11 Stages That Every Photographer Goes Through

Posted by on Mar 25, 2016 in Fashion, Featured, landscape, lightroom, macro, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait, Wildlife

11 Stages That Every Photographer Goes Through

Get 25% OFF James’ ebooks: Essentials of Street Photography & Street Photography Conversations eBook Bundle now for a limited time only at Snapndeals. How the $*#$ do I use this thing!!?! While I hope you take this article as tongue and cheek, and realize that a decent amount of this is talking to my early self – the reality is that there is a pretty consistent learning curve that many photographers go through. While hopefully your learning curve will not be this extreme, I think that understanding it will help you to have as much fun as possible progressing through the photography learning process. Here is my belief about the typical progression, or the 11 stages a photographer goes through: 1. Auto mode and how the $@&# do I use this thing!? The camera sits like a brick for a couple months, except for when you switch it to auto mode to photograph your cat, or patio furniture in the snow. You take 12 self portraits with a hat on one day, staring at yourself in the bathroom. 12 years later, you still use this self portrait. The reality is that you have heard about 5000 photography terms that you think you need to know, and it’s overwhelming. You just don’t know where to start. While there are only five or six things that you really need to learn at this point to get started, nobody tells you that. We will cover these things in a bit. 2. GEARRRRRR Do you SEE how sharp those nose hairs are??! When you think about your camera, your heart starts racing, your blood pressure rises, your hands get clammy, and you start sweating. Your camera system begins to morph into this awesomeness of sheer technology and power, that it was always destined to become. Four lenses, five filters, a tripod that you tell everyone about that doesn’t actually work that well, a remote shutter release, a new camera strap, a flash unit, Lightroom, Photoshop, Silver Efex, a new monitor, a hard drive, a Wacom tablet, an ugly camera backpack where your gear can survive under water for 10 minutes, a light painting kit, 5,000 forum views, an HDR tutorial, and photo collages, oh my! Occasionally, you just take your camera out to stare at it for awhile before your wife catches you, then you get on the internet to read fondly about its dynamic range, yet you have only taken your camera out into the world a couple of times. Bonus points if you gave your wife a black eye due to your tripod hanging off your huge ugly backpack, on the way to catch a flight to an extended family vacation. 3. OMG, everything looks so awesome! Bikes! Macro, landscape, street photography, portraits, travel, wildlife, architecture, live music, sports, fashion, medical imagery and dental photography – it’s all so awesome! Turn...

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Ideas to Inspire Your Next Double Exposed Photograph

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Adobe Photoshop, Featured, landscape, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait

Ideas to Inspire Your Next Double Exposed Photograph

Double exposed images are the type of photos that make you do a double-take.They are captivating, evocative, and they invite you in for a closer look. Just like comedies and dramas are both genres of movies, double-exposed photographs are a genre of photography. Double exposure occurs from the additive exposure of two images. The idea is that the brightness of one image is added to the brightness of the other. So when overlaying a bright image over the dark parts of another, the overlaid image will either cut or texture through the dark contours of the base image. This style of photography used to be an intricate process that could be done on film, either within the camera or in the darkroom by developing two exposures in one frame. However, this process required a lot of planning—getting the frames to match up perfectly was rather tedious. Now, old 35mm cameras are a thing of the past, and the majority of digital cameras currently on the market don’t have this built-in feature. Fortunately, in today’s digital world, we can easily superimpose two digital images with a little help from photo editing software. Adobe Photoshop has a large arsenal of tools that can help create and enhance double-exposed images, but there are many other similar photo editing programs available, like Pixlr, GIMP or Paintshop Pro to name a few. Image Blending Process The process of making a basic double-exposed image in a photo editing software like Photoshop is simple. First, you need to select your images. The base image can be anything of your choosing. However, if you are just starting out, a dark base image with a rather neutral background and minimal details are good guidelines to follow. Dark portrait shots are commonly used for the base. The second photo is the brighter image that gets layered on top of the base image. This image can be anything that is abstract or has lots of intricate details or texture. Landscape photos, flowers, clouds, forestry, trees or urban architecture are a few examples. Blending the Photos Once you have selected your images, you can open them in your photo-editing software. You can then copy and paste and move your second photo on top of the base photo so that they are on the same canvas. In Photoshop, select the second photo layer in the Layers panel and change the Blending Mode from ‘Normal’ to ‘Screen.’ This setting creates the double exposure effect right before your eyes! Keep in mind, this is just a basic approach and there are many methods and adjustments that can be done to make a truly unique double-exposed photograph. The more you experiment with the tools and effects, the more creative your image will be. [REWIND: USING REFLECTIONS TO CREATE A DOUBLE EXPOSURE ILLUSION | ART OF THE SECOND SHOT SERIES] Tips and Ideas For starters, it...

