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Updated: 11 hours 52 min ago

Weekly Photography Challenge – Hands

Fri, 08/23/2019 - 15:00

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

This week’s photography challenge topic is HANDS!

Perry Grone

Hands can say so much about a person! So go out and take some fab photos of hands! They can be wrinkly, newborn, working, dirty, or clean. They can be color, black and white, moody or bright. Just so long as they include hands! You get the picture! Have fun, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Quino Al

Akira Hojo

Liv Bruce

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

Tips for Shooting HANDS

6 Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

26 Expressive Images of Hands

Handiwork: How to Pose Hands

How to Pose Hands in Portraits

Black and White Portraits a Set of Images to Admire

How to Photograph Close-Up Details of Newborns and Infants

Weekly Photography Challenge – HANDS

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 #DPShands 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 – Hands appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

Equipment and Camera Settings You’ll Need for Better Moon Photography

Fri, 08/23/2019 - 08:30

The post Equipment and Camera Settings You’ll Need for Better Moon Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jeremy Flint.

Super Moon, Oxford, England

As the brightest object in the night sky, the Moon has captivated people around the world for centuries. The Moon is simply fascinating, particularly with the recent 50th anniversary of the first humans landing on the Moon. It is also one of the most incredible subjects to learn to photograph. Everyone loves to observe the Moon, but have you ever looked up to the sky at night and thought, “how can I capture this magnificent phenomenon?” Well, as photographing the Moon can be a challenging undertaking, I have highlighted some information about the Moon and recommendations regarding equipment and camera settings you’ll need to consider to achieve better moon photography.

It is initially worth considering what the Moon actually is. Well, in general, the term “moon” denotes an object that orbits something other than the star in a solar system. Earth’s Moon is an astronomical body that orbits the planet and acts as its only permanent natural satellite, orbiting the Earth every 27.3 days. It is the fifth-largest Moon in the Solar System and is an average of 384403 kilometers (238857 miles) from Earth.

When you look up at the night sky to view the peaceful and tranquil Moon, you might notice that the Moon looks a little different each night. This is due to our Moon’s many phases and types.

Phases of the moon

Partial lunar eclipse, England

The amount of sunlight that reflects on the Moon’s surface that we can see from our point of view on Earth varies every day, and this is what we refer to as a Moon phase.

Moon phases change during the lunar month from a New Moon (which occurs the moment the Sun and Moon are aligned, with the Sun and Earth on opposite sides of the Moon) to a Waxing Crescent moon (when a thin sliver of the Moon becomes visible after a New Moon), First Quarter Moon (the moment the Moon has reached the first quarter of its orbit around Earth), Waxing Gibbous Moon, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous Moon, Third Quarter Moon and Waning Crescent Moon.

Different types of full moons

Super Blue Blood Moon, Oxford

full moon occurs when the side of the Moon facing Earth is fully lit up by the Sun. There are several types of unusual full moons that look different in color and size due to its position to the Sun and Earth. These include blood moons (that appears reddish and occur during a total lunar eclipse, when Earth lines up between the Moon and the Sun); Supermoons (a moon that appears larger because it is closer to Earth), Blue Moons (the “extra” Moon in a season with four Full Moons or the second Full Moon in a calendar month) and Harvest Moons (the full, bright Moon that occurs closest to the start of Autumn), for example.

The equipment

When photographing the full moon or different phases of the moon, you will need some essential pieces of equipment. I recommend you use a tripod for stability. Whilst you may get away with hand-holding your camera, you will get better results by mounting your camera on a tripod and avoiding camera shake. In addition, a remote shutter release cable is a useful bit of kit to help prevent camera shake. It is not essential as you can use your cameras self-timer function.

Which lens to use

Moon over the landscape, Dartmoor, England

The type of lens you use largely depends on whether you would like to capture the moon in the landscape, or as a detailed close-up. Wide-angle lenses are great to photograph the moon as it moves over an interesting landscape. Alternatively, a telephoto lens is a great choice for getting closer to the moon to reveal its surface details. Consider using a long focal length lens with a range of 300-400mm.

Which camera settings to use

Moonrise, England

Once you have chosen a lens and set your camera on a tripod, you will need to select your settings. Firstly, I would recommend setting your ISO to 100 to prevent noise and grain in your images. Next, select an aperture in the region of f/8 – f/16 to achieve clearer and cleaner shots. In terms of shutter speed, 1/60th to 1/125th should be a great starting point.

Focus on the moon

Moon and sky, England

When you have applied the settings, all you now need to do is set the focus of your camera. I like to use my cameras manual focus to focus on the Moon. Once the focusing distance to the Moon looks sharp using manual focus, you are ready to shoot the Moon.

In my experience, manual focus works better than autofocus as the Moon’s surface is sometimes too dark to be recognized by the camera’s autofocus and I find manual focus to be more reliable in obtaining sharper shots in low light. By using manual focus, if you’re camera settings aren’t spot-on for any reason, you will still have reasonably sharp photos that you can recover in your editing software.

If you apply all of these tips, you’ll achieve better Moon photography and be equipped to photograph the Moon at the best time.


In summary, photographing the Moon is one of the most enjoyable subjects any photographer can learn. To achieve better photos of the different phases and types of the Moon, be sure to use a tripod. Also, consider a remote cable release, choose a wide-angle or telephoto lens, get your settings right, and focus your camera on the Moon manually.

Do you have any other tips for better Moon photography? Alternatively, share your pictures of the Earth’s natural satellite or the Moon shining brightly over your chosen scene with us below.



The post Equipment and Camera Settings You’ll Need for Better Moon Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jeremy Flint.

How to Photograph Architecture as Sculpture

Fri, 08/23/2019 - 06:00

The post How to Photograph Architecture as Sculpture appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Herb Paynter.

Architects design buildings based on form as much as functionality. Many of these creative structures serve as works of art as well as mere brick and mortar buildings. Viewing subjects for their form as well as their function, and capturing that beauty with creative eyes and a little careful planning, can deliver stunning results. In this article, you’ll learn how you can photograph architecture as sculpture.

A statue of Wilbur Wright stands in front of the Student Union building on the campus of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Rule One: Observe before you shoot

Too often we are struck with the initial appearance of a subject and immediately start shooting. However, this knee-jerk snapshot approach rarely provides the kind of result that it could if we took our time. Take the time to walk around the subject and observe it from several different angles. Those angles will provide different vantage points, reflections, and shadows that will change and influence the framing you use for each shot.

Investigate the uniqueness that each structure presents and appreciate the visual statements the architect is making. Structures are more than a collection of connected boxes with passageways and windows. They are the physical housing of the community. We should study the features that make each structure unique. Throughout time, architects have designed structures that reflect social attitudes and serve the full spectrum of cultures from very conservative and business-like to modern and avant-garde.

London’s amazing architecture along the Thames.

If you carry optional lenses in your bag, consider how each will render the scene. Don’t hesitate to stop long enough to find out. Lenses not only provide a distance variable, but they also change the dynamics of dimension. Longer lenses tend to compact the range much more than wider lenses.

Remember, backgrounds play a large role in the process. It is easy to get carried away with the subject and not see the effect that items in the foreground and background have on the final result. You can shorten major post-production chores, and even eliminate, by carefully seeing and shaping the background.

Rule Two: Think before you shoot

Digital cameras tend to override the cardinal rules of photography by allowing us to haphazardly capture dozens of shots without thinking them through. Remember, photography is a discipline and technical science as much as it is a process of documentation. Don’t allow yourself to excuse sloppy shooting.

The basic tradeoffs of exposure should run through your mental checklist as you think through each shot. Here’s where “Auto” settings can work against you as a photographer.

Briefly weigh the big three factors behind correct exposures before you click the shutter: Shutter speed, ISO, and Aperture each contribute to the shot, and each affects the result.

Interior of Student Union at Embry Riddle University

The most important of these three variables in architectural photography is the aperture. Aperture controls the depth of field (DOF), particularly in long lenses. Since buildings rarely move around and daytime outdoor lighting is usually ample, shutter speed is of little consequence in the final analysis. As is ISO, but your choice of framing and DOF will make all the difference.

Rule Three: Plan your shot before you shoot

Make it a point to develop specific intent for each shot and develop at least a mental shot list of the project. Without this exercise, you’ll end up with a multitude of lookalike shots that you’ll have to cull through. Ask yourself if you want to capture the entire scene or just highlight a particular aspect of the scene?

The 19th century stone structure of the Chicago Water Tower stands in contrast to the gleaming metal surface of the Trump Tower, also in Chicago.

Rule Four: Account for Keystoning

Buildings are always taller than the camera lens and thus always distort the parallel nature of the vertical lines. The only way to avoid this is to keep the camera axis parallel to the horizon. The moment you shift the lens skyward, the vertical lines will keystone. This is both normal to the human eye and advantageous to adding drama to tall buildings, but the camera lens can exaggerate it.

If you’re fortunate, and a bit creative, you can shoot the building from the inside (or atop) another structure. This will allow you to keep the vertical surfaces parallel.

Seeing this domed rooftop from an adjoining property delivered a unique view. If I’d captured this dome from the ground, the actual shapes and features would have been distorted.

The other option, and the one most utilized, is to adjust these angles in post-production. Almost all imaging software provides the ability to straighten the lines by either automatically or manually stretching the image using the software’s Transform function. However, be aware that every time you distort an image’s shape, you reassign pixel values which can affect the sharpness of your image.

Rule Five: Assess White Balance

The general assumption is that you should capture outside photos in Daylight mode. But this isn’t always the case. Outdoor lighting changes constantly. Images captured either in the shade or in mixed lighting (dusk with street lighting, windows illuminated with tungsten lighting, or interior shots that include sunlight coming from outside) can create problems. The best way to address this issue is to capture your images in RAW mode. Doing so, allows you the latitude to experiment with the color temperature during post-production.

Even after extensive damage suffered in World War II, Dresden, Germany still hosts a great number of historical and cultural buildings.

Rule Six: Carry a tripod

There are many good reasons to carry a travel tripod when shooting architecture. Exposures can vary greatly, and a tripod eliminates the possibility of camera shake during longer exposures or shooting to match precise angles of structures.

Since buildings don’t move much, a tripod allows you to lock down the focus and the steady the camera even at strange angles. Tripods also allow you to use your camera’s timer for hands-free exposures.

Genoa Archway

Rule Seven: Choose the right lens for the shot

Wider-angle lenses allow you to capture larger buildings in areas of limited access. However, extreme wide-angle lenses (both zoom and non-flat field) can also introduce undesirable issues like barrel distortions that bow straight lines. Moderately wide-angle lenses and reasonable distances from the subject will most times address these issues.

Rule Eight: Pay attention to textures and geometry

The array of interesting textures, colors, fixtures, and surfaces used in building materials is quite diverse and makes for very interesting detail shots. Textures are the fabric of life and vary wildly both inside and outside modern architecture.

Architects are perfection artists who love geometry, and good geometry is the foundation of good structure.

From the earliest days of piling and arranging huge stones into pyramid shapes to today’s massive sports arenas, you can see the mathematical beauty of creative geometry everywhere. Look for geometric design in the biggest and smallest elements of architectural structures.

The Interior of the Frauenkirche cathedral in Dresden, Germany is graceful in structure and beautifully finished in pastel colors.

Rule Nine: Break the rules

Don’t be scared to see your subject from very strange vantage points. This includes looking both straight up from the floor and straight down from balconies. You may look a little silly to passersby, but chances are you’ll never see those people again, and they may well marvel at the photos you produce. The result of your creative vantage point will let your viewers see life from a fresh angle.

