the greatest camera. There is no Ai that will pick the perfect moment for you to click the shutter button. Yes, cameras may do 20 frames per second or more, but even then, you cannot continually record every second of the day. You need to find the angle, frame your subject in the way that tells your story and then press the shutter. Really, the technical aspect (no matter how much the camera companies persuade us otherwise) is not where the photograph is made. It is not in the corner sharpness – many great photos are not sharp. It is the story you tell.

The story is what you need to learn. Telling a story is hard. It has always been hard, and technology is nowhere near being able to do it for us.

You make the decisions before you press the shutter. You use the light, the subject, and find the angle. Then you open a box and let in some light for a little bit. It has always been the same. It’s just that technology over the years has made it easier to let the light in the box and get the image sharp if that is important to you.

No matter what the camera, knowing the moment to press the shutter is still a skill that is not computer controlled, yet.

The future

I am sure you all saw it? It finally happened – a couple hired a robot to shoot their wedding! Yes, I know it is just a photo-booth style alternative for now, but it does hint to the future. Are we going to be used to weddings where drones automatically take photographs that are better than a human can capture? Photographs that can then be instantly customized by the bride and groom at the touch of a button (or voice command)? Will this mean that people will become obsolete in many photography fields? Will they only need a device; a robot?

Will my future as a photography business owner involve owning several robots? The ten-year-old version of me prays that this is true.  Alternatively, will people not need to hire anyone? Perhaps photography will be built into their daily devices? Will we become so vain that a device follows us around capturing our daily lives and then picks the best moments via an algorithm to share on social media for us? (Let’s hope not! – Editor)

What do you think? Share your comments with us below.

The post Is Photography Becoming too Easy? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

3 Photo Editing Mistakes to Avoid

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 10:00

The post 3 Photo Editing Mistakes to Avoid appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Lily Sawyer.

If you are a photographer who shoots in RAW, then you know that editing is a must!

Editing is a lot of fun. Personally, I enjoy seeing a blah photo turn into a good one by manipulating the details in the image. It’s almost like magic. However, editing doesn’t come without caveats.

In this article, we’ll look at three basic editing mistakes to avoid. They are easy to do, especially when you are new to editing and are overly enthusiastic about transforming your photo into something magical!

When I was a novice, my photos were over-edited (cringe). I looked at other photographers’ work with awe, and I wanted my photos to look like theirs. I got lured into using actions and using them too heavily for that color-pop, scroll-stopping, jaw-dropping impact a photo can have.

It was awful; as I later discovered. It was when I learned how to distinguish between a good photo edited correctly and a photo decimated by actions or over-editing that my images dramatically improved and my confidence as a photographer grew.

Let’s dive in and look at the three basic editing mistakes to avoid. The photos I used in this article are ordinary snaps, taken without the use of any lighting and on a normal bright morning. You don’t have to set up amazing sessions and shots for an excuse to edit your photos. Even the most ordinary of photos could do with a bit of magic.

1. Not shooting in RAW

The first mistake in editing is not shooting in RAW format. Editing and RAW are best friends. Editing a RAW file is the best combination you can use because RAW is a lossless format. That means it retains all the information in the image for you to play around with during the editing process.

RAW is untouched, unprocessed, and unedited. The raw information in pixels is all collated without any interference from the camera. On the other hand, JPEGS (whether that be fine or basic), is a format which allows the camera to process the raw information and compress it by discarding pixels. It does away with some of this raw information before saving the image to your memory card. As a result, you get a smaller image that has already been edited by your camera.

This means the colors and contrasts are already different from the original information. When you edit a JPEG image, you are further fiddling with the remaining information and processing an already processed image. This is not an ideal starting place, as it’s often difficult not to overedit from this point.

For more detailed articles on RAW vs JPEG, read here.

2. Incorrect white balance

This may sound basic to some of you, but many of you might not have heard of the term white balance. When I first had a DSLR, I shot on portrait mode. I didn’t know how to shoot in Manual and didn’t feel I needed to learn it. I relied on the camera modes until I realized I could not achieve the style and type of images I wanted. Until then, I did not know – let alone understand – what White Balance meant.

To put it simply, white balance is making sure white objects appear white. Many lighting factors can affect the whites in your image. These are called color cast. Color casts happen when whites look like different colors depending on the ambient light. A very common color cast occurrence is from incandescent light which, if the white balance is left unadjusted, will render white objects a yellow color, for example.

There is a thing called color temperature measured in Kelvins which offers a range of numerical values to which you adjust your white balance to get your white balance correct. When shooting outdoors in natural sunlight, for example, the color temperature is usually in the 5500K range. You want your camera’s white balance to match that so your white looks white. Conversely, indoors usually has a warmer color temperature. When there are tungsten lights involved, the Kelvins are around 3500K. You need to match this too to ensure your white looks white.

Sure the camera can do this by itself using Auto White Balance, and it does it really well too. The trouble I find is that it still varies quite a lot even though the variations might be minimal. For me, this proves a problem when editing thousands of images, especially when batch editing. My preference to counteract this is to shoot in Kelvin which gives me a pretty constant white balance, though not an absolute science, that I can tweak when editing.

Read more about demystifying white balance here.

3. Over editing

There are a hundred and one ways you can over-edit your images. I will touch on a few favorites, especially because they are the ones that affect the image the most.

a. Heavy vignette

I love vignettes. I apply vignetting to most of my images and love the way it draws the attention to the middle of the image by way of overall contrast: darker around the edges and lighter in the middle. However, it is so easy to be heavy-handed with it so that your image looks like “a moth to a flame” effect: black spherical shape on the outside and a very bright central area. The key word is subtle.

A good trick of knowing how much vignette to add is to slide the bar across both extremes and then you can see the effect of each stage and decide what looks right.

b. Over and under-saturation

Have you heard of the term “pop” in photography?

Photographers love using it! Add a color pop to make the image pop etc. Often, saturation is not the way to achieve this “pop”! I would advise against fiddling with the saturation slider. Only use it if the photo is so undersaturated that a saturation boost is necessary to make the colors get closer to a natural look.

The danger of using the saturation slider is making the colors look ‘neonesque’! A classic ubiquitous example of this is green grass. NO grass looks neon green yet often we see them in photos. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the saturation slider is the culprit when I come across those images.

It is better to use the vibrance slider if you want to add some life to your color. Here is an article that explains the difference between vibrance and saturation.

Undersaturation is just as bad. This is when you strip the image of color so everything looks deathly pale or rather steely and cold. I have made this mistake before when I was starting out. Avoid it! Better yet, do not even attempt to do it.

c. Extreme contrasts

Contrast is simply the difference between the whites and blacks in the image or, if you like, the light areas and dark areas. Three sliders affect contrast: whites, shadows, and blacks. Move those sliders to see what effect they do to the image.

The best advice I can give is to choose a natural contrast where the blacks are just right, and the whites are not blown or overexposed. Keeping an eye on the histogram helps to ensure you are not clipping blacks and whites and are staying within the proper range of values when it comes to contrast.

So there we are – three easily made editing mistakes. I hope you have learned something from this little article.

Any more valuable tips? Do share in the comments below.


The post 3 Photo Editing Mistakes to Avoid appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Lily Sawyer.

Weekly Photography Challenge – Sport

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 15:00

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Sport appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

This week’s photography challenge topic is SPORT!

Travis Yewell

Go out and capture sporty photos. It can be the kids playing sport, adult sports, animals playing sports, cycling, motorsports and action shots, or even sports related items. They can be color, black and white, moody or bright. You get the picture! Have fun, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Kolleen Gladden

Thomas Schweighofer


Check out some of the articles below that give you tips on this week’s challenge.

Tips for Shooting SPORT

Top 5 Tips for Extreme Sports Photography

Tips for Doing Better Indoor Sports Photography

How to Photograph Agility Events and Other Dog Sports

Tips from the Sports Photography Pros to Help You Get the Money Shots

3 Tips for Taking Better Motorsport Photos

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Weekly Photography Challenge – SPORT

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge.

Share in the dPS Facebook Group

You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.

If you tag your photos on Flickr, Instagram, Twitter or other sites – tag them as #DPSsport to help others find them. Linking back to this page might also help others know what you’re doing so that they can share in the fun.

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Sport appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

Prime Lens Comparison – 24mm vs 35mm vs 50mm vs 85mm vs 135mm

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 10:00

The post Prime Lens Comparison – 24mm vs 35mm vs 50mm vs 85mm vs 135mm appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

In this video, Julia Trotti does a prime lens comparison with portrait photography.

You’ll learn about focal lengths, background-to-foreground separation and compression, and distortion.

Take a look.


In this video, Julia compares the following lenses using her Canon 5D MkIII:

Julia first tests the lenses shooting full body photos with her model, Maralyn, from the same standing position to show how much background compression each lens shows, as well as the bokeh.

Then she does shots where her model fills more of the frame. To do so, she moves closer and further away to get the model in roughly the same position in the frame but showing what happens to the background in each shot.

The Sigma 24mm has the least background to foreground compression (shows more of the background) when doing full body shots.

The 85mm and the 135mm have great compression, and large background to foreground separation, with no distortion. The 135mm has the most background to foreground separation and compression of all these lenses.

Be sure to watch the video to see the photo examples that detail how the background compression is effected by each lens.


You may also find the following helpful:

How to use Focal Length and Background Compression to Enhance Your Photos

5 Important Focal Lengths to Know and the Benefits of Each

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing with Different Focal Lengths

8 Focal Lengths Illustrated


The post Prime Lens Comparison – 24mm vs 35mm vs 50mm vs 85mm vs 135mm appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

How To Use Lightroom Classic With Two Monitors

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 15:00

The post How To Use Lightroom Classic With Two Monitors appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

One of the best ways to enhance your workflow in Lightroom is to use two monitors.

Utilizing two monitors in Lightroom helps you work faster. You can also sort through your images more quickly. You can work with your thumbnails on one screen, and the full-sized image on another.

If you’re a high-volume shooter, such as a wedding photographer, you should seriously consider working with two monitors. You’ll find that it can make your workflow a lot more streamlined and productive.

Your second monitor doesn’t have to be as big or as high quality as your primary one. In fact, you can even connect a laptop to your monitor.

A two monitor set-up is great to have if you shoot tethered or travel with a laptop.

Alternatively, you can have two stand-alone monitors, depending on what kind of operating system you have, or a computer with a built in monitor, like an iMac.

For example, in my own workflow, I use a 27-inch iMac and a separate monitor in a similar size.

How to set up two monitors in Lightroom

To set up a two-monitor display, you first need to connect your second monitor and then get Lightroom to recognize the secondary display.

To do this, go to Window -> Secondary Display -> Show.

Then go to the monitor icons on the left side of the Filmstrip -> click the monitor icon labeled “2” to activate the secondary display.

The default for the secondary display is Loupe View, but you can change it.

The other options are Grid View, Compare View, Survey View, or People View. Click and hold the monitor icon marked “1” to see these options.

People is where Lightroom identifies faces in images, including new ones you add to your library. That way, you don’t have to assign keywords to tag people in your photos manually.

If you click and hold the icon labeled “1,” you’ll see a similar list of options for your primary monitor.

You can zoom and filter photos in Loupe View.

Loupe View on the second monitor allows you to zoom into the photo by clicking on the image. You can also right-click your mouse and change the color of your workspace background.

Note that Loupe View has three different modes: Normal, Live, and Locked.