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There’s A New SD Card Class | SD 5.0 VSC SD Is Faster & More Stable

Posted by on Mar 4, 2016 in canon, Featured, Photography Tips, sony

There’s A New SD Card Class | SD 5.0 VSC SD Is Faster & More Stable

Memory cards present something of a paradox in photography, and arguably have always done, and perhaps always will. The paradox arises because, on the one hand, every digital camera uses the ubiquitous little chips, and within photography forums they can often be found smack in the middle of heated debates, whilst at the same time they are treated with a sort of disdain when it comes time to purchase. It’s curious, very curious, that for a majority of people, the main criteria they go buy for purchase is size and price – that’s it. Actually, what it is, is fascinating, because you’ll see someone go out and drop inches of cash on a new DSLR or mirrorless, spend eons looking into the lenses and lights, and then when it comes to the critical piece of hardware that stores the fruit of the labor, they care little. It would appear that many feel a memory card is a memory card is a memory card, but a little education and understanding would rectify that. Of course, this doesn’t apply to you, our savvy, sexy Loungers. You are fully rounded photographers, with a degree from the university of photog-life, a diploma from the school of doing things right, and if you’re like me, three gold stars from the kindergarten of learning the hard way that not all memory cards are created equal. Once you start to push your photography environments and boundaries any photographer will begin to understand the high value that should be placed on memory cards, and before you get to that point it’s worth your time to learn about the various types of cards, what all the signs and numbers mean on them, and how to format them properly. This base will have your digital photography life operating optimally. I should interject here that I’m not simply speaking about catastrophic failure leading to data loss, but also card speed, and to that end, we should welcome the arrival of a new class of the ubiquitous SD card, the VSC SD (Video Speed Card SD). That’s right, the SD Association, the consortium behind the cards that bare their name, have pulled back their tiny curtains and revealed this new faster speed class for SD cards. The new SD 5.0 cards feature the fastest speed class to date, and are meant to support 4k, 8k, 3D, and 360 video recording – and by default, extremely fast still shooting. As it now stands, the speeds will begin at 6MB per second (V6) and lead up to 90MB (V90). Not only are the new cards faster, but the intention is to address and fix issues with previous standards, and all of which you can read in the company white paper here. The long and short of it was that the SD Association felt the current standards were self-limiting, and now with multi-file recording,...

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Four Smartphone Photography Tips For When You Don’t Have Your DSLR