Almost everybody takes pictures from eye height (which is quite boring), and most of us are between five and six feet tall, so this means that most photos appear…average and “normal.” Get un-normal and show people life from a fresh viewpoint.

Many of the European cultural and government buildings include beautiful cultural symbols and statues sculpted with old-world craftsmanship.

Rule Ten: Look for contrast and balance

This applies to subjects as well as tone curves. Today’s buildings are focused on issues that reflect environmental and social issues. Pay attention to the juxtaposition of natural and human-made elements that are designed to coexist in total harmony. Colors and textures emphasize cooperation between human achievement and nature. The balance of the practical and artistic aspects of modern engineering reflect a renewed sense of respect between progress and responsibility in today’s world.


Most of all, take the time to appreciate the marvel and beauty of human creativity. The more you look, the more you’ll appreciate the ingenuity and genius of today’s architectural masterpieces.

Don’t rush through this process. Exercise the same level of care and skill that you observe in the design and structure of the buildings and interiors that you capture, and you’ll produce some amazing pictures. Shoot inspired.


The post How to Photograph Architecture as Sculpture appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Herb Paynter.

5 DIY Macro Photography Hacks for Stunning Macro Photos (on a Budget)

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 08:30

The post 5 DIY Macro Photography Hacks for Stunning Macro Photos (on a Budget) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Do you want to take stunning macro photos…

…on a budget?

In this article, I’m going to show you exactly how you can capture amazing macro photos (without breaking the bank). You’ll discover 5 DIY macro photography hacks which you can use for consistently gorgeous images.

Sound good?

Let’s dive right in, starting with:

1. Use a board for a stunning macro photography background

First things first:

In macro photography, the background matters almost as much as your main subject. Because the background is what makes your main subject stand out.

One of my favorite backgrounds is a solid, uniform color:

Dark black.

Black backgrounds allow you to capture somber, moodier macro photography. Like this:

Now, achieving a natural black background in nature can be tough. Which is why this DIY hack is so valuable. Because you can use it to create a deep black background in all of your macro photos.

Here’s what you do:

Step 1: Go to your local hardware store and purchase a plywood board. I’d suggest something ultra-thin (because wood can get heavy, fast). I’d also go for a decent size: at least two feet on all sides.

Step 2: Purchase black paint and primer. I recommend getting a sample paint pot (one should be more than enough). These are cheap and work just fine. The primer is to prevent the wood from tainting the color.

Step 3: Add the primer and paint the board. I’d recommend two coats of black paint for that ultra-dark look.

Step 4: Let the board dry.

Now comes the fun part:

Actually taking the photos!

You should choose a main subject that’s fairly light (e.g., yellow and white flowers). Position your main subject so that it’s in the sun, with the black board in the shade, a foot or so behind it. You want to create as much contrast as possible between the board and your subject. That is, you want a light subject on a dark board.

The goal is to lose absolutely all detail in the background. If you don’t fully achieve this in-camera, you can use an editing program to drop the blacks in your images.

You can still make this work with diffused (i.e., cloudy) light. But you’ll need to do a bit more work in post-processing to bring down the blacks.

Bottom line?

You can work some serious magic with just a board and some paint.

Try it yourself! And watch as you capture amazing macro images.

2. Use a lightbox for a stunning high-key, transparent look

Have you ever wanted to capture macro photos that look bright and high-key? Maybe even transparent?

With this DIY hack, you can!

All you need is a basic lightbox, often used by artists for tracing. You can purchase one for around 20 dollars on Amazon. While a bigger lightbox is generally better, anything A4 and above should work fine.

Once you have your lightbox, you’ll need to choose a main subject. Flowers with translucent petals work best. And the flatter the flower, the better.

You’ll want to work in a room that has only diffused ambient light. You want your flowers to have a soft, even look.

Then turn on the lightboard, and place your flowers on top of it.

I recommend shooting parallel to the lightbox from above. While you can do everything handheld, I don’t recommend this, especially if your flowers are more three dimensional. Instead, mount your camera on a tripod and use a narrow aperture (i.e., f/8 and above) to ensure perfect sharpness.

Once you have your shots, you’ll probably need to do a bit of post-processing. I recommend increasing the whites, to give a slightly brighter, airier look.

3. Shoot with one flower in a vase for powerful compositions

There’s no doubt about it:

The way that flowers are positioned can make a macro shot look amazing…or terrible. If several flowers are overlapping, your photo may fall flat.

But if you can isolate a single flower

…that’s when things start to look really compelling.

Now, when you’re shooting in nature, you don’t have much control over this. You have to work with what you’ve got.

But if you use this DIY macro photography hack, you can capture a gorgeous set of macro flower photos.


Here’s how it works:

Go to your local grocery store, and purchase a bouquet of your favorite flowers. I like to work with tulips, but you can really use anything!

When you get home, check over the flowers for blemishes and other issues. Find the biggest, best-looking flowers of the bunch.

And then put them all in separate vases (or cups).

Note: You want the flowers to extend pretty far over the top of the vase, which is why I suggest you avoid taller vases.

The next time the light is good, take all the vases outside. Place them in front of a gorgeous background.

(I often use an orange sky at sunset.)

And then photograph all the flowers, individually. Because they’re in separate vases, they’ll all be perfectly isolated. And this will allow you to easily capture powerful compositions.

Try it.

You’ll love the final product.

4. Detach your lens for an artistic macro look

If you’re bored of getting the same macro look over and over again, then this DIY macro photography hack is for you.

It’ll help you capture photos with brilliant light leaks, like this:

If you’re familiar with the concept of freelensing, it’s like that, but with a twist.

Here’s how you do it:

Choose a backup camera body and a cheap camera lens in the 50mm range. (There’s a slight risk of exposing your camera sensor to dirt.)

Focus your lens to infinity.

Then turn off your camera, and detach the lens.

Next, turn the camera back on, and pull the lens just slightly away from the camera (it should still be detached!).

This will actually magnify your subject, while often giving you some amazingly artistic light leaks.

And while the technique may require a bit of experimentation, you’ll get the hang of it pretty quick, and you’ll capture some gorgeous macro photos.

5. Use fairy lights for amazing background bokeh

Here’s your final DIY macro photography hack (and it’s one of my favorites):

Use fairy lights for gorgeous macro backgrounds. They’ll get you photos like this:

To start, grab a set of fairy lights on Amazon (for around 10 dollars). I recommend a neutral or warmer color.

Go out to shoot around dusk, when the light is really starting to fade.

Find a nice subject, and position the fairy lights directly behind it. You can dangle them from surrounding vegetation, or you can hold them with your left hand.

Now, you don’t want to position the fairy lights too close, or else you’ll capture the wiring in your photos. Instead, you want them to show some nice bright light without being prominently featured.

You should also make sure to use a shallow aperture, in the area of f/2.8 to f/5.6. That way, the fairy lights will be fully blurred, creating some stunning bokeh.

The trick is an easy one, but it’ll get you amazing macro photos!

DIY macro photography hacks for stunning macro images: Conclusion

You’ve now discovered five DIY macro photography hacks.

And you can use them for stunning macro photos all the time.

So go ahead and start. Make your black board. Grab yourself some fairy lights.

And take some amazing macro photos!

Do you have any DIY hacks of your own for beautiful macro shots? Share them in the comments!


The post 5 DIY Macro Photography Hacks for Stunning Macro Photos (on a Budget) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Stunning Capture of Kingfisher Catching a Fish – Behind The Shot

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 06:00

The post Stunning Capture of Kingfisher Catching a Fish – Behind The Shot appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

Do you want to know how to photograph a Kingfisher catching a fish? Then read on!

About this stunning capture of Kingfisher catching a fish

Photographer: Janet Smith

Camera Settings: 80mm focal distance, auto ISO, f5.6, 1/1200th. Camera set to manual and continuous silent shooting.

Camera equipment: Canon 5D mark IV, Canon 70-200mm f2.8, Neweer remote trigger, Manfrotto tripod, and black bin bag as a rain cover.

Where and when was the shot taken?

Shropshire Photography hides, Market Drayton near Shropshire and Staffordshire borders, 6 July 2019, around 3:30 pm.

What is the background behind getting the shot?

This is my bucket list shot – a shot that I thought I’d never be able to take because I could not afford to buy a fast lens which I was told is required in this type of shot.

Then almost a year ago, Brendan Van Son gifted me his old Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens after learning I’ve wanted one but could not afford it. Having the lens opened up a whole new world for me. I saved and booked a hide day at Shropshire Photography Hides that got canceled three times because of bad weather and Minks decimating the Kingfisher nest and killing all the birds.

On the 6th of July, I finally managed to get to the hide. The day was overcast, drizzly, and windy. I set up the camera at water level and wrapped in a black bin bag to keep it dry. Then I set the camera to manual, f5.6, auto ISO and 1/1200th, set up the remote trigger and waited.

It took nearly six hours of waiting and shooting before I got this shot. I could not get the timing right, and this bird was super-fast. The light was also very low, and the drizzle persisted.

I ended up with more misses than hits, but it was well worth it. One thing I learned is patience and determination pays off. And maybe nicer weather would have helped as well.

What method or technique did you use to achieve the shot?

I prefocused on the area where the bird was likely to enter the water with the camera set on silent continuous shooting to minimize noise.

Describe any post-processing, including tools and techniques used

There was very minimal post-processing. I did a close crop to show more of the water movement and the bird. Also, I lightened-up the shadows +25 on the photoshop slider, pulled up the vibrance to +15, and exposure to +5.

What are your tips for others wanting to achieve a shot like this?

My tip is to be patient, ask for advice from seasoned bird photographers and observe the bird’s behavior. I learned that this bird would move three paces either left or right and bob it’s head down before diving. As soon as it does that, I pressed the remote and continue pressing until it was back on the branch.

You may also like:


The post Stunning Capture of Kingfisher Catching a Fish – Behind The Shot appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

3 Easy Tips for Photographing Details in a Scene

Wed, 08/21/2019 - 08:30

The post 3 Easy Tips for Photographing Details in a Scene appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Lily Sawyer.

Regardless of the type of event I photograph, I ALWAYS photograph details. Why? Because details help tell the story of an event that nothing else can. Details aid the recollection of memories: words and conversations, scents and aromas, spoken and unspoken emotions. Details also help cement these memories in our brains.

Newborns grow so fast and often parents are exhausted beyond belief. Photographing details helps them remember the sweet moments, especially of those first days. The first tuft of hair, the tiniest fingers, milk spots, windy smiles, hospital tags, first baby hats, and mittens. Captured in details, these moments can be cherished more often and for much longer.

Wedding days go in a total haze for many a couple. All the weeks and hours they have put into planning the decorations and color scheme down to the minutest detail and they don’t even have a moment to fully appreciate them on the wedding day. I carve out time to capture hundreds of detail photos during a wedding. They are just as important as all the other photojournalistic and documentary captures of people and events unfolding on the day.

You don’t need to have an expensive kit to take some good, solid photos. All the photos in this article were intentional snapshots taken during a day trip with me as a tourist. No flashes, just a camera, a 60mm fixed lens and an observant eye looking for details.

Here are 3 tips I find helpful when photographing details:

1. Storytelling

Photographs are no doubt one of the most visually exciting ways to tell a story, so tell it well using photographs of details.

Let’s consider the five elements of a story to help us communicate it effectively: setting, characters, plot, conflict, resolution.

Below is a series of photographs I shot with intent to tell a simple short story (real captures and not staged) with the above elements in mind.