  • In Normal, if you click on a thumbnail in Grid View on monitor 1, you’ll see a large version displayed in Loupe View on monitor 2.
  • In Live, the photo displayed in Loupe View changes as you move the cursor over the thumbnails in Grid View.
  • With Locked, the last photo viewed in Loupe View stays on the screen until you select one of the other modes.

To access Normal View, click on a thumbnail in Grid View on monitor 1 to see a large version displayed in Loupe View on monitor 2.

While in Live View, the photo displayed in Loupe View changes as you move the cursor over the thumbnails in Grid View.

In Locked View, the last photo viewed in Loupe View stays on the screen until you select one of the other modes.

Compare View in the secondary window offers the same functionality as the Compare View in the primary window.

Survey in the secondary display offers the same functionality as the Survey view in the primary window.

Options for display with two monitors

You can customize your workspace on two monitors in the following ways:

  • Use the Develop module on your first monitor and enable Loupe View on the second monitor. This will allow you to zoom in on the second monitor to check finer details such as noise, focus, or for chromatic aberration.
  • Set Grid View on the first monitor and Loupe View on the second monitor. You can look at one photo on one screen and thumbnails on the other.
  • Use Grid View on the first monitor and Survey or Compare View on the second monitor. This is recommended when you want to quickly cull images.
  • Alternately, you can have Grid View on your second monitor and Loupe View on the first monitor.

To hide the top or bottom panels in the secondary display, click the grey arrows, the same way you hide panels in Lightroom’s main window. Click them again to unhide them.

The “Full Screen” option in Lightroom is enabled by default. When you click on it, the window on your second monitor is taken out of full-screen mode, giving you a re-sizeable window that can be moved around the screen.

You can swap the displays around in Normal Screen Mode. In this mode, you can drag and drop the window over to the second display, automatically changing their positions.

You can also display the second window as a floating window by clicking the Second Monitor button in the main window and deselecting Full Screen.

To close the second window, –> click the Second Window button, or click it and deselect Show.

To sum up

One last note: be sure that at least the main monitor where you view your final images is calibrated. You want to make sure that the color in your images is technically correct, especially if your images will be printed.

If you have been doing your Lightroom post-processing on one monitor, you’ll find that getting a second monitor will change your editing life.

Do you use two monitors? What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comments below.



The post How To Use Lightroom Classic With Two Monitors appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

Why Hiring an Assistant at Weddings Makes you a Better Photographer

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 10:00

The post Why Hiring an Assistant at Weddings Makes you a Better Photographer appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

It’s no mistake that many wedding photographers have assistants and even second shooters at weddings. The reason being is that photographing a wedding longer than 5 hours on your own can be very challenging, especially since there are many important wedding details and moments that need extra coverage.

Hiring an assistant means you have help carrying your gear and keeping distractions at bay so you can photograph the important moments smoothly.

What is an assistant?

A photography assistant is not to be confused with a second shooter. While sometimes used interchangeably, the two terms are actually different, and it’s really important to know the difference.

An assistant is an extra pair of hands available for you during the wedding day.

They may be in charge of carrying the equipment, helping with setting up additional cameras and being available for any need that the photography may have during the wedding day.

Assistants can help gather details during a wedding day and help with styling as well.

Many assistants are aspiring wedding photographers or seasoned wedding photographers. It can vary in the level of experience. This is something that you should look into while interviewing or hiring an assistant.

Assistants can also help with styling certain shots like the wedding rings, or help to gather flowers. They can also help with posing families during that portion of the wedding day.

Assistants also offer a second point of view. They offer ideas to get better shots or additional photos that perhaps you had not thought of previously. They are also helpful when you need an opinion and also someone to talk to as weddings can run up to 12 hours or more depending on how much you are covering.

What is a second shooter?

A second shooter is a second photographer. Usually, the second photographer is solely responsible for taking photos of the event alongside you, the main photographer.

A second photographer can get those in-between candid moments that happen when the main photographer is busy photographing something else.

The second shooter helps to get a different angle of the same setup. Or perhaps they can be trusted to photograph a portion of the day alone while you cover another. For example, if you’re photographing the bride and her bridesmaids, the second photographer may cover the groom and his groomsmen.

Also, if you’re photographing the bride and groom together, the second photographer can shoot from a completely different angle. This gives the final images more variety of the same moments throughout the wedding day.

Having a second photographer can get images from a different angle.

Sometimes the assistant can also be a second photographer during certain parts of the day but perhaps not the whole day. For example, you can hire a second photographer and an assistant so that the two jobs don’t overlap during the day. That way, you have both a second pair of photos taken while having someone help carry your equipment and to help you set up.

Be clear about expectations

This brings me to this very important point; be clear about expectations when you’re looking to hire an assistant. Make sure that you outline what their responsibilities are.

An assistant can help carry gear when the terrain is less than ideal for your gear to be in. Like a sandy beach near the ocean.

Perhaps you’re only looking for an assistant? In that case, be sure to outline that their responsibilities will not include photographing the event at all. They will only be there to help with setting up, carrying equipment, and helping the main photographer during the event.

If you’re looking for a combination of the two, outline that from the beginning. Make sure to advise them to bring useful equipment if you will have them use their own. Also, specify which parts of the event they will be covering. Perhaps you need them to be an assistant during most of the day but will need them to be a second photographer during the ceremony only.

Be clear about what your assistant should help you with. For example, posing the family or helping to fluff out the wedding dress.

Also, be aware that it is very difficult to be a second photographer and an assistant simultaneously. You will need to be very clear about what you need from the person helping you at the event.

Be a team player

All photographers work and handle their businesses differently. However, when you are photographing a wedding, it’s best to make it clear that you and your assistant are a team. You are both there to work at the wedding together.

This creates an openness for the assistant to help with styling, and to offer their opinion or aesthetic input. This can be really helpful during the wedding day. Working together rather than bossing or ordering the assistant around can be really helpful since the assistant will feel included and part of a team.

Keep in mind the level of experience the assistant may have, which can also help you immensely during the event. Most seasoned wedding photographers have, at some point, been second photographers or assistants themselves. They are eager and accommodating on wedding days. If they are seasoned pros and are helping you out, consider their input.

When you are hiring someone who is just getting started, it’s important to talk with them before starting the photography. State your expectations, where gear is in your bag, how you approach the wedding day, and what you’ll need from them.

Some assistants are barely getting their feet wet and may need extra coaching. If this is the case, approach them with the mindset of being a team. They will work harder for you and be more willing to anticipate your needs.

Assistant contract

It is very important to have a contract drafted for the assistant position. Too often does it happen when images get published, used, sold, or otherwise from assistants who weren’t the main photographer.

A contract can outline image delivery expectations if they helped photograph a portion of the event, and what their pay is to be.

The contract can help you set boundaries, and outline their responsibilities, as well as set the pay for the event. Don’t skip on this tip! All too often we hear horror stories of assistants that never returned the equipment, didn’t deliver images and got paid what was due!

Having a contract is good to have for all parties involved.


Even though you can hire someone who is just getting started in the wedding photography business, this doesn’t mean that you can pay them less than you would expect to be paid if you were assisting.

They give you a pair of extra hands and help you for hours carrying most of your equipment, so pay them accordingly. Some more seasoned wedding photographers may have a going rate. However, it’s good to research your area for the going rate, either hourly or a set rate for the entire event.

Take into consideration the following:
  • The amount of time they will be hired to assist
  • Will they also be using their photography skills to photograph certain parts of the event?
  • Will they be using their own equipment or your own? If they are using their own equipment, then factor that into the payment.
  • How much will they be carrying in equipment?
  • Milage, gas, or extra costs

If the assistant will be there with you during the dinner portion of the event, make sure you let the bride and groom know. That way, they will know you have an assistant also eating at the wedding, even if it’s a vendor meal. If they aren’t going to stay for dinner, make sure you state what meals you’ll be covering or if you will be paying for their meal at all.

An assistant can help make a first look go smoothly by helping with positioning the bride and making sure to be available to switch lenses, cards, batteries, etc.

It’s also really important to state how the assistant will be getting paid. Will they be paid by bank transfer, deposit, invoicing, or any other method? That way they know when and how they will be getting paid for assisting at the event.

Having an assistant makes you a better photographer

The reason to have an assistant at a wedding is that it ultimately makes you a better photographer. It frees you up from carrying your equipment so that you can focus on taking important photos rather than checking to see if your camera bag is within reach.

Assistants can help with lighting, adjusting extra cameras, or even helping style the bride’s veil during the portraits. Having an extra pair of hands makes it easier for you to focus on getting the shot without having to do it all on your own.

Also, having someone there to help with making sure that the wedding photography goes smoothly and quickly will help you to focus on what really matters – getting the shot.

Moreover, having someone to talk to during the long wedding day can help you stay focused and in the present moment.

In Conclusion

Hiring an assistant during a wedding event can help you be free to really focus on photographing each and every special moment of a wedding day.

They can help by carrying your equipment, be a teammate and help with lighting or offer ideas. An assistant can be an extra pair of hands and eyes during the day too.

Have you hired an assistant before? If so, what additional tips would you include?


The post Why Hiring an Assistant at Weddings Makes you a Better Photographer appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

5 Tips for Better Travel Photography

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 15:00

The post 5 Tips for Better Travel Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jeremy Flint.

Travelling with you camera is one of the highlights of embarking on any trip at home or abroad. Whether you enjoy visiting interesting places, soaking up the sunshine or embarking on adventurous activities, here are some tips for better travel photography.

1. Do your research

Provence, France © Jeremy Flint

One of the most fundamental aspects of travel photography is to do your research about the destination you are visiting. Finding out about a location and obtaining information about a place and its attractions will help you to plan your trip. From this information gathering process, you can learn more about your destination. Ask yourself what you most want to see. Spend your time visiting the places that interest you.

2. Decide what to photograph

Provence, France © Jeremy Flint

There are two approaches to consider when deciding what to take pictures of when on location. Firstly, you can come up with a plan for the things you want to photograph. Alternatively, you can be more spontaneous and walk around and photograph anything you see that inspires you. The advantage of the latter is that you can be more creative with no pre-conceived ideas of what you are going to photograph.

3. Manage your expectations 

If you are visiting somewhere for a short period of time, you may not have enough time to cover all of the touristic sights and highlights. Therefore, you will need to decide in advance where you would like to visit and photograph and what your photographic priorities are.

Be realistic with your time. It will be a more enjoyable experience. Don’t try to do so much that you end up exhausted after the trip. You will often find that you won’t have enough time to cover everything on your first visit. I recommend choosing one or two places that you would really like to see and photograph. Just go there in case you end up running out of time. By visiting fewer places, you may do more justice to your photos – particularly if you can stay around to combat frustrations of travel photography such as adverse weather conditions.

Moreover, you can always visit again to cover the areas you miss.

Palawan, The Philippines © Jeremy Flint

On a recent trip to the Philippines, I was pushed for time and decided to base myself in one place where I visited and photographed my surroundings. This made for a much more enjoyable trip. I wasn’t rushing around trying to see everything in one go, and I could take advantage of any favorable weather.

Ultimately managing your expectations depends on your goals, what you want to photograph, and how much time you want to spend at different locations.

4. Embrace the culture

Papua New Guinea © Jeremy Flint

Visiting a new location with your camera should be about more than just taking pictures. When visiting foreign lands, you are bound to come across cultures that are different from those found in your home town and country. To make the most of the place you visit, be open to the culture that is present. Experiencing a culture first-hand is as much a part of the enjoyment and wonder of a new place as it is to photograph its landmarks.