Posted by on Feb 14, 2016 in Featured, macro, Photography Tips

Four Smartphone Photography Tips For When You Don’t Have Your DSLR

Conduct a quick web search and you’ll find dozens of iPhone 6 photo galleries that feature some impressive well-constructed shots. While these photos are impressive, photography pros aren’t ditching their DSLR’s just yet. However, smartphones can take some high-quality and innovative pictures and can be a fun backup option for photographers that don’t have their DSLR kits handy. Since the best camera is the one you have on you, here are four tips for getting the most of your smartphone photography. 1. Use It For Macro Shots Advanced smartphones such as the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy line are well-equipped with cameras that can take qualify macro pictures. Here’s a few suggestions: Find indirect sunlight. Not enough light and the limits of the smartphone will be exposed with dark images. Too much direct light and you won’t capture enough detail. Get the right distance. About two inches is the maximum for how close you can get to the subject when using a phone such as the iPhone 6. Experiment with different lengths. Use a macro lens kit that is specifically built for smartphones. 2. Install the right apps Taking quality smartphone pictures requires you to exert some control over the exposure and focus. Install an app such as Open Camera or HD Camera Ultra that allow you to manually alter the exposure, white balance, and even use an auto-stabilize feature for perfectly level shots. Other fun and useful applications include: Google’s Photo Sphere, allows you to take 360-degree photos and then move your screen to look around the seamless image. Fotor and other editing apps allow you to quickly edit and share photos Use VSCO for camera presets and access to galleries of stunning smartphone shots 3. Leverage the Particular Features of your Phone Some phones excel at low-light conditions (compared to other devices) due to being able to manually set lengthy shutter speeds. Speeds of up to 30 seconds are available on some models, which makes very low light photos possible. Check the specs of your phone to best match up sensor size, ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Image stabilization is found on some smartphones, helping to eliminate “shaky hand” shots. If you are always shooting outside or around water, then a purpose-built phone such as the Galaxy S6 is very durable can be used for underwater shots. It pays to conduct comparisons when shopping for a new phone and to understand your phone’s limitations and strengths when using it for photography. [REWIND: BATTLE OF THE IPHONE CAMERAS – FROM GENERATION 1 TO THE 6S] 4. Some Misc tips Smartphones sit in pockets with lint and keys, and they’re propped up on sticky restaurant tables. Clean the lens frequently with a lint-free cloth or distilled water and Q-tips to ensure images are crisp. Or keep it in a “notebook” style case to protect the lens. Buy a portable...

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Understanding the Focus and Recompose Technique

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in Featured, landscape, macro, nikon, Photography Tips, portrait

Understanding the Focus and Recompose Technique

Digital cameras have an array of squares or dots, that you see when you look through the viewfinder, which represent the points at which it is capable of focusing. Put your subject on top of one of those dots, press the shutter button, and you’ll get a nice sharp image….usually. But, sometimes your camera doesn’t light up the right dot, or your subject is out of the range of the focus points, or you want to select a specific point but you have trouble moving the buttons, knobs, and dials on your camera fast enough. If this sounds like you, or if you just want to check out a new way of using your camera, you might want to try the focus-and-recompose technique. Kids move around all the time, so rather than hunt for a specific focus point I used the center point to focus on their shoes and then instantly recomposed before snapping the photo. Every digital camera allows you several options when selecting which focus points to use such as: Full automatic – Your camera decides which dot to use, and what should be in in focus, often based on what’s closest to the viewfinder. Face Detect – Your camera looks at the scene to see if there are any faces and prioritizes those above all else. If there are multiple faces, it usually looks for the ones that are closest. Single Point – You select one point to be in focus and your camera makes sure that one specific spot is sharp before taking the picture. There are other methods as well, but these are the most common, and all of them are quite effective but can also be a bit limiting. Automatic and Face Detect generally work fine but aren’t always accurate. If you want to select the focus point yourself you will usually have to turn a dial or press a joystick on the back of your camera, which can cost you precious seconds, and lead to some missed shots. Focus-and-recompose inverts the equation a bit, and instead of moving the focus point around you focus once, and then move your camera around to compose and get the shot you want. Focus-and-recompose is a process wherein you select the focus point, often just one single dot or square in your viewfinder, and lock focus with a half-press of the shutter button. Then with a flick of your wrist you physically move your camera back and forth, or up and down just a bit, in order to recompose your shot will still keeping the focus where you locked it. It sounds a bit complicated, but once you get used to this technique it quickly becomes second nature, and is much faster than fiddling with buttons and dials to select a focus point every time. In the following image I have overlaid an exact representation of...

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