Characters and Plot


This is just a simplistic way of showing you how a story can be captured beautifully in details. The setting is in Copenhagen on a soaking wet and cold day. It had been heavily raining for a good while. Droplets have collected on the bridge adorned with love locks. It’s summer (as seen on the date in the newspaper), and the map is sodden. Somewhere nice and cozy to dry off and relax would be welcome. A girl wrapped in a thick blanket browses the menu. Hot cocoas put a big smile on the children’s faces. It’s a happy summer once again.

2. Composition a. Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is probably the most well-known and popular composition techniques. It is also my favourite and the easiest that comes to me. The frame is divided into thirds horizontally and vertically. Where the sections intersect are the strongest points where your main image or interest in the image should be placed.

This is illustrated above left where the yellow building occupies two-thirds of the space and one third on the left is the overcast sky. In the above right image, the two buildings intersect on a third of the frame. The point of the small tower is positioned about a third from the bottom of the image and a third from the left.

Plain snapshots like these look stronger with this rule of thirds composition.

Can you see how these two images above use the rule of thirds composition?

b. Symmetry/centred

Another favorite of mine is symmetry; where the main point of interest in the image is placed at the center of the frame. A central composition accentuates the importance of the subject and emphasizes its superiority.

The image above shows the fish at the center and two symmetrical areas on either side of it. More symmetry – the tables and chairs and the windows on either side – strengthens this image further. You can feel the solidity of the structure because of the centered composition.

c. Fill the Frame

As with the above, filling the frame strengthens composition and makes the viewer focus intensely on the subject without unnecessary distractions. The viewer can explore details that otherwise would be lost had the image not filled the frame and cropped distractions. Filling the frame is an effective way of highlighting a point of interest and telling its story from much closer.

d. Depth and foreground interest

Photographs are two dimensional in nature. Many images only show the subject and background. Including foreground adds a third dimension to the space. It increases its depth and makes the viewer feel as if they are on the outside looking in. I use this technique for anything and everything: portraits, objects, or action.

A foreground interest also invites the viewer to explore other elements in the image and look deeper into the other areas of the frame, not just first thing that meets their eye. Because you are inviting the viewer’s eye to move around the image, you make your image more dynamic.

3. Angles Change your point of view

We see virtually everything at eye level. We often walk around with our faces looking forward not upwards, downwards or sideways. So whenever we change our point of view into a bird’s eye view or worm’s eye view or perspective, we find ourselves seeing new interesting things in common and familiar objects. It’s something I always try to remind myself when shooting: look up, look down, look right, and look left.

In the image below, you can see I’ve also combined this bird’s eye view with the symmetrical composition and the rule of thirds.

Perspective and leading lines

Something as mundane as a bird on a bench can be captured with a touch more interest by moving a few steps sideways and photographing it from a perspective viewpoint. Doing this is making use of the line of the bench to lead the viewer’s eye to the bird – the focal point of the image.

I didn’t want to get too close lest I scared it away. It caught my eye because I thought it was a crow. Then I noticed it was wearing some white feathers like a cardigan on its black body. Look out for leading lines, whether they be straight like benches, rails and fences, or curvy like windy paths, a stream of water or patterned tiles on pavements.


I find photographing details exciting, mentally challenging, and thoroughly enjoyable. It keeps me on my toes, especially when I try to tell a story. I feel a sense of achievement when I’m happy with the results. I hope you try it sometime if you haven’t yet.

If you have any tips for photographing details, do share them in the comments below.


The post 3 Easy Tips for Photographing Details in a Scene appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Lily Sawyer.

Canon May Produce an Unprecedented 50-80mm f/1.1 Lens

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 08:30

The post Canon May Produce an Unprecedented 50-80mm f/1.1 Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Are you a Canon user?

If so, you’ll be happy to know that Canon continues to push the boundaries of camera gear innovation.

Because earlier this month, a Canon patent was published, one that detailed plans for a new lens: a 50-80mm f/1.1 zoom.

Yes, you read that right.

According to the Canon patent, the lens would have a fixed maximum aperture across its entire focal length range, maintaining its f/1.1 maximum aperture from 50mm to 80mm.

A fixed-aperture f/1.1 Canon lens would certainly make waves. None of Canon’s recent lenses have an f/1.1 aperture. The closest lens is the Canon 50mm f/1.2. So this lens will certainly appeal to those who enjoy unique equipment.

The f/1.1 aperture would be ideal for portrait photographers. The wide aperture would allow for stunning background bokeh. And it would also allow for photography in low light, which is perfect for those who shoot indoors or at night.

Plus, the 50-80mm focal length is great for portrait photography of any kind. At 50mm, portrait photographers can get some standard shots. At 80mm, you can go in for a tighter image.

Street photographers will also be a fan of 50-80mm, given how 50mm is often considered the fundamental street photography focal length.

A zoom lens such as this one would likely exist as part of Canon’s RF lineup, which is rumored to expand over the course of the next year.

Note that some patents never actually amount to anything. In other words, just because Canon patents the designs doesn’t mean that they will send the product to market. But it’s interesting to see Canon thinking about such incredible new equipment.

So keep your eyes peeled, Canon users.

And even if the Canon 50-80mm f/1.1 lens is never produced, it’s certainly piqued consumers’ imaginations!

Would you be interested in a lens like this one? What do you like and dislike about it? What would you use it for? Let me know in the comments!

The post Canon May Produce an Unprecedented 50-80mm f/1.1 Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Filling the Frame: 5 Simple Yet Powerful Ways to Improve Your Photos

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 06:00

The post Filling the Frame: 5 Simple Yet Powerful Ways to Improve Your Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anthony Epes.

Successful photographs usually have one thing in common – an obvious point of focus or a subject that is the dominating element.

One of the main reasons a photograph falls flat is because there is no central or main feature to draw in the viewer’s attention.

One very easy way to combat boring, flat photos is to practice the simple idea of filling the frame.

Of course, you might say – I always fill the frame; it’s impossible not to!

With this idea, though, you are working on being a lot more intentional about how you compose.

When we “fill the frame,” we are attempting to make a photo’s intention completely clear. The viewer should have no doubt as to what the photograph is about.

Instead of getting fixated on your subject, and focusing your attention almost totally on that (something I see people doing all the time on my workshops), we are considering every single part of the frame.

We are looking at the corners. This is probably the most common thing many of my students don’t do – look at what’s in their corners.

Often there are things that don’t need to be there which you only realize afterward when studying your images.

We are considering what is running alongside the edges. What’s poking in that shouldn’t be there? It’s amazing how a stray branch or a bit of litter can make its way into your image without you noticing.

We become aware of every part of the frame to make sure that every single element is working to complement our subject.

Now, this is key. Every single thing in your frame needs to be working with, or complementing your subject.

If it’s not, you need to move around and try to work the subject and surrounding elements into a better composition.

Sometimes a photographer will react too quickly. They make a photo from where they are standing instead of thinking about the most favorable position to be in and how it can greatly improve the image.

I mention position here because I believe it is the first option when it comes to filling the frame with a subject.

Usually, what happens when we do not fill the frame with our subject is we end up creating a lot of space in the photograph. This is all fine if you are using this space with intent. However, if you are not, then it just looks vast and empty, and your subject is competing with the “bad space.”

Changing your position and getting closer to your subject is your best first choice. Remove that unwanted space by physically moving closer or zoom in if you must. (I will always prefer moving to zooming).

Have a look at the photos of mine that I’ve included in this article. They are all images where everything in the frame is 100% relevant. Even with a complex image like this, I have considered every part of it:

5 Simple but Powerful Ways to Improve Your Photos 1. Always think about your position

In general, bad photographs have way too much wasted space. You can easily remedy this by thinking about your position relative to your subject.

Do you need to get closer to reduce wasted space around your subject? This also has the added benefit of making a photo more intimate when you get closer.

2. If moving is not an option, then consider switching lenses

If changing position is not possible, then now would be a good time to switch lenses. This method is not as good (I think) as changing your physical position, but it can allow you to fill the frame, drawing interest to your subject.

3. Check the edges of the frame

This is a very common mistake for beginner-photographers.

Some do not put enough effort into looking at the entire frame and what lies on the edges of it. When you shoot this way, you find yourself cropping a lot more to remove those things you overlooked when shooting.

It is better to learn to see the whole frame than to get good at cropping because you didn’t see it in-camera.

4. Photography is a process of reduction

Let’s say you moved in closer to fill that frame. Now is a good time to ask yourself – is there anything else that does not need to be in the frame?

You can find the answer to this by asking if it is helping or hurting your subject. If you decide the element does not need to be there then take it out.

This usually requires a change of position or some movement from you!

5. Don’t fixate on your subject

If you are really dedicated to filling your frame and making better images, then my one ultimate piece of advice is to NOT fixate on your subject.

This is the #1 reason photographers are dissatisfied with their images later.

Sure, be in awe and wonder of what you are shooting, that’s part of the joy of doing photography. However, don’t lose yourself to the point your composition is not it’s very best.


Remember to always shoot with intent.

I would love to know what you think of my tips and ideas about ways to improve your photos. Please let me know in the comments below.

Is this an idea you practice? Alternatively, is this new and you think you might use this in the future?

Thanks for reading.


The post Filling the Frame: 5 Simple Yet Powerful Ways to Improve Your Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anthony Epes.

How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 08:30

The post How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

Your camera is capable of capturing intense, true color that is almost everywhere you look. So how hard could it be? Answer: It is actually quite easy to capture color. However, you need to practice a little more awareness when it comes to creating images with that extra “oomph.” Here are a few tips to help you capture vibrant colors in photography.

1. Keep it simple/details

As with other types of photography, simplicity is an art on its own. While details are can be essential too, sometimes scaling back on the amount of details is required. Thus, when working with vibrant colors in photography, your story may have more impact when you include only the key elements as opposed to having too much going on.

You can achieve simplicity in different ways. The first is by minimizing the number of colors in the frame. Yes, there are instances when many colors work well together in an image, but at other times it gets confusing. You need to direct your viewer’s eyes. Another way to keep it simple is to avoid too many details in your composition. It has the same effect as too many colors. When working with vibrant colors, simple works better.

2. Experiment with color combinations

Starting small is usually better with bolder colors. You can focus on one main color and build from there. When you start adding other colors in, determine if they work well together. Fortunately, you do not have to reinvent the color wheel and have tried-and-true color harmonies to use to your advantage.

Color harmony is a combination that is visually appealing to the eyes. Some of the options include complementary colors (those directly opposite each other on the wheel) and analogous color (those next to each other).

Both of these harmonies exist in the natural world. A sunset of oranges and blues is an example of complementary colors. Whereas a green tree against the midday blue sky is more along the lines of analogous color. When you are working with color combinations, spend the time to make the final image pleasing to the eyes.

3. Make colors stand out/playoff

Your scene may be full of color, vibrant and busy. If this is what you want to portray, then all is well. On the other hand, what if there is a subject in that chaos that you want to isolate? You can use color to make that happen. To do so, one of your options is to desaturate/tone down the colors that are not contributing to your subject’s story.

Another is putting a bright color against a dull one to help it to stand out more. Also, adjusting the hue and lightness of the colors next to your main color can help it pop.

Here are a few easy ways for you to help your colors play off each other:

White Balance

Pay attention to your use of white balance when working with bold and strong colors. Your camera has several white balance options to deal with different lighting situations (Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent, etc.). Each of these affects the overall color of your image. They either move your color to the warmer side (by adding yellow) or to the cooler side (by adding blue). Thus, white balance can enhance your colors or change the hue altogether.

Note: If you do not want your colors to end up looking too blue or yellow, you have the option of manually adjusting your white balance color temperature.


By default, Saturation is used to enhance the color intensity of every color in an image. However, you can use editing software and use Saturation selectively. When trying to make colors play off each other, you can increase the intensity of one color while desaturating other colors in the scene.