On a recent visit to Romania, I wanted to photograph the country’s attractive landscapes. While there, I was bowled over by the kindness and hospitality of the people. By embracing the local culture, I found the trip to be so much more rewarding.

Be open and flexible. Allow time for cultural experiences to happen.  

5. Enjoy your trip 

Palawan, The Philippines © Jeremy Flint

Whilst taking photos is all part of the fun of documenting your adventures, be sure to have some non-photography time too.

Have you ever been on your travels only to find you feel worn out after the trip from doing too much photography? Well, try not to spend all your time behind the camera taking pictures.

To enjoy your travels more, take time out from photography and enjoy the sights and surroundings without your camera. You will feel more refreshed, and your creativity may be better as a result of it.


Travel photography is one of the most enjoyable aspects of photography, particularly as you have the opportunity to visit places near and far with your camera.

For better results in recording your journey, research your destination in advance. Decide what you would most like to photograph. Be realistic with what you expect to capture, embrace the culture and most importantly enjoy your trip!

Share your travel photos and any other tips for better travel photography in the comments below.


The post 5 Tips for Better Travel Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jeremy Flint.

5 Photography Rules for Capturing Photos Your Audience Will Adore

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 10:00

The post 5 Photography Rules for Capturing Photos Your Audience Will Adore appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

It’s hard to stand out as a photographer.

These days, you have so many photos to compete against; the internet is drowned in smartphone snapshots (with layer upon layer of filters).

So how do you create images that cut through all the noise? How do you create art that will truly stun your audience?

In this article, you’ll discover 5 simple photography rules for capturing photos – which will ensure that your photos are truly special.

Let’s dive right in, starting with…

1. Do everything you can to emphasize your subject

If you want to capture photos that stand out, then this is your number one rule:

Pick a subject. Something that stands out in your photo. Something that acts as an anchor point.

And make that subject stand out as much as you can.

You see, it’s your main subject that actually captivates people. The rest of the scene exists to enhance that main subject.

But how do you enhance your main subject?

Start by making sure that your main subject is extremely sharp. Make sure it’s the sharpest part of the photo, in fact.

And make sure that your main subject has some color. Color draws the eye!

Third, make sure your main subject is bright and well-exposed. A dark subject (especially if it’s surrounded by a dark background) just won’t work. If you do include a dark subject, then make sure that the background is extremely bright.

On a related note, more contrast is nearly always better. If you can incorporate some ultra-dark tones and ultra-light tones in your photos, your photo will instantly improve. Ideally, your background and your main subject will contrast heavily.

Last, keep your background as clean as possible. It doesn’t have to be completely uniform but should be simple and well-organized. When in doubt, go for a monochromatic background, such as black, white, or green.

2. Use complementary colors to make your photos pop

You already know how important it is to include contrast.

But there’s a special kind of contrast that deserves its own mention:

Color contrast.

Color contrast refers to the addition of colors that sit opposite one another on the color wheel (also known as complementary colors).

You’re probably familiar with color contrast, even if you don’t know it. We see complementary color pairs all the time: red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple.

Now, color contrast is perfect for creating stand-out photos. It catches the eye, and it practically forces viewers to look more deeply.

One thing to note, however, is that you shouldn’t use too many contrasting colors. I recommend simply including two complementary colors (and potentially a third non-complementary color). If you incorporate too much contrast, the photo will become too powerful, and the colors will start to clash.

I also recommend you limit the amount of the complementary colors that appear. If you have two complementary colors, include a lot of one color, and a little of the other. This will prevent the photo from overpowering the viewer.

Finding contrasting colors might seem difficult. But with a little effort, you should be able to incorporate a contrasting color pair.

And you’ll love the effect!

3. Use negative space to stun viewers from a distance

Negative space is emptiness in a photo.

By this, I’m referring to empty sky, empty water, or even an empty background – it all counts as negative space.

And negative space is extremely valuable, for a few reasons.

First, it gives the main subject some breathing room.

It also makes compositions feel calm and more stable (which is generally nice to have in a photo).

But the best thing about negative space is that it is a place where the eyes don’t rest – thereby directing the viewer straight to the main subject.

So here’s what I recommend:

When you’re deciding on a composition, incorporate at least some negative space into the photo. If you can, create a lot of empty space – but even a little space will go a long way.

It’s best if the negative space exists around the main subject. That way, attention is immediately directed to the focal point of the photo.

But any negative space is good!

4. Include leading lines to draw in the viewer

I’ve talked a lot about emphasizing the main subject of your photos.

This is because the most striking photos hit the viewer over the head with their subject. They pull the viewer in and direct them through the frame – right to the focal point.

That’s the mark of a powerful photo.

And here’s another great way to emphasize your subject:

Use leading lines. Include them whenever you can.

Leading lines are lines that draw the viewer through the frame. They can be anything vaguely line-like: A river, an outstretched arm, even a flower petal.

Whenever you find a photo-worthy scene, search for leading lines. And incorporate them into your composition. Ideally, the leading line moves toward your subject. But you can also include leading lines that take the viewer around the frame.

Most scenes have some sort of leading line. You just have to look hard enough!

5. Always shoot in the best light you can find

Out of all the rules in this article, I think this one will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Because it’s so easy to shoot in the best light – you just have to know what the best light is.

And once you know this…

Your photos will never be the same. Seriously.

So, what is the best light?

The best light is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset, known as the golden hours.

These are the times when the sun is low in the sky, and casts a golden glow over the landscape. If you shoot during the golden hours, your subject will be bathed in beautiful light. And you’ll absolutely love the images you capture.

Now, there are other times when the light is good, depending on your genre of photography.

If you’re a street photographer, you should try shooting during the middle of the day, when the light is sunny.

If you’re a flower photographer, you should try shooting when the sky is heavily overcast.

If you’re a portrait photographer, you should also try working on overcast days.

But even though these types of light do work…

…the golden hours are perfect, without fail. They’ll always get you something wonderful.

Photography rules for capturing photos your audience will adore: conclusion

Standing out in the crowded field of photography is a difficult task.

But if you apply these simple photography rules, you’ll have a much, much better chance.

So take these rules to heart, get out, and start shooting!

Excitement awaits.

Have any more rules for capturing photos that your viewers will adore? Share them in the comments!


The post 5 Photography Rules for Capturing Photos Your Audience Will Adore appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Once 500PX “Photoshop Master” Now Facing Discipline for “Photomanipulation” from 500PX Moderators

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 18:53

The post Once 500PX “Photoshop Master” Now Facing Discipline for “Photomanipulation” from 500PX Moderators appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Michael Karcz is about to be banned from the 500PX community. His account will likely be deleted. All based on what the 500PX moderators deem to be “non-photographic content” on his page.

Michael Karcz is a well-respected photographer on 500PX. He is known for his fantasy-style images, which involved extensive use of Photoshop to create alternate realities. He has garnered thousands of followers and millions of views.

And in an article published four years back, 500PX heaped praise on Karcz, referring to him as a “Photoshop master” with “formidable Photoshop skills.”

What changed?

On Karcz’s end, nothing. His account has been business-as-usual in recent months. He never attempted to hide the process behind his images. Karcz writes on Facebook: “I marked each work as photo-montage and placed in a category that most closely matches content – fine art.”

Karcz’s gallery on 500PX.

Instead, the reversal is due entirely to 500PX’s new orientation, which rejects anything seen as non-photographic content. And this includes Karcz’s work, which relies heavily on Photoshop.

Here’s the initial message that Karcz received from a 500PX representative:

This email is to notify you that our Moderators have found non-photographic content posted on your account. 500px is a photography community, and we do not currently allow non-photographic content to be uploaded to the site. This includes screenshots, graphic designs, drawings/illustrations, video game screen captures, and other non-photographic content that we deem to be in violation of our Terms of Service. If our Moderators continue to find non-photographic material posted to your account, it may result in your account being banned. Thank you for your cooperation, 500px.

And when Karcz asked for further explanation, this was the reply from 500PX:

Hi there, Unfortunately photomanipulations based on photography is not photography and our website in the current iteration is evolving into a purely photography website. Not only that, our terms of service require you to be the copyright owner of the images you upload so if you’re editing bits and pieces of other peoples imagery then you’re in violation of that. I personally am a fan of your artwork but unfortunately it doesn’t fit within the conditions of our site at the moment.

Karcz is understandably frustrated by this about-face. For years, 500PX was a platform to share his work. And now, without warning, he’s been turned away, despite investing time and energy into building a 500PX following.

Karcz writes: “I never concealed how my work is created, and evidence of hypocrisy is an interview with me in 500px, which was later also found in the Huffington Post. What I use are photographs, and the photomontage is the starting medium.”

He goes on to argue that his photomontage technique has been “used almost from the beginning of photography, by those who wanted to show something more [than] realism.”

What are your thoughts? Should Karcz’s work be allowed on 500PX?

And if not, how should 500PX deal with once-accepted photographers who have been dedicated members of the community?

The post Once 500PX “Photoshop Master” Now Facing Discipline for “Photomanipulation” from 500PX Moderators appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Your Vacation Photography Packing List

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 15:00

The post Your Vacation Photography Packing List appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Bond.

Andrew Neel

It’s summer, and for most people, that means a vacation somewhere nice and sunny! Now, of course, it’s nice to bring those holiday memories back home. That is why people bring nice cameras with them, and perhaps purchase new lenses to get the very best images. You’ve chosen an amazing exotic location, so this is a chance to photograph something that’s not from your regular day. The big question pre-trip is what to pack! Having read this article for your vacation photography, you’ll make the trip knowing you have the right equipment for your needs.

Going alone, or with family?

The group photo, how will you take yours?

Depending on your age and life circumstances, you will either be going alone or with a group. The equipment you bring for either of those situations will be different. If you’re with family, you won’t be able to spend the whole day out photographing somewhere, so the amount of equipment you’ll need is going to be less. This article is going to assume you are traveling with the family since if you’re traveling alone, that’s a different packing list more aimed at a travel photographer. That’s not to say you won’t get great travel photos on your trip. With the right equipment, you’ll hold your own against someone who perhaps has more time.

Landscape and portrait photos?

Landscapes and portraits are the two main areas that every photographer will focus on during a trip. There should be a balance of both of these photos. Then you’ll get a better sense of place from your album.

To get the best results, you’re going to need the following equipment.

This is a broad list which will be referenced when you think about your final packing list. The camera body and cleaning equipment are a given, so here you’ll see the other equipment needed.

  • Landscape – The items you’ll need here will vary depending on the landscape you’re going to photograph. It’s always a good idea to bring a tripod, remote shutter release (Cable or Infra-red), ND1000 filter, CPL filter, UV filter and Graduated ND filters. To capture the scale of the scene you’ll also want a good wide angle lens. The majority of these will be 16mm or 17mm wide on a full frame camera with an aperture of f2.8 or f4. Do you need a longer focal length? Some landscape photos require compression of the background to work, with main subjects too far into the distance. That means that, yes, you do need a longer focal length. A superzoom for travel photography is, therefore, a good option here.
  • Portrait – This isn’t photos of your fellow vacationers, we’ll come to that in a minute. This is about capturing the local life in the place you’re staying. The setup here is simpler. You’ll need a good prime lens. The 50mm f1.8 is a good choice here. Should you want the most striking photos, bringing strobes, radio triggers, and light modifiers will help. However, it’s unlikely you’ll need that for most vacation portraits.