Vibrance vs Saturation (the same level applied)


When you change the Vibrance in an image, it is a little more specific than Saturation. Vibrance only adjusts the intensity of the duller colors in your image. When playing off colors, this tool can be very effective.


When working with vibrant colors, be aware of your palette. Keep your compositions simple by minimizing the number of colors and details in your image. Work with the color wheel and learn about the various harmonies that exist. When you pay attention to all the colors in your image, you get a better sense of how they work together. You also understand the way each color affects and plays off the other. Most of all, have fun experimenting while you learn about color!

Do you have other tips for using vibrant colors in photography? Share with us in the comments section!


The post How to Use Vibrant Colors in Photography with Great Success appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

Street Photographer Attacked on Social Media for Taking Photos in Public

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 06:00

The post Street Photographer Attacked on Social Media for Taking Photos in Public appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Joshua Rosenthal’s Instagram feed.

Are you a street photographer?

Have you considered what might go wrong in your line of work?

Most street photographers don’t.

But maybe they should.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Josh Rosenthal (@two_stops_ahead) on Aug 9, 2019 at 8:33am PDT

Joshua Rosenthal is your average street photographer. He goes out with his camera, photographs people in public places, and posts the photos on his website and Instagram. He does no harm, and nobody is bothered.

Until this past week, when Rosenthal’s actions attracted a lot of attention – and not in a good way.

Rosenthal journeyed to the Ventura County Fair in California. He walked around, taking photos of fairgoers. People noticed, became suspicious, and the police questioned Rosenthal. But doing photography in a public place is not a crime, and so nothing came of it.

According to the police department:

“The subject was contacted by police officers at the Fair on that date and has been contacted again today for questioning. No crime occurred during this incident.”

Rosenthal probably thought that being questioned at the county fair was the end of things; after all, he hadn’t broken the law.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Josh Rosenthal (@two_stops_ahead) on Aug 12, 2019 at 6:32pm PDT


So it was most likely a huge surprise when he awoke the next morning to find his name plastered all over social media alongside accusations of pedophilia and of predatory behavior.

As it turned out, a number of fairgoers took videos and photos of Rosenthal at the fair, which depicted Rosenthal snapping images of a young girl. These videos and photos were promptly distributed on social media, capturing intense attention.

One poster writes “Hey moms and dads, beware of this P.O.S. at the fair. He’s going around taking pictures of…little girls, in dresses.”

Another poster compared Rosenthal’s actions to child traffickers, while a third wondered whether he is a “perv.”

Rosenthal was questioned once again by the police but was not arrested. We can be confident that no legal action will be taken against Rosenthal.

Rosenthal has plans, however. He will be reaching out to the ACLU, which deals with civil liberty cases. He explains, “This is more about the First Amendment and doxing than it is about me.” He also apologized to the parents of the girl he was seen photographing.

For all the street photographers out there:

How would you handle this scenario? And how do you handle taking photos of children?

One way to prevent this kind of thing is to ask permission before photographing children. The parents might refuse, and that’s okay; there are plenty of people to photograph in the world!

Another way to protect yourself is to avoid photographing children entirely. As Rosenthal found out, parents are often extremely uncomfortable with their children being photographed, and for good reason. While there are plenty of harmless photographers out there, dedicated street photographers aren’t the only people taking photos of children.

What do you think? Do you have any tips for avoiding these difficult situations? Do you feel comfortable photographing children?

Leave a comment below!

The post Street Photographer Attacked on Social Media for Taking Photos in Public appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

What You Can Learn From Entirely Different Photography Genres

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 08:30

The post What You Can Learn From Entirely Different Photography Genres appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Mat Coker.

If you spend any length of time within one photography genre, you come to the point when you wonder, what would take me to the next level?

Deepening your creativity often means making connections between unlikely things.

If you want to deepen your photography, one option is to take what you learn from one genre and apply it to another. Could you find something used in portrait photography and apply it to landscapes? How about taking an approach from birth photography and applying it to real estate photography?

Let’s explore the idea of combining approaches from different photography genres.

I had been out taking some landscape photos when I saw these canoes. A photo of the canoes on their own wasn’t working out for me. But when I saw this child come walking by it gave me an idea. I thought of all the street photos I had seen of people walking past interesting objects or backgrounds. For the fun of it, I adopted that concept here. I love the way the boots echo the yellow canoe.

What Portraiture can teach us about Landscape or Nature Photography

I’m a portrait photographer. What I love about portraiture is exploring the way people express their hidden selves through their body. You can see expression and gesture in feet, hands, and faces.

If you love to photograph nature and landscapes, you can take this concept of gesture (something we normally look for in people or animals) and apply it to your nature photography.

The more I focus on gesture in people, the more I see it in nature as well. Consider what Jay Maisel has to say in his book, Light, Gesture, and Color:

“Gesture is the expression that is at the very heart of everything we shoot. It’s not just the determined look on a face; it’s not just the grace of a dancer or athlete. It is not only the brutalized visage of the bloodied boxer. Neither is it only limited to age, or youth, or people, or animals. It exists in a leaf, a tree, and a forest. It reveals the complicated veins of the leaf, the delta-like branches of the tree, and when seen from the air, the beautiful texture of the forest.”

I believe something like gesture is what we’re after when playing with lines in a photo or even slow shutter speeds. Look at nature through the lens of gesture, and you’ll be more creative in your nature photography.

When I looked up at this tree, it was the gesture of the branches that drew me in. It takes decades for those branches to get there. Though they’re holding perfectly still, there is the feeling of gesture because of their shape.

I love to play with light. While photographing these flowers, a little lens flare struck my view. It’s very subtle, but on the right side of the photo, you can see a faint burst of warm light. It’s as if the flowers are reaching for the light.

What Wedding Photography can teach us about Food Photography

I’m not a food photographer, but if I photograph a wedding or event, I try to include a photograph of the dinner. Couples pay a lot for their meal, so why not add a photo? The problem is a stark white dinner plate full of food looks lifeless and uninspiring among all the other wedding moments. There was a disconnect between my candid event photography and my attempt at food photography.

Weddings are about writing a new story; joining families and sharing life. But I discovered that there is just as much of a story in the food as there is in the rest of the wedding. When I was able to chat with a chef as she prepared food for the guests, I came to learn how much she loves her craft. There is as much heart in the preparation as there is in the sharing of the meal.

So I began to photograph the meal just like I did the rest of the wedding. I took the heart of what I had been pursuing in all those candid wedding photos and applied it to photographing the food.

What Birth Photography and Real Estate Photography can teach us about each other

I can’t imagine two genres more opposed than birth photography and real estate photography.

If I tell a friend that I photographed a house for a real estate agent, they don’t care. They assume it’s just something boring I do for money. But when my wife tells people she photographs births, their jaws hit the floor and a passionate discussion ensues.

For most people, maybe photographers too, real estate photography is a boring necessity while birth photography is an exciting adventure. After all, one of those life experiences is about drama, emotion, and new beginnings, while the other is a series of appointments and paperwork until the ordeal is over.

Yes, but which experience is which?

Have you ever bought or sold a house? Then you know there is plenty of drama and emotion involved. Have you ever had a baby? Then you know there are plenty of appointments and paperwork. Both experiences – home-buying and having babies – are filled with the potential for adventure and emotion.

Try taking the obvious emotional excitement of birth photography and applying it to real estate photography. When you force yourself to flip everything on its head, you might see something quite different.

Many families have a negative birth experience. They’re treated like a commodity by their doctors and the hospital staff. A birth photographer knows that even if a laboring woman is given a bad experience by hospital staff, the photos still have to portray the unique beauty of the experience.

Even though real estate photography may often feel like a commodity, it can be a beautiful part of the story. First-time homebuyers are on an amazing life journey. Perhaps there can be more spontaneity and emotion in real estate photography than we first think – even if it’s hard to represent in typical real estate photos.

My wife, Naomi, made these birth photos. I love to see the range of emotion and depth of personality in her photos. But they certainly make my real estate photos look dull.


I know that my real estate photos are part of a larger story and every once in a while I have the chance to photograph that story. Sometimes that comes by being able to photograph the move-in day.


What Street Photography can teach us about Newborn Photography

If you’re tired of posing newborn photos, street photographers can be your guide. They are masters of spontaneity – taking whatever moments the situation gives to them. Street photographers are explorers of society. As a newborn photographer, you can be an explorer of human nature in newborns.

Wait and see what that baby will do. Take what the newborn gives you rather than forcing your vision and poses on them. There is nothing wrong with posing, but it can be exciting to explore other moments that happen naturally.

Do you know all those adorable photos of newborns wrapped in beautiful fabrics and placed in baskets? Well, this is the reality; a screaming newborn and bewildered older brother. Take the moments that come to you.

Think beyond your genre of photography

When you want to deepen your creativity as a photographer, begin with the principles of the genre of photography you’re working within. When you’re ready to go even deeper, go beyond the principles of your genre and consider what different photography genres might teach you.


The post What You Can Learn From Entirely Different Photography Genres appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Mat Coker.

How to Simulate Long Exposure using Stacked Image Averaging

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 06:00

The post How to Simulate Long Exposure using Stacked Image Averaging appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Rick Ohnsman.

Silky water effects, streaked clouds, motion-smoothed with an ethereal look; long exposure photography seems to be in vogue as photographers discover the looks that can be created. There are multiple ways to achieve this. The most basic is to buy a standard neutral-density photography filter which cuts the light, allowing you to use long shutter speeds without overexposing your shot. You can achieve exposures minutes long, especially when using 10-stop ND filters like the Lee Big Stopper or even the 15-stop Super Stopper.

I recently did an article on an alternative way to make long exposure photos, “Try this DIY Neutral Density Filter for Long Exposure Photos.” I encourage you to read the piece and learn how a piece of welding glass can be a budget substitute for more expensive photographic ND filters.

This is the same location I used for some of the other shots in this article but taken when the river was much higher and faster. The biggest difference is that I used DIY welding glass ND filter to achieve this shot. See my other article for this technique.

This article teaches you a third method of making long-exposure images with no filter at all. Unlike the welding glass trick which pretty much requires your final image to be monochrome so as not to have to fight the heavy color cast, this works great in full color, with no filter at all, and no color cast present. It’s a great method to simulate long exposure.

The technique uses a stack of multiple images of the same scene then processed with a Photoshop process called Image Averaging. It’s really quite simple and has some advantages over traditional methods with ND filters.

Advantages over the traditional ND filter method

When doing traditional long exposure photography with an ND filter you will be making long exposures.  (Duh!)  There are a few challenges with this:

  • If during the long exposure you bump the camera or things move in the shot you don’t want to be blurred, you will need to re-do the shot.
  • Long exposures can often be several minutes in length. Double the time if you also enable in-camera noise reduction. If it takes 2-minutes to expose and another 2-minutes for the noise reduction to work, you will only be making a shot every 4-minutes. This can really slow down your work, and if the light changes during that time, you could miss it.
  • With very dark ND filters, you won’t be able to see anything through the lens once the filter is in place. You will have to compose your shot, pre-focus, then mount the ND filter and make the image.
  • Determining exposure will take some calculation. You’ll check exposure without the filter then use a calculation tool to determine the new shutter speed the ND filter requires. Often this will need some tweaking after you see your shot and…yup, another re-do will be needed.
  • If back in editing you see the shots and wish you’d gone for longer or shorter shutter speeds to change the look, too bad. You’d have to go back and reshoot – if that is even possible.

In fairly bright sunlight, even with the ISO at 50 and aperture at f/22, 1/5th of a second was as slow a shutter speed attainable while maintaining proper exposure. This was with no filter.

 The advantages of the Image Averaging method

The advantages of using the image stacking method are essentially the opposite of those things just stated above:

  • You’ll be making multiple images rather than one long one. If one of the images in the group has a problem, you may be able to eliminate it and use the rest to still successfully create the effect.
  • You can see what you’re doing! Not shooting with a dark filter means you’ll still be able to see, compose, use auto-focus, auto-exposure, and even image stabilization if you shoot handheld.
  • No calculation! Without the addition of a dark filter, you eliminate this step.
  • Adjust the length of your “simulated slow shutter” later in post-production. Want more or less blur? You can change your mind later.
  • Are conditions too bright for a standard long exposure shot? Maybe you only own a 6-stop ND filter, and daytime conditions are too bright to let you get the length of exposure you’d like. You can combine both methods to simulate a longer exposure than possible with the ND filter alone.
  • Are people in the shot you’d like to remove? Because they are likely to move during the multiple shots, when the averaging process takes place, they will vanish!

Make people disappear! Notice on the inset the people walking in the river, but on the completed shot, 15 images, each 1/5th of a second = 4 seconds simulated. They are gone.

Making the shots

Setting up and shooting the images you need for your image-averaged creation is much the same as any photography. Here are the factors and steps to keep in mind:

Composition still counts!

Because you introduce a long exposure blurred effect does not mean that you will have automatically created a good photo. Still consider how to carefully compose your image. Take into consideration that moving objects in the shot will blur and look simplified with less detail. Good long exposure shots often emphasize the contrast between static, non-moving objects (buildings, rocks, trees, etc.), and moving objects like clouds and water. Include both in your shot.

Shoot on a tripod

I mentioned you could do this handheld and, well…maybe you could. However, even with this technique, you will still want to shoot at the slowest shutter speed possible. That way, you won’t have to make too many shots for combining. Once you get much slower than 1/30th of a second (and faster than that if if you’ve just had coffee), handholding your camera is probably going to ruin your shots.

All Images ISO 50, f/22 . Top left – No filter – 20 images each 1/5 second = simulated total = 4 seconds. Top right – No filter – 35 images each 1/5 second = simulated total = 7 seconds. Bottom – 6-Stop ND filter – 15 images each 20 seconds = simulated total = 5 minutes.

How many shots?

This technique simulates long exposure by combining multiple shots.  The simple formula is:

(# Shots) x (Shutter Speed of each shot) = Total simulated shutter speed effect (in seconds)

Let’s plug some numbers into that and see the result.  Set your camera for the lowest ISO possible.  I can get my Canon 6D down to ISO 50.  Some cameras will have ISO 100 as the lowest.  Use whatever you can.  Set your aperture to the smallest aperture possible.  Meter with those settings and see how long you can make each individual shot and have it properly exposed.  Say we were able to do this in the shade: 1/4 second, f/22, ISO 50.  To get a simulated shutter speed of one minute (60 seconds), we’d need to make 240 shots.

240 shots x 1/4 second (.25) = 60 seconds

That’s a little unwieldy, and stacking 240 shots in Photoshop may cause your computer to choke. So what to do? Perhaps you don’t have an ND filter in your bag, but you do have a circular polarizer. It will help reduce the light. You mount it and now find you’ve lost 2-stops. So your exposure can be 1 second, f/22, ISO 50. Plug that into the formula, and you get:

60 shots  x 1 second = 60 seconds

If you’re shooting in lower light conditions, you may be able to get a slower shutter speed to start with. That will mean you can take fewer shots.

To make your job easier (and the computers as well), always try to get the slowest shutter speed you can for your shots. That will mean you can create the simulated long exposure with fewer shots.

Say you did have a 6-stop ND filter in your kit. You mount that, and now your settings are 16 seconds, f/22, ISO 50. Now, to get that simulated 1-minute exposure, you’d just need about four shots. Why not make 10 while you’re at it and you can simulate a 2.6 minute (160 seconds) exposure?

Had you done this traditionally, and had a 10-stop ND filter, you could take the unfiltered exposure down from 1/4 second, f/22, ISO 50 to 256 seconds (4.2 minutes), f/22, ISO 50. So, to get the same effect with a 6-stop ND filter as you could with a 10-stop by using image averaging, take 16 shots.

16 shots x 16 seconds each = 256 seconds (4.2 minutes)

35 images each 1/6 second combine to simulate a 6-second exposure. Shooting into the sun, it would probably be impossible to make a 6-second exposure without a filter.

Forget the math, make the shots!

If all that math made your head hurt (it did mine), here’s the simple way to get what you need so Photoshop can do its magic:

  • Use a tripod.  You don’t want to do all this and get shaky shots.  That will waste all your work.
  • Do what’s necessary to shoot with the slowest shutter speed you can get with the equipment you have.  In the camera, that will usually mean setting the lowest ISO and smallest aperture.
  • If you have a polarizer or ND filter, use those to get the shutter speed even slower if you can.
  • Make lots of shots for each stacked image you will create.  Depending on how slow you were able to get your shutter speed, a few dozen isn’t too many.  You don’t have to use them all when you get into editing, but having more will allow a longer simulated effect.
Putting it all together

This recipe assumes you will be using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop in combination. You don’t have to use Lightroom. You can get your individual images into a stack in Photoshop another way if you need to (though using LR is much easier). Using Photoshop, however, is mandatory. Also, to use the Smart Objects function described, you will need a version of Photoshop that is Version 14.2 or higher. Older versions of Photoshop won’t have this.

There are ways to do this with older versions in a more manual process. If you have an older version, you will need to do a little online research to learn that technique. I used the latest version of Photoshop at this writing (Photoshop CC 20.0.4).

Let’s look at this step-by-step process visually…

1. From Lightroom, select the sequence of images you will use.  Edit the first one in the sequence to your liking.  Then select all of them and use the Sync function so all have the same settings as the first.

2. With all selected, send the images from Lightroom to Photoshop by going to Photo->Edit In->Open as Layers in Photoshop. (Photoshop will open, and the images will appear as layers in a stack). If you have a lot of images to be opened and stacked, this can take a while. Let it work.

3. With all the layers selected, in the menu select Layer->Smart Object->Convert to Smart Object. This can take a while to do its work. Be patient.

4. With the Smart Object layer selected, from the menu select Layer->Smart Objects->Stack Mode->Mean. This can also take a bit to work.

Wait for it…wait for it…and…

Presto!  You will have a simulated long-exposure image made from your stack of shorter exposures.  20 images each at 3.2 seconds, f/22, ISO 50.  No filter used.  Simulated long exposure of 64 seconds.

The water in this section of the river was pretty calm anyway, but look at the before and after areas pointed out by the arrow where the original shots were 3.2 seconds vs the combined 20 shots x 3.2 seconds = a simulated 64 seconds.

5. To finish up, go to Layer->Flatten Image.  Then File->Save As and save the finished image where you like.  If you want to give the completed image some additional tweaking, you can do that with Photoshop or Lightroom as you would with any other image.


That’s the magic!  Here are a few things to remember for best results:

  • Consider your composition.  Look for a scene where you will have a combination of static objects that won’t move during the sequence and those that will.  An image with both will be more compelling.
  • Use a tripod.  You can do this handheld if you must, but know that any camera movement will be translated as a blur in the final result.
  • Do what you can to get as long a shutter speed with each image in the sequence as possible.  Drop your ISO to the lowest setting, use a small aperture, and use polarizing filters or whatever ND filters you have.  Longer exposures for each shot mean fewer images are needed to create a simulated long exposure.
  • Overshoot.  You don’t need to use all the images in a sequence if you decide you don’t want as much blur. However, if you don’t shoot enough, you might later wish you had them.
  • As you work through the steps, some things can take a long time.  Be patient and let your computer work.  If the process crashes, it could be you don’t have enough computer resources and will have to settle for a smaller stack.

5 images, each 6 seconds = a simulated exposure of 30 seconds. No filter used.

10 images, each 1/4 second combine to give a 2.5-second simulated exposure. This can be a great technique to use for getting silky water effects when you don’t have an ND filter and only need a longer exposure of a few seconds.

Final thoughts

Is this a better method than using an actual ND filter? Like so many photographic things, the answer is probably…it depends. Maybe you don’t have a filter or have one with you. Perhaps you don’t need a really long exposure, but just one a little longer than you can get with a low ISO/small aperture combination such as when seeking blur on a waterfall. Maybe you need to vanish people and don’t want to make a single multi-minute shot for various reasons. Alternatively, perhaps you have an ND filter but need an even longer exposure than it can give you.

There are lots of reasons to add this How to Simulate Long Exposure using Stacked Image Averaging Technique to your bag of tricks. Give it a try, and I’m sure you’ll have fun. Share your images with us in the comments!


The post How to Simulate Long Exposure using Stacked Image Averaging appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Rick Ohnsman.

Sony 35mm 1.8 FE Lens Review [video]

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 06:00

The post Sony 35mm 1.8 FE Lens Review [video] appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

In this video, Chris Turner reviews the Sony 35mm 1.8 FE lens.


Sony 35mm 1.8 FE

This is what Chris thinks of the lens:

Build quality
  • While the build quality is quite good, it feels a step behind the 55mm 1.8 Zeiss lens. It’s about the same as the 85mm 1.8. It doesn’t feel high-end.
  • Has the function button on the lens which you can use to focus hold or eye focus. You can program it to a heap of different stuff.
  • It also has the AF/MF switch to change from auto to manual focus easily.
  • It is small – just slightly smaller than the 55mm 1.8 – with about the same thickness. It’s compact for travel unit.
  • Focus is speedy and performs flawlessly. It also works well in low-light and backlight situations. The video focus is also fast and accurate.
  • The lens isn’t weather sealed.
Image quality
  • The Sony 35mm 1.8 takes high-quality images. While the 55mm 1.8 has some really weird flaring in certain situations, the flaring in the 35mm is well controlled with a nice glow. If you’re backlighting an image, it’s going to look really nice with this lens.
  • Chromatic aberration is definitely present. It’s not great in terms of aberration control. It’s quite bad at f/1.8
  • The lens is incredibly sharp. It is easily sharper than the 35mm 1.4 zeiss, especially wide open. If you stop it down, it just gets better and better. If you are putting something in the edge of the frame, it still is quite sharp.
  • The colors are very nice and have plenty of contrast.

Overall, the 35mm 1.8 is an impressive lens.

Chris says while the 35mm is a great lens, it won’t replace his favorite lens, the 24mm G-master.


You may also like:


The post Sony 35mm 1.8 FE Lens Review [video] appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

Weekly Photography Challenge – Wires

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 15:00

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

This week’s photography challenge topic is WIRES!

Fré Sonneveld

Go out and capture absolutely anything that includes wires. It could be wires hanging off the side of a building, electricity wires, electronics, phone wires, washing lines, cable cars, chairlifts, wire fences etc. They can be color, black and white, moody or bright. Just so long as they include wires! You get the picture! Have fun, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Stella Caraman

Florian Wehde

Martin Fennema

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

Tips for Shooting WIRES

7 Steps to Create Street Photography Silhouettes

How to Create Powerful Silhouettes by Telling a Story

Photographing Buildings [Composition Tips]

5 Tips for Developing an Eye for Details in Your Photography

8 Quick Tips to Improve Your Photos of Architectural Details

The Ultimate Guide to Street Photography

The Ultimate Guide to Zone Focusing for Candid Street Photography


Weekly Photography Challenge – WIRES

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 #DPSwires 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 – Wires appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

How be a Second Shooter at Weddings and Why it’s Important

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 08:30

The post How be a Second Shooter at Weddings and Why it’s Important appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

Getting started in wedding photography takes more than your camera gear. In order to really get an idea of what photographing a wedding is truly like, becoming a second shooter can be the perfect way to get you started.