Everyone enjoys seeing a good sunset on their trip abroad.

Vacation photography of friends and family

You’re going to spend the vast majority of your time on this trip with your family. They know you’re the photographer in the family, so the expectations are that you’ll take the family photos. The equipment you’ll need here is dependent on the photography type.

  • Group photo: If you wish to be in the photo yourself you have two options; find someone to take the photo for you, or use a tripod and self-timer. You’ll want a lens with a wide angle for this as well.
  • Posed photos: A good portrait lens like the 50mm will do the job here. They are nice for bokeh background and will work well into the evening when the light begins to fade.
  • Fun moments: The candid captures are best caught using a 50mm lens, or a telephoto lens so you can capture from a distance.
  • Eating together: Eating picnics on the beach, or evening meals at the restaurant? A 50mm lens or your wide angle will work here. Don’t forget to take some photos of the food as well! In the lower evening light, you’ll likely need the 50mm lens. Alternatively, pack a strobe, but be wary of disturbing other diners with your flash. If the situation allows using off-camera flash for food photography, you will really get better results.
  • Famous locations: One of the reasons you’ll have traveled to a place is the famous attractions. Whether it’s the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Taj Mahal – you’ll want the photo. In terms of equipment, you’ll most likely want a wide-angle lens. That’s so you can position both your family and the famous landmark in the same photo. Look to get creative with your photos as well, go beyond the standard group of people standing in front of a famous building.

Candid photos of those you are on holiday with are always nice.

Special events

If you’re lucky, or better still you’ve planned it, a special event may coincide with your trip. This is a great chance to make your vacation photos stand out even more. This is likely to be something like a street carnival like Carnevale in Venice, or a street performance like the Chinese opera. To best capture these type of events during the day, you’ll want a super zoom lens, one that covers the focal range of 28-300mm. If the festival is at night, different lenses will be needed. At night look to bring a fast prime lens, so your 50mm f1.8 will work well.

Getting great portrait photos from your trips abroad will balance out your set of images.

Non-photography equipment

Much of the following are sensible items that you should travel with, whether you’re photographing or not. You may not even have to pack them. In some cases, you’ll be wearing these items.

So bring these items for your vacation photography. The list here could be very long, so items such as clothing, passports, and toiletries, I will assume are packed.

  • Footwear: A special mention for the correct footwear here. In hot countries, a strong pair of hiking sandals are a good investment for walking around towns. Anything more outdoors than this, and consider bringing hiking shoes.
  • Water: Getting good photos will mean a fair bit of walking (if you have the time away from your family that is). You can always schedule your time for the morning and meet your family later. If the country’s hot, bring water bottles and water bladders to keep hydrated while you photograph.
  • Smartphone: A smartphone is useful for many photographic reasons. It can act as a second camera, and there are numerous apps to download for your photography.
  • Weather protection Being prepared for the weather for your vacation photography is a good idea. It could rain, so bring a poncho and weather protection for your camera. You don’t want to burn, so pack the sunscreen, a hat and some sunglasses. If you happen to be going somewhere cold, you’ll need equipment for that as well. Specialized clothes for the cold include a hat, hot packs, and gloves.
  • Money belt: Keep your valuables somewhere it’s difficult for them to be stolen, so using a money belt is wise. Split up your money as well, so keep some on your belt, some in your pocket, and some in your camera bag.

At night you’ll need a fast prime lens, something like a 50mm f1.8.

The final packing list for vacation photography

As you’ll have noted, there is lots of potential for great photography on your vacation. You can’t pack absolutely everything, so here is a suggested packing list to make the best of your vacation photography.

  • Camera bag – This needs to fit all your camera gear into your hand luggage, assuming you’re going to fly somewhere. Never put expensive camera equipment into your checked luggage! The Manfrotto 3N1-35PL is a great bag for this. It’s a large bag so you can probably fit non-camera equipment in this as well.
  • Camera body – An entry-level Canon or Nikon dSLR is ideal. If you want to splurge and carry the extra weight look to a full frame dSLR or the Sony Alpha 3.
  • Lens – Take two lenses with you. A wide angle and a super zoom lens if you’re more into landscapes. Or a 50mm prime and a super zoom lens if you’re more into portraits and street photography. The super zoom should go from 28-300mm.
  • Tripod – This doesn’t need to be too heavy, but it needs to be sturdy. The Sirui T120-5X is all the tripod you’re going to need. Don’t fancy a full tripod? The gorilla pod is a good alternative.
  • Strobe – This is optional, but if you do bring one, look to pack a radio trigger as well so you can use the flash off camera.
  • Filters – Each lens should have a UV filter attached. Look to have a CPL filter, and ND1000 filter, and perhaps an ND4 filter to use with the 50mm prime lens in the midday sun.
  • Storage – Bring a laptop or tablet with you, depending on your way of storing images. A blue-tooth external hard drive is also a great idea.
  • Memory card – Enough for one day worth of photography. If you choose not to bring extra storage devices then enough memory cards for your entire trip.
  • Batteries – Two camera batteries and a charger.
  • Camera cleaning – A blower and cloth to clean your lens and camera when needed.

Try and get some photos of your family eating together.


You’re now all set to nail your vacation photography, with a camera bag that will suit your needs.

Do you agree with everything on this list? Is there anything you’d remove, or anything you’d add to this list?

What camera equipment do you take with you on a trip with your family?

At digital photography school, we’d love to see examples of the photos you’ve taken on your family trips. So please share any thoughts or photos in the comments section of this article.

The post Your Vacation Photography Packing List appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Bond.

Understanding the Basics of Color

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:00

The post Understanding the Basics of Color appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Herb Paynter.

You will never realize your full potential as a photographer…until you understand the basic elements of color and luminosity (tonality). I know this sounds scary, a bit geeky and just plain over-the-top – but hear me out.

Color photography is built on the structure of B/W photography.

How is it that some photographers seem to consistently produce great pictures?

Most likely because they understand how to control the primary element in photography – light! You can certainly take great pictures without knowing color theory, and you can get good results by learning to operate your camera, but if you wish to consistently produce powerful and visually-moving images, you’ll need to get a handle on the basic issues of color and light. Capturing light, like capturing anything else in the wild, requires an understanding of habits and behavior.

Pictures versus photographs

There is a difference between documenting an occurrence (shooting a picture) and capturing the emotion of a scene (taking a photograph). Shooting a picture requires little more than pushing a button on a camera, but taking a photograph involves a working knowledge of how light behaves and how illumination builds emotion.

Your camera doesn’t take pictures; it merely captures light. You, the photographer, take the pictures.

There are a variety of unique psychological emotions that can be triggered in the viewer’s mind by learning to master how to use light correctly. The issues of color, light intensity, angle of view, depth of field, internal contrast, highlight, shadow, and mid-tone placement all empower photographers to control emotions and portray stories with great impact. This is why one good picture can be more powerful than a thousand words.

The contrasting colors of green and magenta are opposed on the color wheel, which is why this image delivers subliminal psychological impact.

The color wheel is the most elementary form of color science and demonstrates the basis for all color correction. When a photograph displays a color cast, that cast can be removed by adding an additional amount of the color located directly across the color wheel. The additive primary colors that our eyes and cameras see are all based on red, green, and blue (RGB) light. The three colors directly opposite these RGB colors on the wheel are called subtractive primaries and form the basis for all printed pictures. These colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow (CMY).

In today’s world, we are so immersed in saturated colors that we sometimes forget the important part that light plays in the process. Dull color is not colorful at all. Color without the proper balance of light has no life…it just lays there on the page.

There are three basic components of color – hue, saturation, and brightness (HSB). The brightness element is the life and sparkle element of good color. In essence, good color is all about the quality of the light. Poorly lit subjects don’t hold the viewer’s interest. This doesn’t mean that all pictures must be bright and cheery, but all pictures must be purposely illuminated to deliver the desired reaction.

Moods are set by shaping light

It’s hard to convey good color in poor or insufficient light. Low-key lighting is ideal for creating somber moods just as high-key lighting tends to convey positive and uplifting thoughts. Learn to capture scenes that deliver a specific emotional message. Make it a point to walk around your subject and observe the light striking it from different angles, especially when shooting nature.

The warmth of the orange skies delivers the beauty, calm, and warm stillness of the ocean at the close of the day.

Make it your purpose to set the tenor (or meaning) with each photo, not to simply take a pretty picture. Look at each scene for a theme or message that will address or elicit a human response.

Colors appeal to each of us not only because they are pretty or because they blend, but because each color has a subtle psychological overtone that affects how we perceive the scene. Bright, cheery colors convey lighthearted and positive thoughts, while darker hues can evoke melancholy and even sad thoughts. “Shooting” is a process that involves aiming a weapon at a target while creating a photograph involves conveying a thought and expressing a purpose. Every time you pick up your camera, you have a choice; you can either document an event or convey an emotion.

Chrominance and Luminance

Color is an emotional impression that is comprised of both chrominance (hue and saturation) and luminance. It is luminance that provides the structure to a photograph. Together, chrominance and luminance deliver the full emotional message.

The two elemental building blocks of color photography involve the hue, or color value and the saturation, or purity of that color. These two aspects are the chrominance portion of an image. The third building block of a photographic image is luminance, or tonality, which is perhaps the most critical aspect of all. This is because it is the very structural framework on which the colors (chroma) are built. Hue and saturation offer no form whatsoever. Only luminance provides the framework or form to a photograph. Balancing these three aspects of HSL (hue, saturation, and luminance) is absolutely essential to achieving success in color photography.

The Visible Spectrum

All color is light energy and white is the combined result of all other colors in the visible spectrum.

The visible spectrum is the color portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that human eyes can see. It is visual energy. The light receivers in our eyes (rods and cones) can only observe a limited subset of this energy. These same lightwaves are captured by your digital camera’s image sensor. The colors of the visible spectrum cascade in a particular order, and for a logical reason. ROYGBIV is the acronym given to this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. All visible colors of light are perceptible because they travel through space at unique frequencies. All colors are basically vibrations or wavelengths of energy; the only energy visible with human eyesight. The highest (or fastest) frequencies of these colors are “observed” as warm colors while the lowest (or slowest) wavelengths are cool colors. These colors are in this order because of the decreasing frequency of the light waves they represent.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum includes both ultraviolet and infrared frequencies, which are technically not colors simply because they are not visible to the human eye. Each individual color in the visible spectrum is energy that oscillates at a specific frequency. The eye receives these frequencies, and the visual cortex in the brain interprets each as a particular color.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum is the known span of energy that exists in the world as we know it. It includes all energy measurements on both sides of the visible spectrum. These same colors appear in every rainbow and refracted white light. Occasionally you’ll see a beveled glass edge in a window or table that catches a strong beam of white light, reflecting it onto another flat surface. That beveled glass acts as a prism that splits the white light into its component parts; always in the same order of ROYGBIV. When all these component colors are viewed at full strength, you see pure white light. As you must realize, all color is just individual expressions of white light. Without color, there is no light, and without light, there is no color. All colors have their origin in pure white light.

Hue is the Color of Color. It is what differs red from green or blue.

Red is the bookend on one end of the visible spectrum just inside the infrared frequency. Violet is the other, located just inside the ultraviolet frequency. Both infrared and ultraviolet are frequencies just beyond and outside the visible portion of the energy spectrum. Both of these wavelengths can be read by instruments but are beyond the scope of the human eye.

Saturation is the strength of color expressed as a range between pure color and no color. The opposite of saturated is colorless or gray.

The warmer side of the spectrum (reds, oranges, and yellows) contains the longest wavelengths in the spectrum and present a particular challenge to photography when the balance between saturation and luminance is not carefully monitored.

Warm colors are easy to oversaturate, and when oversaturated, the luminance values are seriously challenged.

This is a critical issue because it is the luminance aspect that delivers the detail in a photo. The cooler colors (blue, indigo {purplish}, and violet {toward magenta}), are much easier to control in both saturation and tonality. These shorter wavelength “denser” colors can handle the rigors of color editing more robustly than the warmer colors.

Luminance is expressed as brightness, ranging from dark to light.

Color balance

When you think of color balance, you must get beyond the elementary issue of white/gray balance; the neutralizing of colors to eliminate any tints or color shifts.

Color balance embraces a much wider issue that is largely governed by tonality or luminance. Balancing color is as easy as using the eyedropper tool in editing software to identify neutral gray. Tonality shapes the entire framework of the photo and clarifies detail throughout the entire range between highlights and shadows. It is quite possible to produce a technically-correct, temperature-balanced picture that loses detail in the shadow areas and softens the snap in the highlights. Tonality and chroma are equally critical in the accurate reproduction of color photos.

Color pictures are a combination of form, color, and luminance. Digital color images rely on all three of these elements to deliver the illusion of what we call photography.


A clear understanding of the basics of color will open up a world of expression for you. Yeah, color science is a little geeky, but it certainly delivers results.

If you want to show your uniqueness as a photographer, invest a little time with color science. Anybody with a camera can publish their pictures across the planet in an instant, but if you want your pictures (and your reputation) to outlast your friends and likes on Facebook…grow your knowledge of color as much as you grow your camera and editing skills!

The post Understanding the Basics of Color appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Herb Paynter.

6 Important Compositional Elements to Consider When Shooting Landscapes

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 15:00

The post 6 Important Compositional Elements to Consider When Shooting Landscapes appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jeremy Flint.

There are many pleasures associated with photographing landscapes; from being in the great outdoors, to breathing in the fresh air and taking in the attractive views whilst capturing nature’s beauty all around you.

Taking good landscape photos is more challenging than you may think. People often tell me when they return home from capturing landscapes that they are often disappointed with their results. Part of this may be due to the subject, the weather, the photographer, or most likely the composition. To help you improve your composition, here are 6 fundamental elements worth considering when you next venture out with your camera to shoot landscapes.

1. Diagonal lines

Firstly, it is worth considering the term ‘composition’. Composition refers to “the nature of something’s ingredients or constituents” such as the formation and contents that make-up an image. When it comes to photography, there are many theories and factors that constitute what makes a good composition. One major component worth acknowledging is diagonal lines.

© Jeremy Flint

Diagonal lines can be a useful tool to use in your images. Carefully consider how you might use diagonal lines in your images. One proven way is to lead a viewer’s eye through the frame along a diagonal. These can go from left to right or right to left. They can be slightly horizontal or vertical and can be individual or repeated throughout the image. Leading diagonal lines can be a great way to naturally point towards an interesting part of your landscape, such as rows of flowers navigating towards a tree or a building.

2. Geometric shapes

© Jeremy Flint

When it comes to shapes and patterns, there are no hard and fast rules as to what works well together. Whilst seeing the landscape as a whole, be conscious of what geometric shapes you want to include in the frame. You may look for shapes that complement each other or that are opposite to one another. Consider their relationship and how they may be used together to bring balance to the image.

3. The rule of thirds

© Jeremy Flint

Have you ever produced pictures of landscapes that you were not pleased with and wondered why this could be? Well, one reason could be to do with the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is an essential technique that can be applied to improve the composition and harmony of your landscape images. In essence, it involves dividing your image by thirds using 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines. The idea is that you then place the important elements of your scene along those lines or at the point where they intersect.

In your landscape shots, try placing the horizon on the lower third and top third of the image and see which makes a more pleasing composition. You can also include an interesting object such as a tree where the lines meet. This gives a natural focal point for the scene.

Rule of Thirds Grid

4. Framing images

© Jeremy Flint

How you frame your images of nature can make the difference between a good and a great photograph. When framing your shots, create a visually effective image that communicates with the viewer in the way you envisaged. Overhanging leaves or branches can be used to form a natural frame to shape your picture. This helps to emphasize the subject and mask unwanted elements in the scene.

5. Foreground elements

Foreground elements can add more dynamism to your landscape images. Placing features in the foreground can give a sense of receding distance. For example, a rock, flowers, or snow are individual components that can be used to provide scale. Find an interesting subject to show in the lower part of your frame and see how this changes the composition of your landscape images.

6. Break the rules

© Jeremy Flint

Don’t feel you have to stick to the rules of composition outlined above. As with all rules, they don’t always give the best result and you can break them. Sometimes positioning the horizon along the center of the frame can produce a much more eye-catching photo. In addition, you can even place your main subject in the center of your frame. Don’t be afraid to try out different compositions and experiment to see which looks best.


While you can break the rules, it is worth learning the rules of composition effectively before you try to break them. They were introduced to benefit your photos in the first place, so remember to put them to good use. Diagonal lines, the rule of thirds, foreground details, and framing your images can all be used to enhance your landscape photos.

Now it’s over to you to put these tips into practice! Share the images you take and any comments with us below.

The post 6 Important Compositional Elements to Consider When Shooting Landscapes appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jeremy Flint.

Mastering Color Series – The Psychology and Evolution of the Color PINK and its use in Photography

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 10:00

The post Mastering Color Series – The Psychology and Evolution of the Color PINK and its use in Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

From the Renaissance to contemporary art, pink has endured as a color of emotional versatility. In this edition of the Mastering Color Series, let’s take a look into the color pink and its role within the history of visual arts.

The psychology of pink

The English word pink derives its name from flowers of the Dianthus genus. A combination of red and white, pink can be raucous and racy, or delicate and subtle. Buoyant light pinks describe playfulness, youth, kindness and affection. Darker shades of pink denote passion, love, energy, eroticism and confidence. However, too much pink can be a bad thing, influencing anxiety and claustrophobia.

Sweet foods like fairy floss, bubblegum, ice cream and lollies all embody tasty shades of pink. Associated with the smell of roses and the softness of flower petals, pink conjures ideas of tenderness and sensitivity. Evoking images of cherry blossoms, pink evokes impressions of spring, renewal and life. As a warm color, pink is drawn to the foreground of an image, cultivating intimacy and directing attention.

In the early 20th century, pink was designated the color for young boy’s clothing. The logic was that pink was a strong color and suited to boys. Blue was viewed as a lighter shade and was, therefore, more appropriate for girls. From the 1940s, however, pink came to be seen as a color for females. Products marketed at women and girls rapidly became pinker. As a result, pink has often been categorized as a color of femininity.

In China, pink is considered to be a shade of red, and comes with many of the same connotations. Indian culture sees pink as a color of youthful charm, celebration and nurture. Korean’s view pink as a sign of trust and security. In Germany, pink is considered bright and soft – a color of peace and harmlessness. In Thailand, pink is associated with Tuesday on the Thai solar calendar.

Evolution of the color pink Ancient pinks

Although relatively rare in nature, pink may be the world’s oldest color. Compared to red, however, pink had tentative beginnings in art history. There is little evidence of a dedicated pink pigment being used in prehistoric artworks. Made by mixing whites derived from gypsum and reds made of ochres or realgar, the ancient Egyptians regarded pink as a secondary color, ranked alongside brown, grey and orange.

Despite it’s scant early use as a pigment, pink manifested in other mediums. Pink sandstone proved ideal for constructing magnificent edifices. Carved in the first century AD, AL-Khazneh is one of the most elaborate temples in the ancient Arab Nabatean Kingdom city of Petra. Furthermore, in China, the Tang Dynasty Leshan Giant Buddha, carved into a cliff face of pinkish sandstone, is the largest stone-carved Buddha in the world.

Pink can manifest in types of stone, appearing as an artistic medium for centuries

According to “Precious Colours” in Ancient Greek Polychromy and Painting, pink had a significant presence in the art of ancient Greece. Pink hues were found on fragments of the Mycenaean palace at Pylos and an examination of the Pitsa painted panels revealed pinks used in the painting of men’s skin. Pink is also seen in “small scale figures from the symposium scene on the tomb of Aghios Athanassios, where cinnabar is mixed with calcium carbonate whites and kaolinite to produce a subtle tone of pink”

Later, pink (from manganese) was used by the Romans to color glass for glassware, mosaics and decorative panels in walls and furniture.

Medieval and renaissance pigments

During the medieval period, pink pigments are thought to have consisted of a mixture of lead white or calcite and madder and cochineal. Cinnabar, a sulfide mineral, was also crushed and mixed into shades of white.

During the renaissance, Italian writer and painter Cennino Cennini described a light pink he called cinabrese. It was made by blending sinopia (sourced from hematite) with lime white (composed of calcium hydroxide, and calcium carbonate). As suggested by Cennini, cinabrese was used for filling out fleshy tones.

However, in The Book of the Art of Cennino Cennini, Christina J. Herringham observes that “what pigment was used to produce the lovely pinks and crimsons of the early Italian painters is not really known with exactness”. Contenders include “madder…kermes…[the] bodies of the Coccus illicis gum lac…and Brazil-wood or verzino“. Vermilion and carmine may also have been mixed with whites to produce pinks.

Fuchsine, magenta and quinacridone

In 1856, whilst trying to synthesize quinine, British man William Henry Perkin accidentally discovered mauvine, the first synthetic dye. The discovery prompted a surge in the industry and in 1858 German August Wilhelm von Hofmann produced a reddish-purple dye, made by combining aniline and carbon tetrachloride. Meanwhile, in the same year, Frenchman François-Emmanuel Verguin discovered the same substance independent of Hofmann and patented it. Named fuchsine by its original manufacturer Renard frères et Franc, production of Verguin’s dye commenced in 1859.

In the meantime, two British chemists, Chambers Nicolson and George Maule produced another aniline dye with a similar red-purple color. They began to manufacture the dye in 1860 under the name roseine, later changing the name to magenta in honor of the Battle of Magenta.

In 1935 quinacridone dyes were developed. A family of synthetic pigments, quinacridones are typically deep-red to violet in color. With exceptional vibrancy and lightfastness, quinacridones are often used for creating varying tones of magentas and pinks in artist’s paints.

Shocking pink

Due to the invention of color-fast chemical dyes, pinks quickly grew in application and impact during the 20th century. During 1931, a radical shade of pink was created by Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. The pink, dubbed shocking pink was made by adding a small amount of white to magenta. Schiaparelli’s designs, made in conjunction with surrealist artists like Jean Cocteau, displayed her new shade of pink prominently.


In February of 2016, Anish Kapoor secured an exclusive contract for the use of Vantablack in his art. In retaliation, artist Stuart Semple created a fluorescent pink pigment he dubbed PINK. Declaring it to be the world’s pinkest pink, Semple released PINK for sale, but with one caveat – any artist looking to purchase PINK are obliged to agree to a legal declaration which states: “you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information, and belief this paint will not make its way into that hands of Anish Kapoor.”