Why it’s important to be a second shooter?

Getting started in weddings means that you should have a high level of photographic experience not only technically, like how to use your camera, but also what goes into photographing a wedding.

Second shooting allows you to shadow a photographer, photograph the entire wedding, and get real hands-on experience without having all the pressure fall on you to get every photo right.

A second shooter can get creative with angles, perspective, and photograph key guests at weddings.

Being a second photographer can also give you insight into the customer service aspects of weddings like keeping to a timeline, knowing what to expect if something goes wrong, and seeing how each photographer you second for handles the pressure.

As a second shooter, you can also determine if weddings and events are something you’d even like to pursue. You also don’t have the pressure of booking a wedding client and then not knowing what or how to go about photographing it or if you’ll even like it.

Working alongside an experienced wedding photographer can also let you in on industry tips and tricks that they’ve learned throughout the years. You can also ask questions and observe how they work at a wedding. This will help you when you start photographing events as the primary photographer.

Difference between second photographer and assisting

Although it may seem like there isn’t a difference between assisting and second shooting, there is. Assistants are just that. They assist the main photographer with anything from carrying bags and equipment, to helping with veils, styling, or running to grab something for a photo. An assistant is an extra pair of hands.

Assistants generally don’t help photograph a wedding. However, depending on the terms that the main photographer has set up for the position, sometimes you may.

A second photographer is someone who helps photograph a wedding in tandem with the main photographer. As a second shooter, you are usually responsible for photographing the in-between moments and get a different, more creative angle on photos.

Reach out to photographers

The first step in getting a second shooting gig is to reach out to photographers that inspire you, are looking for help on wedding days, or people you know who wouldn’t mind having an extra photographer at the wedding.

Your email can be simple and concise like:


My name is ____________. Firstly, I love your work and it’s an inspiration to me as a new wedding photographer. I was wondering if you needed a second photographer at events, as I would love to learn the ropes before jumping into wedding photography full time. I have the following gear: __________. You can see my portfolio at

Thank you so much for your time!

Your name.

Emailing a busy photographer a short and to-the-point email is best. They may say no, which is okay. You should respond with a thank you email along with the message that if they ever need anyone in the future, you are available. They can then keep your information on file should they need a second photographer in the future.

Also, there are many social media groups where you can look for second shooting jobs in your local area. Many photographers can hire on the spot just by looking at your website and gear.

Make sure to sign a contract

Second shooting with a contract is highly recommended. Not all photographers do this. However, you can draft one up for them just in case they don’t have one ready.

Include the details of the event, how long you’ll be second shooting, what you’re expected to cover, and finally, the delivery of the photos and payment.

Many photographers will want you to use your own equipment and will ask you what you photograph with. If this is the case, make sure to put this in the contract as well.

Just as an important note as well, when you second shoot, the images that you take may not be under your copyright. Most contracts will state that copyright belongs to the main photographer since their photography business is the one who was hired by the couple.

Often, second shooters get the candid photos during a wedding event, like this one above.

This means that you’re a subcontractor. Therefore any images you produce are copyright and property of the main photographer – even if you photograph the event with your equipment. Check your contract for copyright and usage rights, if any exist.


Some photographers want you to use their memory cards or even their gear. That way, they don’t have to worry about syncing times, converting raw files into the same format, or image delivery delays to the client.

Try and get a different angle than the main photographer so you can add variety, like these two images of the first dance.

Take your gear with you. Doing so gives the main photographer the choice to let you use your gear or their gear, or a mixture of both.

When you email the photographers, make sure you list all the gear that you know how to use at 100 percent. In the event you don’t know how to you use your flash in manual mode, for example, then put down “flash only in TTL mode.” This can help the main photographer know your photography experience and may even help you learn manual mode or another photography tip!

Be all-in

Being a second shooter means that you are there to help the photographer with photography. While some second shooters take this approach very seriously, I believe that second photographers should also be at the disposal of the main photographer – within reason, of course.

This means that you help fluff up the dress, put on the boutonniere, help with getting flowers to the bridesmaids, and yes, maybe handing the main photographer a lens or battery.

You’re a team, and it’s important to be all-in when you second. The main photographer is helping you gain experience and learn. It’s best that you also help as much as you can.

While the main photographer focuses on the couple, you can use your eye to focus on other key moments during the wedding!

Each photographer works differently, however. Showing initiative and being accommodating can also help you get more second shooting gigs in the future with the same photographer.

Take what works for you

Second shooting is really helpful because you get lots of experience with different photographers and get to observe all the different ways that each one works a wedding.

Perhaps you vibe best with one photographer and not so much with another. That is okay. Make sure to thank the photographer for having you along. Then, in the future, only go with photographers you have a good rapport with and like to be around.

Also, you’ll be able to take away tips and tricks that you feel work for you. If one photographer was excellent at customer service, take away what they said or did, and apply it to your business. Another photographer may have created a really interesting image during the reception that you can try at the next wedding event you have.

Take what works for you, your style, and your business and leave the rest. That’s one great thing about being the second photographer – you can observe all and still have fun photographing a wedding.


When you are highly experienced in photography and can create quality images every single time, you may get paid anywhere between $25-$50 or more per hour for second shooting. Some photographers also offer a flat rate for a set of hours.

If you’re just starting out, you might not get paid, but the experience is completely worth it. Getting your feet wet in the wedding photography industry is more important because you’ll find that weddings are a high-pressured, fast-moving, and a once-in-a-lifetime type of photography.

You don’t get do-overs, so second shooting is the best way to get experience without paying the price for unhappy clients.

That being said, definitely ask the main photographer before signing a contract what the payment will be. Then you can choose whether the pay is acceptable or not. You do have the choice to take on second shooting gigs for free if you wish or ask for a set rate.

Some experienced photographers help other photographers out and so their pay rate is higher. While others do it to flex their skills, practice, or just fill up their calendar in between jobs.

In conclusion

Becoming a second shooter is a lot easier than you would think. Reach out to photographers that you admire and spend time observing how they work. When you’re ready, you can then start to photograph your own weddings if you don’t already do!

Do you have any other second shooter tips? Share them in the comments below!


The post How be a Second Shooter at Weddings and Why it’s Important appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

6 Important Considerations Before You Change Camera Brands

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 06:00

The post 6 Important Considerations Before You Change Camera Brands appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

I have finally started to change camera brands. I’ve been shooting Canon since my first ever SLR I got back when I was 16. I wanted to stay with Canon, but their current bodies do nothing for me. Also, the lens prices of the new R-mount system are insane. After spending a lot of time researching, as well as some hands-on time with the cameras I was considering (Sony, Panasonic & Fuji), I ended up moving towards Fuji.

I’ve purchased a Fuji XT3 with the kit lens and a 35mm f2. It has been a decision that I made on several factors, and so far I am really enjoying the images I am getting out of the Fuji. I haven’t sold off my Canon gear yet (nor will I likely do so in the immediate future) but I can definitely see me moving a lot of my kit in Fuji’s direction.

However, the move has thrown up a few surprises, which I wanted to share with you in this article. So without further ado, here are six things to consider before you change camera brands.

1. Know why

The question you must ask yourself is, what are you trying to achieve by moving camera brand? Changing brands is a long, sometimes painful experience that can be as frustrating as it is fun. It is also certainly going to be expensive. However, if you are considering a full-blown brand swap, there has never been a better time. The big two (Nikon & Canon) have changed mounts. This means, even staying with your current brand, you will eventually be changing your whole kit. So for many people, if you are going to move, the time is now.

Why did I move towards Fuji? Three reasons; the weight, the size, and the video functions.

I shoot weddings, and the appeal of lighter gear hanging off me all day is huge. Secondly, as I shoot in a documentary style, the size of the Fuji means the camera is not as intimidating as my 5DMkIV when in close situations. I have noticed in my son already that he is much more himself with the small Fuji camera, as opposed to my DSLR. This is what I see on paid shoots too. When shooting with the Fuji up close on a recent engagement shoot, the couple seemed to relax more. It is hard to put into words, but there is definitely something about the smaller form factor.

Lastly; video. Canon is purposefully, it seems, not putting the video features into its DSLR’s that Sony, Fuji & Panasonic are. I want to shoot more video and am starting to offer it to clients. Fuji beats Canon hands down here and was the deciding factor.

That’s not to say that other things such as Eye AF, a flip-out screen and 100% coverage with AF points are not things I want, they are, but they alone were not enough for me to make the switch.

You will find yourself shooting more to test your new gear out. Here I am testing the bokeh of the 35mm f2, whilst teaching my son to play chess. The smaller size means he acts more natural than when I point my DSLR at him.

2. Be prepared to start again

Unless you are willing to sell off all of your gear to fund your new purchase, you will no doubt (like me) dip your toe in the water first. As a professional, I simply cannot just go all-in on a new system. So it will be a switch over time. The lack of kit is in some ways quite refreshing. It is also making me think about what kit I will need as I begin to build up my new system. However, sometimes I do find myself reaching for my Canon as it has the lens option I want.

A change of system will be expensive and, in the interim at least, you will probably have less gear than you previously had. Remember, it is more than cameras and lenses – you will need to change things like flashes and flash triggers as well.

Little side note here. Pixapro (rebadged UK version of Godox) triggers for Fuji & Canon look identical. The method I’ve used to differentiate them is to color the little quality control sticker red on the Fuji trigger. A quick, simple way to overcome an annoying little problem.

Changing brands and starting again can definitely have a positive impact. As you begin to build a new system, you will think more about what gear you don’t use as well as what you find yourself missing. This means you can save some money in the switching process and lighten the load of your gear bag at the same time.

This was my new kit for 3 weeks. No high-end primes, no myriad of lens options. Just a kit lens. Frustrating, but it did make me think about photography in a way I hadn’t in some time.

3. Retraining the muscle memory

There is nothing worse than the downright dread of coming to grips with a new menu system. Trying to remember which button is the one you mapped for changing autofocus is somewhat frustrating. The remapping of your brain to work with your new camera system is one of those things that is initially fun and exciting.

However, that initial joy soon gives way to frustration. It is surprising how difficult it can be to move systems and retrain your brain to work with the new menu system. It gets easier quite quickly, but you will initially miss shots you would have got, simply because you forgot which button you needed to press.

This has been my workhorse for years. I can operate it in the dark without thinking. I will get there with the Fuji, but it will take time.

4. The cost of switching

It is easy to get carried away in thinking that if you sell off your gear, you will be able to switch systems without a huge outlay. Unfortunately, that isn’t usually the case. Moving camera system will come with a financial cost, and it will probably be more than you think. To move system and a new body and a set of lenses (24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8, and a fast prime) you will be looking in the ballpark of £1000-£4000. You can reduce the costs of this by buying secondhand glass. However, with the new mirrorless systems by both Nikon & Canon, the price of secondhand glass is still incredibly high and hard to find.

To give an example, I own the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS I lens. I could look to get around £700 for this secondhand at current value. To move to the new Sony G Master of the same focal length, I would need an extra £1700. To pick up a secondhand copy, I would still need £1000, and that is simply for one lens.

When you look at the numbers like that you have to ask yourself, will a change of system for this function be worth £3000? Is eye autofocus, in-body stabilization, and 100% AF points coverage really worth that much? For you, it may be, but do not think there will not be a cost involved in getting the features you need.