Despite the ban, Kapoor did get his hands on PINK. He posted a picture of his middle finger dipped in the dry pigment to his Instagram account in December 2016. Nevertheless, Semple continues to sell PINK, anti-Kapoor declaration intact.

The website where Stuart Semple sells his PINK.

Pink in visual arts Renaissance to pre-raphaelite

Pink truly came to life from the 14th century. During the early renaissance, infant incarnations of Jesus and angels were sometimes depicted dressed in pink, as in Cimabue’s the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Two Angels. Lorenzo da Sanseverino’s Virgin and Child, with Saints Anthony Abbott, Mark, Severino, and Sebastian depicts the child Jesus in a pink robe, matching the garb of one of the surrounding saints. Later, Raphael’s Madonna of the Pinks depicts the infant Jesus and the Virgin Mary with pink carnations, a slight anachronism – the flower is said to have first appeared at Jesus’crucifixion.

Baroque artists used pink hues to convey a  broad range of subjects. The heavens and its holy occupants are grazed in soft pinks in Paolo de Matteis’s Triumph of the Immaculate. And Willem van Aelst and Rachel Ruysch used pink in arresting still life paintings. But it was during the rococo movement that pink saw a perceptible rise to fame in western art. Characterized by indulgent paintings featuring splendid pink costumes, rosy nudes and fine pink detailing, the color graduated from a secondary hue to a commanding presence in art.

Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior’s Nha Chica and Batismo de Jesus are two examples of pink’s application in academic art. Realist painter Jean-Francois Millet’s Gleaners depicts three peasant women, one with distinctive pink sleeves, linking to the pinks hues in the overcast sky. And pre-raphaelite artists like Dante Gabriel Rossetti used intricate pinks to emphasize symbolic paraphernalia.

Impressionism to cubism

With an emphasis on the depiction of light, impressionists applied pink in a variety of contexts. Claude Monet used combinations of pink in his water lilies series. Manet painted the Plum with soft pinks verging on purple and Edgar Degas’ famous the Pink Dancers portrays figures dressed in flourishing pink ballet dresses. Paul Gauguin added depth to his paintings by filling them out with saturated fields of pink. And Vincent van Gogh painted post-impressionist pinks in his depictions of flowers, carefully detailing the blossoms of Almond Blossom.

Fauvism saw everyday settings painted in radical color. Les toits de Collioure by Henri Matisse charges a landscape with bright pink hues. In Charing Cross Bridge, Andre Derain contrasts a green and blue city skyline with a richly pink sky. As one of at least four renderings of the same landscape, Georges Braque crams a vista with active pinks in The Olive Tree Near l’Estaque. Unfortunately, the painting caught the eye of a thief, who stole it from the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in May 2010.

Street, Dresden by expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner is a haunting portrayal of modern public space underscored by glowering pink. Considered one of the earliest examples of cubism, The Young Ladies of Avignon by Pablo Picasso portrays five nude female prostitutes, their flesh padded out in varying degrees of pink. And abstract artists such as Robert Delaunay (Circular Forms) and Agnes Martin used color pink to convey meaning, doing away with the figurative altogether.

Pink in contemporary art

Loaded with meaning, pink is a common theme in contemporary art. Embracing ephemerality and visual abundance, Tanya Schultz works as Pip & Pop to create intricate installations and artworks from materials including sugar, glitter, found objects and craft effects. Sculpted not from icy rose-hued water but from solid glass, Roni Horn’s Two Pink Tons are deceptively evanescent in appearance. And Daniel Arsham’s Lunar Garden reflects his fascination with the familiar and the surreal, re-imagining a traditional zen garden in solid pink hues.

Known for her grotesquely intriguing representations of the human body, Mithu Sen aimed to stretch the limits of artistic language through her sculpture made of false teeth and pink dental polymer. Yue Minjun’s self-portraits depict him as bright pink-skinned characters in the throws of maniacal laughter. Anne Lindberg’s Drawn Pink culminated in an immersive gesture of movement and color and Karla Black’s weightless sculptures appear to keep themselves afloat in wispy pinks, blues and greens, exploring the nature of physical experience.

Lori B. Goodman investigates the tenuous nature of the color in her installation Pink writing, “it is said that pink is initially a calming color but that too much exposure creates anxiety.” And Anish Kapoor’s Gossamer, an elegantly carved piece of onyx, slumbers in quiet pink within gallery confines.

Pink in photography

Even before the inception of color photography, pink has had a presence in the photographic landscape. Popular in the mid-to-late 19th century, hand-colored photographs depicting pastel pink cheeks and clothing added a level of realism to the photography of the time.

Pink is now abundant and accessible. As a result, many modern photographers turn their attention to pink. One striking example of pink’s application in photography is manifested in Richard Mosse’s Infra series captured in Aerochrome. Invented for reconnaissance during the Second World War, Aerochrome registers infrared light (normally invisible to the naked eye), transforming green shades into rich pinks in the process. As a result, Mosse’s documentary of war-torn Congo is dominated by pink hues, evoking an otherworldly beauty juxtaposed with war.

Photographers like Kate Ballis and Zoe Sim also use in-camera infrared conversions and filters to capture illusive pinks. Documenting the color preferences of children, JeongMee Yoon explores the socialization of gender and identity through her Pink & Blue Project. Smothering participants in luxurious pink materials, Loreal Prystaj’s series Pretty in Pink marries portraiture and materiality. Andria Darius Pancrazi photographs architecture in a format he describes as “softserve pinkcore mulhollandwave” and Martine Perret’s series Sel Rose captures abstract aerial shots of the pink waters of Western Australia.

Manit Sriwanichpoom inserts Pink Man into photographic scenes in various ways to channel his feelings towards Thai society. Singaporean Nguan documents his home city with restrained pinks and Xavier Portela documents the pink and purple hues of cities at night.

Infrared technology and effects render green organic matter in pinks and purples


Pink was a latecomer to the artist’s pallet. Nevertheless, as an extremely versatile color, pink has seen extensive use in art movements over time. Sometimes underestimated, pink can be lighthearted and subtle or raucous and bold. Associated with love, kindness, tenderness, affection, intensity, playfulness and sensitivity, pink denotes emotional abundance. Palpable in depth and weight, pink is a color of visual buoyancy, conveying meaning through sensual and emotive experience.

We’d love for you to share your images with the color pink in the comments below!

See the other colors in the Mastering Color Series here.


The post Mastering Color Series – The Psychology and Evolution of the Color PINK and its use in Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

The Best Photographers Make Time To Practice

Sun, 06/23/2019 - 15:00

The post The Best Photographers Make Time To Practice appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

The 10,000-hour rule is often quoted as the magic number of hours that you need to practice in order to master an activity. Now, I’m not saying that after 10,000 hours of practice you’ll definitely have mastered photography. But I do think it’s true that the more you practice, the better you will get!

The secret of practicing to improve your skills is to have a plan. You need to know what you’re practicing, you need to set goals, and you need to find a way to somehow measure your improvement.

Recently, I spent the day practicing with a new lens at Silverstone motor racing circuit. I just wanted to improve my panning to show speed and learn more about my equipment. I was reminded at the time that many photographers can find real joy in just practicing their craft and trying to improve. So with that in mind, here’s my guide on how to make a plan to make your practicing more productive!

Decide what to improve

It sounds obvious, but you need to start with something in mind that you’d like to improve. Wanting to improve your photography is too general. Try and narrow it down more. I wanted to improve my automotive photography and identified that shooting moving objects was a real weak spot in my technique.

Once you’ve narrowed it to something specific you can begin to research. Start here on Digital Photography School. There’s a handy search bar on every page to help you find articles that might be useful. Read those articles and make some notes on things to keep in mind when you’re next shooting. Start building your own instruction manual in your own words to take with you.

Plan your practice

When you’ve decided the things you want to improve, you need to start planning a subject, time, and a place to shoot. This could be as simple as photographing food in your kitchen, or as complicated as a week-long road trip. Put your plans in your diary and make a note of how long you’ve got to prepare. If you get organized, you’ll be far more likely to stick to your plan.

Make sure what you plan is something you find interesting too. Don’t plan for a day of photography (or even a few hours) that you’ll find boring and won’t enjoy. It’ll only put you off photography in the future.

Source the right equipment

If you need a piece of equipment that you don’t currently own, now is the time to decide how you’re going to get it. Hiring lenses can be a cheap way to try new options before buying (but borrowing from friends is even cheaper). Sometimes a piece of new equipment can be just what you need to kickstart your photography, but you need to practice and learn how to use it.

For some pieces of equipment, there are even DIY solutions. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try things out. It doesn’t matter if your shots aren’t perfect; this is an exercise in practicing, not perfection!

Take your notes with you

When you go out shooting to practice, make sure you take your notes with you. It doesn’t matter if they’re in a notebook or on your phone, but make sure you’ve got that research that you did while you were planning.

If you’re trying something new, then you may well have questions as you practice. Even if you’re an old hand at photography, it’s still good to refresh your knowledge before you start taking pictures.

Practice as much as you can, for as long as you can

The costs of film and developing don’t limit you in this digital age. This means you have the opportunity to shoot lots of images when you practice.

Digital storage is cheap, so take a couple of memory cards and keep shooting until you get it right.

Make the most of your time out practicing photography and shoot as much as you can. You never know which image you’ve taken will teach you something new. It could be the first, or it could be the last!

I like to make a day of it when I go out practicing, stubbornly shooting images long past everyone else has left, and my friends have got fed up. It feels like the more I practice, the more I learn, so I try to make the most of the opportunities I get to practice.

Don’t worry about perfection

The aim of practicing isn’t to get images for your portfolio or to take pictures to publish on social media or show your non-photographer friends. The aim is to improve your technique or your creativity.

Check your images as you shoot. The displays on the back of digital cameras are good enough to see if you’re on the right track.

You should be taking the opportunity to try new things and be experimental. Don’t just write off an idea that you’ve had because it won’t work – take the pictures and prove to yourself that it won’t work! You never know what you’ll learn from a failed experiment until you’ve got back home and reviewed the pictures.

Review your shots

Sometimes your practice will be over when you finish shooting. You’ll have learned enough about the technique that you don’t need to review the images.

However, while the experience is fresh in your mind, it’s worth sitting down at a piece of software such as Adobe Lightroom and reviewing the images in conjunction with the EXIF data to try and work out exactly what worked and why (and what didn’t work and why).

The Library module in Adobe Lightroom has the ability to view all the data from your images including shutter speed, ISO, aperture, and focal length. Start pulling up your images one by one, marking the ones that you like, and then reviewing the EXIF data for them.

Make some notes

Ideally, with the research notes that you made before you went shooting, make some notes on how your practice went. Look for patterns in the EXIF data to tell you what was successful and what wasn’t. Write down how you feel about the images, and perhaps make a note for other related techniques that you’d like to work on in the future.

Research how to correct your mistakes

If you consistently made the same mistake over and over while you were practicing, then you’ll want to work out how to fix that for next time.

Read some more articles or even try and find a mentor. Ask questions to your friends who seem to already have the technique nailed (or see if you can go shooting with them for some practice).

Make notes on how to improve for next time using everything you’ve learned so far. If you try and keep it all in your head, then I promise you’ll forget most of it before you get your camera out again!

Plan more practice

Practice makes perfect, after all. And you don’t learn everything on your first attempt.