Many of you (like me) will be considering a move to a mirrorless-based system. Even changing to the same brand is now going to come with considerable costs as both Canon & Nikon have new lens mounts. I know that you can adapt existing glass for both these systems, but it will not work as well as the new glass designed specifically for the new mounts.

In both cases, the lenses for these systems are commanding top prices. Over time, these will drop, and there will be a larger secondhand market. But at the moment, switching to a Canon or Nikon mirrorless system, complete with native lenses for the system, is no cheaper than a complete change of brand.

I think the mirrorless camera revolution will see many people taking the plunge with different brands. Switching from a 5D Mk IV to an EOS-R is, in reality, the same kind of investment you will make moving to Sony or Nikon.

Again, most brands now have good quality adapters to use glass from other systems, so it does help you take those baby steps. However, the native glass will always give the best performance. Unless you have a great relationship with your bank manager (and/or partner), you may need to transition slowly to cushion the financial impact.

This was meant to be shot on my Fuji. However, the battery died and I had no spares. Luckily, my trusty Canon (and 4 spare batteries) to the rescue.

5. Will the grass be greener?

There is the honeymoon phase in any relationship. I am currently in it with my Fuji. No matter what the sensible part of your brain says, having new gear makes you get out and use it. The more photos you take, the more your photography improves. So, therefore, changing camera gear will make things better right? Well, maybe. If you changed for a specific reason and your new gear addresses it, then, yes, it may be better.

What is more likely, though, is that after the honeymoon phase, your camera will get used no more than your current kit. Your photography will not improve simply because of your choice to change systems. You will again find things that you don’t like about your new system and things you miss about your old one. This is simply because there is no perfect camera.

6. Could you spend money more wisely to advance your photography?

The biggest reason to pause and think about changing systems is whether you could make a different investment that will improve your photography more than a change of brand. It is well documented that lenses are a wiser investment than a new camera body. I have seen countless photographers move towards a full-frame camera, rather than invest in lenses, which is definitely a mistake. Lenses hold their value, will instantly give you better results and will last you way longer than a new camera body.

If you look at a minimum of £1000 to change camera brands, then think of what else you could invest that money in to improve your photography. Portrait photographers, that could buy you a great off-camera flash system with modifiers that will take your portraits to a new level. You could invest in new lenses for your current camera that helps you shoot better in low light, or give you more reach as a wildlife photographer.

However, look beyond gear. What could £1000 worth of education do for your photography? How about spending £1000 on a trip to locations that you have always wanted to photograph? In many cases, changing your camera system is possibly the least likely thing to advance your photography.

For most of us, we simply got caught in the hype and Facebook chatter about a new camera. We think it will be a magic bullet that makes us take more photos or better photos. But in reality, it won’t. You will have a shiny new toy that you love, until the Mark 2 comes out and you will convince yourself again that you need to upgrade.

There are lots of legitimate reasons to change systems. There is also absolutely nothing wrong with switching to a new camera system simply because you want to. Just beware of the hype that it will make your photos better because it won’t.

The Fuji will make me money. Will I make more money than if I had kept my Canon? No. My back, however, will thank me for the lighter weight.

I’m not trying to convince you either way (you probably wouldn’t listen if I did). I am just giving you some things to think about if you are looking to move from your current camera system. Happy shopping.

Have you made the switch to a new camera system or considering it? Share with us in the comments section below!


The post 6 Important Considerations Before You Change Camera Brands appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

Your Canon DSLR Might Be Hacked; Here’s What You Should Do

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 08:30

The post Your Canon DSLR Might Be Hacked; Here’s What You Should Do appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Do you use a Canon DSLR?

If so, watch out. Because hackers can exploit your camera and hold your images hostage.


Let me explain:

Ransomware is malicious software that hackers can use to infect your camera. Once the ransomware gains access to your camera, it encrypts your images, making them completely inaccessible to you.

That’s when the hacker makes a demand:

If you ever want to see your photos again, you must pay a sum of money. In return, the hacker will give you an encryption key, which allows you to break the encryption and access your images.

In other words:

The hacker holds your images hostage. And if you want them back, you have to pay the ransom.

For some, ransomware might not be news. Ransomware attacks have been going on for decades.

Except it was only this year that a company called CheckPoint demonstrated the hackability of Canon cameras. CheckPoint realized that Canon’s Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) could be easily exploited by hackers through a USB connection or, more disturbingly, over Wi-Fi.

Then CheckPoint carried out a ransomware attack on a Canon 80D, and they did it over the camera’s Wi-Fi connection. The attack required absolutely no interaction with the camera owner.

CheckPoint shared their findings with Canon, prompting the company to produce a security advisory that warns consumers of the dangers of a “third-party attack.” Read the full security advisory on the Canon website.

Canon is now working hard on a patch for this vulnerability and has already produced a firmware update for the Canon 80D.

Meanwhile, Canon has released recommendations for other camera users:

  • Ensure the suitability of security-related settings of the devices connected to the camera, such as the PC, mobile device, and router being used.
  • Do not connect the camera to a PC or mobile device that is being used in an unsecure network, such as in a free Wi-Fi environment.
  • Do not connect the camera to a PC or mobile device that is potentially exposed to virus infections.
  • Disable the camera’s network functions when they are not being used.
  • Download the official firmware from Canon’s website when performing a camera firmware update.

So for owners of the Canon 80D, I suggest you update your camera. You don’t want to remain vulnerable.

And for anyone else with a Canon camera, keep an eye out for Canon firmware updates. This is especially critical if your camera features a Wi-Fi connection, which can be exploited much more easily than a USB connection.

Do you own a Canon with a wif-fi connection? Will you be updating your firmware?

The post Your Canon DSLR Might Be Hacked; Here’s What You Should Do appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Three Mistakes That Kill Image Quality (and How to Avoid Them)

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 06:00

The post Three Mistakes That Kill Image Quality (and How to Avoid Them) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Adam Welch.

We all want to make the highest quality photographs we possibly can, right? Hopefully, you just gave a very slow yet very serious head nod in agreement to that statement.

There are a host of factors that play into the final quality of your digital images. Even the phrase “image quality” seems to be the best way to sum up all the pieces that have to come together for us to consider our photographs to be of high quality. Sharpness, composition, color balance and contrast are a few variables that jump to mind along with a multitude of others that we can and cannot control.

In this article, we’re going to look at three mistakes that you could very well be making with your photography right now which could be sabotaging your image quality before they ever leave your camera. Luckily, all of these mistakes are easily remedied once you realize they exist. Let’s get started.

Shooting “wide open” all the time

Make no mistake, from a lens standpoint, we live in an extraordinary time. Lens manufacturers have evolved to the point where we currently see extremely well-constructed optics with beautiful sharpness capable of shooting with relatively enormous apertures.

Not even a decade ago, you virtually could not find a “fast zoom” lens with a maximum aperture wider than F/4 for less than a $1,000US – at I least I never did.

Now, it has become blissfully common to acquire an outstanding F/2.8 or wider lens without taking out a second mortgage on your home.

This new age of lens evolution comes with a few caveats, though. Just because your lens is a low-light beast capable of shooting at F/1.4, doesn’t mean that is an ideal aperture for every situation. You see, lenses have certain “optimum apertures” which provide the sharpest results for that particular lens.

In most cases, the widest aperture of your lens, while providing the best light gathering and arguably the best bokeh, is usually the worst optical setting for your lens. The widest aperture setting of your lens often makes nasty little image problems more apparent. Chromatic aberrations, edge softening, and vignetting all become more pronounced when you shoot wide open.

The solution:

Stop down your lens, even if it’s only by a stop or two. You’ll lose some light, but you will also likely see a markedly visible increase in image sharpness and overall quality. While it’s true that not all lenses are created equal (some show shockingly fantastic performance even at their widest apertures), the outcome will probably only become better if you stop down.

A good F/1.4 lens will be great at F/2.8 and likely outstanding at F/4. If you’re worried about losing that “creamy” bokeh, you may be surprised to see how little background blur you lose with a couple of stops on the wide end of your aperture. It depends on the relative distance of objects in the scene as much as it does on the aperture.

So if you’re suffering from a lack of sharpness and heavy vignetting try stopping down that lens and observe your results.

Poor body mechanics

No matter your gear, conditions or subject matter, if your camera is moving unintentionally, then your images will likely never be as technically qualitative as they could be. Camera shake robs sharpness and can make an otherwise strong image unusable.

Some of us can naturally hold our cameras more steady than others. In-camera or in-lens image stabilization can help, and of course, a trusty tripod is always a good shooting companion.

All of those things aside, simply being conscious of your body mechanics can go a long way to improve the quality of your photographs. At the same time, a bad grip on the camera and poor bodily positioning can cost you a photo.

The solution:

Whenever you’re shooting handheld, be mindful of how your hands grip the camera and the position of your arms and legs. Keep a flat-footed stance with your legs about shoulder-width apart. If you’re using a DSLR or other interchangeable lens camera, grip the camera body firmly with your right hand with your left supporting the lens. Also apply slight opposing pressure (push with the right, pull with the left). Tuck your arms in close to your body for maximum stability.

This will work to help steady your shot. Along those same lines, gently press the shutter button instead of sharply pushing down, which can lead to the camera jerking.

Elbows tucked, solid grip and lens support.

Bonus tip:

Be mindful of a handy little formula called the “Reciprocal Rule.” This rule will help you approximate the slowest shutter speed based on your focal length to avoid moderate camera shake. The Reciprocal Rule is incredibly simple:

So, if you’re shooting with a 50mm lens, the slowest shutter speed you should use would be 1/50th of a second. Shooting at 100mm? Your slowest shutter speed should be 1/100th of a second and so on and so forth. This is not an ironclad rule but it is a highly practical one.

For more ways to obtain sharper images be sure to check out my other article 4 Simple Ways to Get Sharper Photos

Neglecting your settings

As simple as it sounds, not being cognizant of your camera’s settings is one of the most frustratingly preventable image quality killers that you will ever encounter. Consistently out of focus images? Check that your viewfinder diopter is adjusted to your eyesight – especially if you wear corrective lenses. Are your photos suddenly pixelated at high magnification? Make sure you haven’t accidentally changed your camera’s resolution (happens more than you might think) to a lesser megapixel count.

These are just a couple of points to consider, but there are many more. The bottom line is that if you aren’t continuously aware of what your gear is doing, not only are being a sloppy photographer, but you are also limiting yourself and your work for virtually no reason at all.

The solution:

Brace yourself for a huge surprise! Just kidding.

The easiest way to fix a neglectful mindset towards your shooting is to force yourself to remain vigilant. This means constant checks of your deep camera settings such as image and video resolution/format, camera firmware, and micro AF lens adjustments. Sure, keeping track of all these things isn’t an immersively fun experience, but neither are bad photographs.

Do yourself and your photos a favor and never fall into the trap of complacency when it comes to your camera’s settings.

Summing up…

We all could be better at doing the things we love. Each one of us, no matter how experienced or accomplished, will always make mistakes with our photography. The only way we can prevent those image quality mistakes from constantly occurring, and improve the quality of our photos is to make sure we are aware that anything is wrong in the first place. If you do not see the quality of images you would like, the first step towards finding out the problem is realizing that there is one. From there it’s just a matter of working the problem until you resolve it or significantly mediate it.

Put the tips we’ve listed here to work, and you’ll see your image quality improving immediately.

Oh and remember, we’re all in this together! Feel free to share any other tips for image sharpness, or if you have a sticky little issue with your picture quality, feel free to let us know in the comment section, and hopefully, the community can help!

The post Three Mistakes That Kill Image Quality (and How to Avoid Them) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Adam Welch.

Tips for Aviation Photography with a Canon EF 24-105 f/4L Lens

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 08:30

The post Tips for Aviation Photography with a Canon EF 24-105 f/4L Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM (and its upgraded version the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM) are great lenses. Like many photographers, the versatility of the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM makes it my go-to lens.

But while its reach is generous, the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM doesn’t quite cut it where a dedicated telephoto configuration is considered the norm. In aviation photography, for example, a long telephoto lens is the accepted approach to capturing airborne aircraft.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of ways to make up for the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM’s lack of ultra-telephoto capabilities. Here are some tips for aviation photography with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.

Amazing airshows

My first recommendation for anyone looking to get into aviation photography is to head to your nearest airshow. Airshows have an amazing array of interesting aircraft on display. In the air, airshow pilots operate nearer to the crowd with photogenic low n’ slow passes. This allows for closer, more comprehensive photography with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.

On the ground, taxing aircraft are a good subject for panning shots. Static displays allow photographers to get up close and personal with flying machines. They provide opportunities for the unique detail and environmental shots with which the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM excels.

Hang out at airports

Airports are another great option for aviation photographers. I have fond memories of wandering around airport hangars with my Dad as a kid. Unfortunately, those days are gone, with heavy security and fencing lining the perimeters of most airports nowadays.

However, the good news is that many airports do have designated plane spotting areas that can be located with the help of Google, Facebook or airport websites. Depending on the airport and conditions, you may even be able to position yourself under the path of aircraft landing or taking off. This is ideal for closing the gap between airborne aircraft and the maximum reach of the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. As long as you stay outside fenced-off areas, photographing under the flight path is perfectly legal.

While planning your shoot, check airport arrival/departure times and apps like Flightradar24 to track aircraft movements. Some airports accommodate mainly GA (general aviation) aircraft which may fly low enough for the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM to capture. Other, larger airports see hundreds of aircraft from mid-sized Dash 8’s to enormous A380’s coming and going within operational hours.

The Flightradar24 app is free and simple to use to track aviation traffic

If you are going to photograph at an airport, familiarize yourself with security precautions. Don’t use flash. Have your ID with you. Don’t enter into restricted areas and never operate drones in the vicinity of aircraft. If police or security do approach you, they usually just want to make sure of your intentions. Be polite and comply with any instructions they may give.

In addition, keep an eye out for specific airport open days, which can often include flyovers and static displays.

Fun with flyovers

Flyovers are aviation events conducted for occasions like memorials and anniversaries. Operating over landmarks of significance, the public is usually notified about upcoming flyovers through social media and relevant websites. Depending on the aircraft, flyovers are usually conducted at a reduced speed and a low altitude. They are a spectacular opportunity to get close-up shots of aircraft with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.

Flypast announcements usually specify the route that participating aircraft will take. If you get the heads up about a flyover, plan to be as close to the aircraft as you can. Many aviation photographers position themselves on nearby hills to be as near to the action as possible.

Look for larger aircraft

Depending on the airshow, airport or flyover, small airborne aircraft like the Cessna 172 can be difficult to photograph with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. If you can’t get close enough to a smaller aircraft to photograph it adequately, try focusing on larger aircraft instead.

At airshows and flyovers, aircraft like the C-17 (seen in the image below) demonstrate their vast abilities in impossibly slow passes – a perfect subject for the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.

For civilian aircraft, regional airliners frequent airports globally. If you get a good position at an airport (especially under the flight path), Dash 8, ATR 72 and Saab 340-sized aircraft and up will prove large enough to fit the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM’s capabilities.

A Bombardier Dash 8 on finals

Get in formation

Another way to fill the camera frame is to photograph several aircraft in formation. Here in Australia, a fleet of RAAF aircraft called the Roulettes make appearances at occasions all across the country. They perform precision maneuvers in hair-raising tight formations which make for great photography. Equivalent display teams around the world are sought after by aviation photographers because they photograph so well. If you’re shooting with an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, these teams are fantastic subjects.

Remember composition

Aircraft may be the main subject in aviation photography, but composition is key to creating an engaging photograph. For example, leading lines can be expressed through smoke trails, aircraft design, and the horizon. You can apply the rule of thirds to offset the key components of an image, creating dynamic momentum in a photograph. Color sets the tone of an image and texture illuminates the tactility of aircraft construction.

Aviation photography (and all photography really) is comprised of infinite combinations of the principals and elements of art and design. Composition brings order to these combinations, creating a comprehensive narrative. The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM may not have as greater reach as a dedicated telephoto, but conscientiously applying composition techniques can make up for the lens’ shortcomings considerably.

A panned shot of a Mustang taxiing to the main runway of an airshow

Take a minimalist approach

If you’re looking to photograph an aircraft at a distance with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, you can always take the minimalist approach. By photographing an airborne aircraft in an environment made up of minimal detail, the subject of interest is emphasized. In the example below, the minimal nature of the background accentuates the focal point of the image.

Move around

When everything is unfolding before you at an airshow or an airport, its easy to get into the habit of staying in one position. However, moving around is a vital aspect of aviation photography. By adjusting your perspective, you have a much greater chance of capturing something unique.

At airshows, there are plenty of interesting vantage points to make use of. Away from the main runway, taxiways and static aircraft provide great opportunities for interesting perspectives. Crouching, or holding the camera above your head to take a shot can also provide a viewer with an engaging point in which to enter a photograph.

At airports, change perspective as much as possible, altering your point of view under the flight path or positioning yourself at different spots around the airport perimeter. Make use of dedicated plane spotting facilities, but don’t be afraid to experiment a little.

Go abstract

Artistic renderings of aviation are well within the capabilities of the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. Abstract photography is a field of photography that removes the literal aspects of a photograph. Instead, abstract photographers rely on composition elements such as form and texture to create intriguing imagery. For many people, aviation is viewed from afar. Taking an abstract approach to aviation photography can create a fascinating insight into the artistic geometry of aircraft.

Capture the environment

Incorporating environmental elements such as the landscape, sun or clouds into your aviation photography adds drama and separates aircraft from a standard blue backdrop. In addition, including man-made features such as fence lines, hangars, runways and approach array into your images provides context, scale, and interest.

Golden and blue hour photography emphasizes shape and form and reiterates the ever-changing nature of the atmosphere in which aircraft operate. If you’re at an airshow, be sure to stay the whole day so you can take advantage of lighting conditions into the evening. If you’re at an airport, try a session around golden and blue hour to capture the effect of the setting sun.

A Bombardier Challenger during golden hour

Join the club

Joining a plane spotters group on Facebook is a great way to keep updated with interesting aviation movements around a particular area. The groups are also full of valuable information on how to get the best (and closest) shots possible. There are heaps of Facebook groups for thousands of different airports around the world. Those with info can update aviation-enthused photographers on flight movements. Plus, everyone is free to contribute their photographs to the group for discussion and advice.


There’s no doubt that the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM (and it’s big brother the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM) are assets to any photographer’s kit. While aviation photography tends to center around the intimate shots that a dedicated telephoto lens affords, a little research and creativity mean that the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is a great tool for capturing the unique spirit of aviation.

We’d love you to use some of these tips for aviation photography, and share your images with us in the comments!


The post Tips for Aviation Photography with a Canon EF 24-105 f/4L Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

How to Use Lightroom Mobile to Speed Up Your Workflow

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 06:00

The post How to Use Lightroom Mobile to Speed Up Your Workflow appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

One of the common complaints about Lightroom Classic is that it’s just not as fast as some photographers expect. When I get back from a session with hundreds of RAW files to process, the thought of going through each of them one-by-one is enough to give me a headache. The few seconds it takes Lightroom to load each photo for flagging or cropping can be enough to make you want to quit photography altogether! Fortunately, if you subscribe to Creative Cloud you have options. In this article, you’ll learn how to use Lightroom Mobile to dramatically increase the speed of your workflow.

One of my favorite aspects of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription is how you can take advantage of many of the features of Lightroom Mobile even if you don’t store your primary images in the cloud. You can store bite-size previews of your images from Lightroom Classic in your Creative Cloud account, which you can then load on a mobile device for editing.

After you finish editing on your mobile device, all the changes will be automatically synced back to Lightroom Classic on your computer. I use this technique all the time now, especially for culling and cropping after a long photoshoot. I think you might find it incredibly useful as well.

Sync with Lightroom

The first thing you need to do is enable syncing between Lightroom Classic and your Creative Cloud account. Click on your name in the top-left of the Lightroom Library module and choose “Start” under “Sync with Lightroom.”

This will then enable you to start syncing your edits. One thing to note is that if you have a basic 20GB Photography plan, the photos you sync will not count against your storage quota. That is only for images you upload directly to Lightroom Mobile or Lightroom CC, as well as any documents you have stored in your Creative Cloud Files.

After Sync is enabled, you can selectively sync any individual collection by clicking the arrow icon just to the left of its name.

This will start uploading previews of each image to your Creative Cloud account. While this is happening you can see the upload status by looking above your name in the top-left corner.

Completing the initial synchronization will take a few minutes or more depending on the speed of your internet connection. The individual preview files being uploaded are quite small, but if you sync an album with a few thousand images it might take longer than you expect.

One thing to note is that you can only sync collections that have been created manually by you. Smart albums, which are created dynamically according to rules you specify, are not possible to sync with Lightroom Mobile.

Edit on Lightroom Mobile

When the sync operation is complete, load Lightroom Mobile on a phone or tablet and the collections you synced will show up in your Albums list.

If you have never used Lightroom Mobile before you’re going to be amazed at how quickly you can perform operations like moving from one photo to the next, flagging/rejecting, cropping, or pretty much anything else you might do in Lightroom Classic.

Upon loading your images into Lightroom Mobile, you can quickly swipe between them to check for focus and composition. Simple gestures like swipe up on the left to assign a star rating and swipe up/down on the right to mark a picture as Pick or Rejected make the editing process much faster than Lightroom Classic. A few taps will let you quickly crop, rotate, and make basic exposure adjustments.

As far as individual features go, the two programs are almost the same. However, the mobile version has an interface designed around touch instead of a mouse/keyboard combo. This means some things don’t behave quite how you might expect, but once you get the hang of things, it’s not bad at all.

Lightroom on an iPad, even a basic version and not an iPad Pro, is extremely fast, fluid, and easy.

Since the images synced between Lightroom Classic and Lightroom Mobile are small previews and not full-resolution originals I would recommend against using the latter to check for accurate focus or do highly detailed adjustments. I find Lightroom Mobile most useful for just the basics like flagging and cropping, but your own usage might vary.

Lightroom on a mobile device lets you access almost all of the editing options on the desktop version, but I prefer to use it for just a few basics.

Sync back to Lightroom Classic

The beauty of this entire process is that as soon as your edits are applied to a photo, you don’t have to manually re-sync anything. Any edits you make automatically copy back to your original Lightroom files on your desktop. All you have to do is load up that program, wait for automatic sync to finish, and your pictures are ready for further edits.

Ever since I started using this Desktop->Mobile->Desktop workflow for my initial culling and cropping, I have found myself enjoying the whole process. I’ll sit back on my sofa or relax with a drink at the kitchen table while rapidly flipping through pictures on my iPad for the first round of edits. I’ll then return to my desktop, and the rest of the editing is much less stressful.

Finding the best photos out of a batch of 600 is much, much faster when using Lightroom Mobile.

This may seem a bit overwhelming at first. However, once you try this process, you will be surprised at how easy it is.

What about you? Do you have any other tips for speeding up your Lightroom workflow? Share them in the comments below!


The post How to Use Lightroom Mobile to Speed Up Your Workflow appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.