Using the notes and research that you’ve gathered plan another time to practice. Perhaps this time you’ll work on something related that you’ve identified as a weak spot in your technique. Perhaps you could try the same technique but in a different setting (I’m planning a day out shooting moving wildlife next having now practiced on cars at a racing circuit).

Whatever you plan next, don’t stop practicing. Not even after you’ve reached over ten-thousand hours of practice because there’s always something new to learn.


The post The Best Photographers Make Time To Practice appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

Photoshoot with 30-Year-Old HELIOS 44M-4 58mm f/2 Lens

Sun, 06/23/2019 - 10:00

The post Photoshoot with 30-Year-Old HELIOS 44M-4 58mm f/2 Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

Helios 44M-4 58mm f/2 lens is probably one of the most mass-produced camera lenses in the world. I was lucky enough to find the M42 screw-mount version of this Helios lens in a nearby camera store. Using an ‘M42 to EF’ adapter I was able to use this 58mm f/2 lens on my Canon APS-C camera body.

After using this manual lens for more than 3 months now, I envy its build quality. The Helios 58mm f/2 lens is built like a tank and you can literally smash an onion with it. But that is not the reason I bought this lens. Its swirly bokeh effect is the only reason I have been scouting this lens for the past few months.

This lens has always been famous for the swirly bokeh effect that it produces as you move towards the edges of the image. So if you position your subject at the center, the lens produces what is also known as a ‘Cat Eye’ Bokeh effect. I hope the photos shown will help you understand this better.

Optical Performance

This is not one of those sharp lenses you would get nowadays, but it is not that bad either. Being an f/2 manual lens and at 58mm on an APS-C sensor, means that you will have to be patient while focusing. The depth of field is narrow, but once you have the subject in focus, you get magical photos. The swirly bokeh if used properly, can completely transform the look of your images.

The highlights are a bit on a higher side, but again it has its own charm if it suits your taste of photography. I had to boost the contrast and saturation during the editing process to suit my style of photos.

However, if you are buying this lens, it has to be for its swirly bokeh superpower and not to achieve the sharpest or punchy images. Thanks to Photoshop and Lightroom, we can later adjust the sliders as per the need.

Thanks to mirrorless camera technology, using the ‘focus assist’ feature, I can easily focus on a manual focus lens. Trust me – it saves a lot of time. And if you are short tempered, then you must make use of this feature if possible. The photos that you see in this article are all clicked using a Canon M50 mirrorless camera. Thank god, someone invented this technology.

Aperture Ring

As you must be aware that the aperture value of the manual focus lenses is adjusted using the physical ring on the lens. One of the few issues I had with this lens was the ring being too smooth. The slightest touch on the ring can make it rotate to a different aperture value. During this shoot, I was unaware of the fact that my aperture value had moved from f/2 to f/4, and I shot around 20 images until I realized.


As a digital photographer, being able to capture such dreamy images with a $30 lens is in itself unbelievable. The Helios 58mm f/2 lens was ideally mass produced for Zenit cameras, but the fact that you can still use it on a modern digital camera is amazing. I am very impressed with the results and the bokeh effect this lens allowed me to capture at f/2. Though this lens is not easily available online, you can check a few websites to find one in used mint condition.

The post Photoshoot with 30-Year-Old HELIOS 44M-4 58mm f/2 Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

Is Unsplash Really an Issue for Photographers?

Sat, 06/22/2019 - 15:00

The post Is Unsplash Really an Issue for Photographers? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash

Unsplash is killing photography! I am sure you will have read this somewhere? After all, photography blogs have been full of articles like this. You may agree – you may hate Unsplash. You may want to educate every photographer you meet on why they should not upload their photos to the platform. However, despite photographers and websites rallying against it, the platform continues to thrive. But is Unsplash really wrecking the photography industry? 

A little history

Unsplash started back in 2013 by Mikael Cho. Cho was the founder of the company Crew – a company designed as a marketplace for freelancers. Cho needed images for the home page of his business website but was unable to find the type of images he wanted online and within his price range. To get the images he wanted, he hired a photographer to create the imagery for the brand.

After the shoot, there were several leftover images. So Cho decided to post them on his Tumblr, allowing others to download them for free and use as they wished. Cho uploaded ten free images every ten days. The blog (which also directed people to Crew) was launched on Hacker News and instantly became the top story.

It took off.

Soon millions of people were searching for the images, and thousands were redirected to Crew.

Unsplash launched in May 2013, and by September it had hit one million downloads. In the first 12 months, it reached ten million downloads. This is when Unsplash moved away from Tumblr and launched an independent website.

Since then, it has continued to grow at an alarming rate. I checked the latest Unsplash stats whilst preparing for this article and the numbers are mind-blowing. 21 photos are downloaded from the platform every second!

Unsplash has a community of over 121,000 photographers whose photos have been downloaded heading for one billion times. A partnership with Squarespace allows users to place Unsplash images into their site directly from one of the most popular website builders. Like it or not, Unsplash has changed the photography industry.

Built into Squarespace. It is simple and easy to get copyright-free images.

How is Unsplash affecting photographers?

It is pretty easy to see how Unsplash is affecting the world of commercial photography. The Squarespace/Unsplash partnership is the perfect example of this. As the screenshot below shows, I can go into Unsplash, search for anything and usually find an image. Not just an image, though – a really good quality image. It is easy to see why photographers might be upset about this.

Why pay for a photographer, when I can get something similar to what I want? Want a photo of a beautiful shoreline for an article on the World’s best beaches? Unsplash has the answer. Want a magazine cover for an issue about coffee? They have that too. It is simple to get photographs of pretty much anything – on demand, and for free. Perfect for an editor, but not so much for a photographer.

The issue with Unsplash is that it devalues photography.

High-quality photography is now literally free.

You do not need to budget for it, which is great for small companies who cannot afford bespoke photography. It also means, in the age of good enough is good enough, the bigger companies who can afford great photography, simply don’t see the need.

For every blogger out there who makes no money from their blogs, but wants to be ethical and use images legally, there is also a large media company who simply want to maximize profits.

This problem isn’t new though. In case you have forgotten, the disruption started with the introduction of microstock.

Ryan Holloway on Unsplash


Remember when microstock burst onto the scene? There was an uproar by so many photographers about how it destroyed the stock industry. When researching this article, I found several rants on websites about how microstock was destroying the photography industry. I found stories of people who made a good living in stock photography having their livelihood ruined by the likes of sites like iStock photo. As one photographer wrote about microstock in 2009 “they came in like a drunk bull in a china shop with careless regard for the devastation of the existing market”.

The rise of microstock and the rise of affordable, high-quality digital cameras are easily linked. Technology changed the game – especially the stock photography game – and many didn’t adapt.

The industry changed, rapidly, and many got left behind. When we look at Unsplash, it is hard not to look at microstock. As many photographers use Adobe products, I looked at Adobe stock to see what was happening in the microstock world.

In terms of quality, there is some great stuff on Adobe stock. But whilst it is not free, the pricing structure is hardly enough to make a business out of it.

Looking on their site now, Adobe can purchase 10 images a month for £19.99 (roughly £2.00 per image) or 40 for £47.99 (roughly £1.20 per image). In the UK, the minimum wage is £8.21 per hour meaning that even if the photographer got 100% of the £1.20 per image, they would need to sell roughly 260 images per week to make the UK minimum wage.

I know that if you want to use the image commercially to sell products, the license fee is larger. But still, it is not enough to live off without selling a huge volume.

Yet when was the last time we saw the major photo websites writing hate-filled articles about Adobe ruining photography? Okay, I stand corrected. It all kicked off when it looked like they would increase the photography subscription fee.

But seriously, almost all photographers use Adobe. Even though you can make a little pocket money, Adobe has a business that is strikingly similar to Unsplash, yet nobody mentions it.

The question is though, do we not mention it because we agree with this model, or do we see it as normal now?

I think it is because we see it as normal.

The outrage, the rallying cry of photographers, was drowned out by market forces. This is what is happening with Unsplash. One billion downloads prove that despite the passionate reasoning, arguing, and pleading, once again the market has spoken. They don’t care about your business model; they care about their bottom line.

It appears that the main market that will be affected by Unsplash is microstock. As I said before, microstock was not a way to make a living before Unsplash, so effectively nothing has changed.

Charles ?? on Unsplash

Are photographers hypocrites?

This is the point that tends to make hypocrites of photographers (and the websites) rallying against Unsplash. Many photographers do the exact same thing.

How many photography videos do you see with free-use music in them? Who has used Fiverr for a logo rather than pay a professional designer? Why do we use templates for web design rather than pay a professional web designer to create a bespoke site for us? Photographers do this with other services frequently. What is the difference between free photographs and free music?

Unfortunately, the answer lies in ourselves. We only tend to see the impact of changing business models affecting our own industry. We happily use free music (or the microstock equivalent) without thinking about it, because that’s how it is. Unsplash is now how it is for us. As I said earlier, we adapt, or we die.

My favorite example of hypocrisy was when one of the biggest photography blogs wrote an article about the damage Unsplash is doing to photography. However, in the same article, they admitted that their site had used images from Unsplash for their articles. If that isn’t the perfect description of irony, I don’t know what is.

Education (or ranting at people who couldn’t care less)

I have heard many terms like, ‘we need to educate people about this,’ ‘people need to stop being so stupid,’ ‘how can people let their photography be exploited?’

Whilst this is a noble cause, there are huge issues here.

The biggest is the fact that rather than educate, people tend to rant and belittle. Calling people stupid does not help educate them. The fact is, many of them are educated on the facts and choose to do it regardless. They don’t need your approval and trying to tell them they are wrong will achieve nothing but make an enemy of them.

Many people do not want photography careers. Many love the fact that people appreciate their imagery, and that is enough for them.

Photography for many is a passion and an art. Charging for their work takes away their reasons for doing it. Uploading to Unsplash, Pexels or to Flickr with a Creative Commons zero license is a way to get more peoples eyes on their work. And the feedback and likes are their rewards.

This is not wrong. Some people have to accept that others live their lives by different rules, with their own set of morals and they can do whatever they want with their photos. You might not agree, but that is life.

Finally, even if you are right (in your opinion), you cannot educate everybody. It is the equivalent of trying to push water uphill. Many will admire your determination, but unfortunately, in the end, it is futile.

Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

Should I upload to Unsplash?

Rather than give a yes or no answer to this (I will leave that to you guys in the comments), I thought the best way to conclude this article was to look at what you need to be aware of when uploading to Unsplash. Things that you might not know that could help you make informed choices.

Exposure doesn’t pay the bills

Lots of photographers will have heard some variation of the following phrase: “We can’t afford to pay you, but it will be great exposure.”

The problem is, exposure doesn’t pay the bills. I can’t pay for my electricity with a photo credit. And, I can’t pay for my food with exposure either.

However, I have done work for exposure, to get in with the right people, that has lead to paid work. I wrote about this in a previous blog post.

There is no doubt that Unsplash provides photographers with great exposure. Unsplash is used by influential people every day. Being on the platform is a great way to get your work seen by these people. There are stories of people out there who, through their work on Unsplash, have been offered high-paid jobs with major clients. However, this is not the norm.

Unsplash, will more than likely not make you any money. Microstock may make you a small amount of money, but without a huge library, this is not an income you can use to start saving for a Ferrari. In fact, you will probably struggle to buy a toy Ferrari.

It is important to go into this with this in mind.

You will not get the respect you deserve

People who use your images will generally not bother to credit you. Most of them will not even care about you. You may end up on the cover of a high-end magazine and never even know about it. For better or worse, this is how Unsplash works. Your photos are free, and they will be treated as such. Your work (and by extension you) will generally be given zero respect.

Zack Arias summed this up best in one of his videos on the subject of Unsplash. He tells the story of a woman whose photo was used on a gift guide for a major UK bridal publication. The photographer was not informed about this or offered a copy of the magazine for her portfolio. Instead, she simply happened to stumble across it when browsing magazines in a coffee shop. This magazine’s full-page ad rate is £10,000, and she did not even get a photo credit or an email to thank her. This shows you the value placed on your work.

The thrill of getting featured can lose a little shine when you look at it like this.

Sasha • Stories on Unsplash

The people problem

This is the educational part. The Unsplash license does not cover the use of an identifiable person in a commercial setting. You, as the photographer, are liable. If a photo ends up being used commercially via Unsplash and you do not have a model release, then you had better have deep pockets (and a good legal team), because if the subject in the photo objects, you are in big trouble.

A model release should be completed by anyone whose photo you plan to upload to Unsplash, even family members or partners. A partner can soon become an angry ex-partner with a grudge. If a photo of them you uploaded to Unsplash gets used commercially, you may end up in a world of pain.

A simple Google search will help you find an appropriate model release. There are also many model release apps. This allows you to digitally store the release and allow the model to sign it on your phone. Simply put, there is no excuse for not using a model release; you need to protect yourself. This should be something you always do when photographing models, Unsplash or not.

Is Unsplash really ruining photography?

Is Unsplash ruining photography? No. It’s changing it.

Photography, like many industries, is in constant flux. It is disrupting traditional income models, but I think microstock was much more disruptive.

Is Unsplash taking advantage of people? Again, it depends on your point of view.

The people who upload to Unsplash know what they are doing. Some may be naive in thinking this is the easy way to photography stardom. However, I bet that for some of them, it will be the start of a great career. Just because it is different, doesn’t always make it wrong.

What do you think? Share with us in the comments below.


The post Is Unsplash Really an Issue for Photographers? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

How to Realistically Enhance Light Beams in Photoshop

Sat, 06/22/2019 - 10:00

The post How to Realistically Enhance Light Beams in Photoshop appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Adam Welch.

As a general nod to creative decency, in my work, I tend to steer clear of the “influencer” types of photographs. You know the ones I mean. The photos of people standing at the edge of some gorgeous vista, smiling, but, of course, seldom looking at the camera. They usually have some brand name product conspicuously visible in the frame. It’s not that those kinds of images are wrong, neither in execution or intent, but rather slightly tired and overdone.

With that said, there is one type of photo that I find myself producing again and again, that I admit would fall into the category I attempt to keep myself away from most of the time. I love making photos at night time with light beams shining off into the dark of space.

The problem is, that without an enormously powerful light source, achieving highly pronounced light beams is fairly difficult to achieve. In short, your average consumer flashlight or headlamp likely won’t pack enough luminous punch.

This is where a super simple piece of Photoshop magic can make these types of photographs truly stand out. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you an easy way to enhance the light beams in your images using Photoshop.

Before we begin

As with most any type of photography, your finished results are directly dependent on the quality of the starting material. You should always strive to get as much right in-camera as possible before you move to post-processing. This means correct exposure relative to the elements of your images, accurate focus, and appropriate ISO settings.

While this technique can enhance light beams in any photo, the outcome will vary enormously in terms of both quality and realism depending on the solidity of the original digital file.

Alright, now let’s have some fun!

Process first

It’s a good practice to save the enhancing of the light beams in your photos until the very end of your post-processing. This means that you should process all other aspects of the image as you would like them to appear in the finished photo before you apply the steps we’re about to discuss. Here is the RAW file of our example image before any post-processing.

Here is that photo after I have finished the global and local adjustments. In short, aside from the somewhat lackluster beam emitted from the headlamp, the image shown here looks exactly the way I like.

I have completed all exposure, contrast, color adjustments, sharpening and noise reduction. Regardless of what software you use to complete your post-processing, you will need to bring the image into Photoshop to finish your work. Since I use Lightroom Classic CC, I choose ‘Edit in Photoshop.’

How to enhance the light beam

After you’ve kicked your image into Photoshop, it’s time to begin the incredibly easy process of enhancing that beam of light. We’ll do the entire operation with some super simple layer masking. To get started, select the polygonal lasso tool (keyboard shortcut ‘L’).

We’re going to imagine that we are drawing a shape which corresponds to how the light will naturally diverge from the source. In this case, the headlamp. So, beginning at the base of the light beam we’ll create our shape. Simply click and let go, then draw the first line. I recommend extending this first line past the canvas of the image. I’ll explain why in a moment.

Connect the dots

Now it’s just a matter of drawing more lines and connecting them. Click each point to anchor the lines together until you reach back to the beginning point. This will complete the shape automatically. At this point, the shape will also appear to be moving with the so-called “marching ants.” It will essentially look somewhat like a triangle.

It’s this shape from which we will create our first mask. Believe me, this is all about to make perfect sense!

Add a Brightness Adjustment Layer

Click on the Brightness Adjustment Layer icon to add a brightness and contrast adjustment layer. Photoshop automatically creates the mask for this layer based on the shape we’ve just drawn.

This is where the magic happens. Increase the brightness slider.

Boom. Isn’t that cool?! All that has happened is that the brightness increase only affected the shape we created with the polygonal lasso tool.

Feather the mask

There’s still a light problem, though. Look how unnatural the beam emitted from the headlamp now looks. We can fix this by adjusting the feathering of our mask. Click on the mask icon within the adjustment mask window.

Increasing the feathering of the mask makes the edges softer and appear as if they are naturally diverging from a finite point of origin.

Doesn’t that look so much better already?

Create multiple masks

At this point, we could be completely finished, or we could repeat the steps we’ve already learned to “stack” additional layer masks based on shapes we’ve drawn using the polygonal lasso tool. In this particular image, I’m going to create another more intense beam inside the one we’ve already made.

Then it’s just a matter of adding another brightness adjustment layer just as we did before. Then adjust the brightness and mask feathering.

Don’t think that your masks are limited to brightness adjustments. You can add any adjustment that you choose.

In this case, I want to cool down the beam to better match the original color of the headlamp light. To do this, I’ll draw another shape with the polygonal lasso tool, but this time, I’ll select the ‘photo filter’ adjustment and add a cooling filter.

And remember when I said there was a reason we extended the mask past the actual border of the image canvas? We’re going to learn why in the next section. It all comes down to realism.

Fine adjustments

When it comes to this type of adjustment, it’s always crucial you understand the mechanics of the effect you are either simulating or enhancing. In this case, we are enhancing the way light travels from a given source.

As you probably are aware, light diverges as it travels, hence the widening of our light beam. Not only that, but the further it perceivably travels, the less bright it becomes to our eyes. The light essentially disappears into space.

To mimic this natural principle, we will “dim” the light beam as it extends further towards the edge of the frame using the brush tool.

We’ll select each layer, and selectively adjust the masks so that the light appears to dissipate softly. Make sure you set your brush to black.

This is where you will need to exercise your own judgment based on your particular image. Experiment with different opacity and flow rates. If you remove too much, just switch the brush to white and paint the effect back in as needed.

Isn’t Photoshop great?

And that’s it! Here is our final photo with the enhanced light beam.

Considering this is what we started with…

…the overall creative power of this cool edit is obvious.

Let’s recap

When it comes to enhancing (and even simulating) light beams in your images, you’ll want to remember a few key  guidelines:

  • Begin with the best image possible
  • Save your light beam enhancements until the very end of your processing
  • Maintain realism by understanding light – it diverges and dissipates (in our perception) as it travels
  • Stack as many masks as you need
  • Remember to feather your masks!
  • Don’t be afraid to adjust the color of the enhanced light beams

At its core, enhancing light beams in Photoshop is an extremely easy way to add some immediate power to your images. Even though we’ve used the example shown here, you can apply this technique to any scene with point sources of light such as car headlights, street lights or in any scenario where you might want to creatively pump up the luminosity of light beams.

Try it out, experiment and, as always, be sure to share your results with us!


The post How to Realistically Enhance Light Beams in Photoshop appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Adam Welch.

Weekly Photography Challenge – Food

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 15:00

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Food appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

This week’s photography challenge topic is FOOD!

Photo by Darina Kopcok

Go out and capture your lovely cafe lunch, or restaurant dinner, something you have baked/made yourself. Just be sure you do it creatively! They can be color, black and white, moody or bright. You get the picture! Have fun, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Photo by Nisha Ramroop

Check out some of the articles below that give you tips on this week’s challenge.

Tips for Shooting FOOD

How to Make Easy and Affordable DIY Food Photography Backdrops

The dPS Ultimate Guide to Food Photography

The Best Camera Gear for Food and Still Life Photography

Are You Making These Five Food Photography Mistakes?

4 Tips for Beginners to Food Photography


How to Take Cool Food Photos in Your Refrigerator


Weekly Photography Challenge – FOOD

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge.

Share in the dPS Facebook Group

You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.

If you tag your photos on Flickr, Instagram, Twitter or other sites – tag them as #DPSfood to help others find them. Linking back to this page might also help others know what you’re doing so that they can share in the fun.

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Food appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

Tiniest Interchangable Lens Micro Four Thirds Cameras for Travel with Amazing Quality

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 10:00

The post Tiniest Interchangable Lens Micro Four Thirds Cameras for Travel with Amazing Quality appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

In this video by MarkusPix, he looks at some of the tiniest ILC micro-four-thirds cameras and shows how well they hold up on his travels when taking some portraits.

In the video, he specifically looks at the Panasonic Lumix GX1 (2012), GX850 (2017), GM1 (2013), GM5 (2014) and uses the M Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 lens (which he describes as a great portrait lens).

He also uses the Godox Ad200 with the world’s smallest flash trigger – the FlashQ.


Panasonic Lumix GM1 (2013)

He states that the GM1 is one of the smallest and lightest ILC M4/3 cameras in the world. It has no viewfinder, hot shoe or image stabilization. However, the GM1 has a 16mp CMOS sensor, with a shutter speed of up to 1/16,000th, face detection, built-in wireless, built-in flash, video, and time-lapse recording.

Panasonic Lumix GM5 (2014)

Mark also states that the GM5 is one of the smallest and lightest ILC M4/3 cameras in the world. It has similar features to the GM1 but the GM5 has an electronic viewfinder and a flash shoe.

Panasonic Lumix GX1 Black (2012)

The GX! has a hotshot and can take an optional EVF (you can’t use a flash while using the optional EVF as it connects to the flash hotshoe). It has some similar features as the above cameras, but it also has optical image stabilization and built-in flash. The battery door opens all the time and the menu is confusing.

Panasonic Lumix GX850 (2017)

The GX850 (also known as the GX800 and GF9) has no EVF or hotshoe, but has a tilting screen, better LCD resolution, focus stacking and face detection. The images are very sharp. It also has a built-in flash.

So check out his experiments and see if you think these cameras would make a great (lightweight) travel companion.

Have you used these cameras? Do you agree? What are your thoughts?

Or do you have any cameras you’d add to the list?

Share with us in the comments below.

You may also find the following helpful:


The post Tiniest Interchangable Lens Micro Four Thirds Cameras for Travel with Amazing Quality appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.