Introduction to Aperture in Photography

Many photographers struggle with some of the most basic and fundamental concepts of exposure in photography, getting frustrated with not being able to take good pictures. Unfortunately, some get stuck in automated modes, preferring to let their cameras decide everything for them. In order to help our readers explore the full potential of their camera gear, we will start by exploring one of the pillars of photography – aperture (the other two being ISO and Shutter Speed). Without a doubt,…

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Introduction to Shutter Speed in Photography

One of the three pillars of photography is Shutter Speed, the other two being Aperture and ISO. Shutter speed is responsible for two particular things: changing the brightness of your photo, and creating dramatic effects by either freezing action or blurring motion. In this chapter of Photography Basics, we will explain everything you need to know about shutter speed, in very simple language.

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Necessary Camera Equipment for Beginners – Photography Basics

Everyone’s favorite part of photography is camera equipment. I’m kidding, of course — although that is the impression you’ll get from certain photographers. But no one can deny that some gear is necessary in order to take pictures. At the very least, you need a camera and lens, but there are also important considerations like software and other accessories. This article dives into the most necessary and important camera equipment you need for photography, including some of our top recommendations.

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What Are Histograms? A Photographer’s Guide

Histograms are the solution to a fundamental problem in photography: Our eyes don’t always tell the truth. Have you ever been in a dark room, turned on your phone, and felt it blind you like nobody’s business? The same thing can happen in photography. Several times, I’ve taken pictures at night, and they look great on my camera’s LCD — until I open them the next day on my computer and realize they’re all hopelessly underexposed. Enter the histogram. This…

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Everything Aperture Does to Your Photos

Have you ever wanted to learn everything about aperture? Not just the basics — every single effect aperture has on your photos? Although you can find that sort of information scattered across a handful of sources online, I don’t know of any resource that combines everything into one single place. That can make things difficult if you’re trying to get the big picture of how aperture works. So, here, we’ll explain everything aperture does to your photos, from sharpness to…

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How to Take Sharp Landscape Photos

It’s something we all care about, right? Sharpness. As a landscape photographer, with very few exceptions, taking sharp photos will be an important part of your work. That’s why you’ve spent so much time learning about the technical side of photography — and so much money buying high-quality camera equipment. This article covers everything that matters if you want your landscape photos to have as much sharpness and detail as possible, including the 15 most important tips to keep in…

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Depth of Field Myths: The Biggest Misconceptions

Depth of field causes more confusion among photographers — beginners and otherwise — than nearly any other topic out there. Many “common knowledge” tips about depth of field have some flaws, or are at least partially inaccurate. At a personal level, it took me far too long to separate the good suggestions from the bad, and I eventually realized that I had been relying upon some erroneous information for years without knowing better. My goal with this article is not to make…

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Why Leveling the Horizon Isn’t Easy

It might seem like one of the simplest parts of photography: leveling your horizon. Most photographers want their horizons to be straight, of course, but this isn’t an area of photography that gets too much attention. And why would it? Leveling the horizon is a very easy task — right? In practice, though, it requires more care than many people think. You can’t just rely on your camera’s “virtual horizon,” or your post-processing software’s “auto straighten” tool. Our perception of…

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How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse

When photographing a solar eclipse, there are a few very important considerations you have to keep in mind to avoid damage to your camera equipment or to your eyes. In this article, we will take a closer look at where you should physically be at the time of totality, what equipment you should have on hand, what safety precautions to take before, during and after the solar eclipse, and what framing and composition aspects to consider. Keep in mind that…

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How to Photograph Sunrises and Sunsets

There are no times of day more famous for photography than “Golden Hour” — sunrise and sunset. Although great light can happen at any time, the edges of the day are perhaps the most consistent sources of inspiration you can find. Still, just because they’re beautiful doesn’t mean they’re easy to photograph. In this article, I’ll cover some suggestions for capturing sunrise and sunset as well as possible, including tips for exposure, creativity, and post-processing.

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Recommended Nikon D850 Settings

The Nikon D850 is perhaps one of the most advanced DSLRs made by Nikon to date. As a result, it comes with a lot of controls and menu settings that might be confusing for many photographers out there. In this article, I will provide information on what settings I personally use and shortly explain what some of the camera buttons and controls do. Please do keep in mind that while these work for me, it does not mean that everyone…

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Fall Foliage Photography Tips

It is no secret that the fall / autumn season attracts many photographers to the most scenic locations of the world. Photographing fall foliage is a rewarding experience, as it presents very unique opportunities when capturing the transformation of otherwise boring locations into stunning displays of color. I have been photographing fall colors for many years now and I have been fortunate to acquire some knowledge on what specific tools and photography techniques work best in the field. In this…

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Why Hyperfocal Distance Charts Are Wrong

One of the most misunderstood parts about landscape photography is the correct way to fit your entire scene within a photo’s depth of field. Where do you focus? What aperture should you use? You might think that these questions are easy to answer with a hyperfocal distance chart, where you provide your focal length and aperture, and the chart tells you exactly where to focus. There’s only one hiccup — if you want the sharpest possible results, these charts are…

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How to Focus in Macro Photography

If you’re trying to photograph the small world of plants and bugs, you’ll face plenty of challenges along the way. Macro photography is a difficult genre — you’re pushing up against the physical limits of depth of field, diffraction, and motion blur. Naturally, focusing in macro photography isn’t an easy task, but it’s a crucial one. How do you optimize your focusing technique for capturing small subjects? The answer depends upon exactly what you’re photographing.

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Semi-Automatic Camera Modes Explained

It’s common to think that most professional photographers, or all professional photographers, shoot in manual mode, for the simple reason that it offers the greatest possible control over a photo. Why would you leave your camera to make important decisions without your input? However, as valuable as manual mode is, you may not need to use it 100% of the time — even as an advanced photographer. In this article, I’ll explain semi-automatic modes and cover some cases where they…

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How to Photograph Fireworks

Wondering about photographing fireworks on 4th of July, New Year or some other event / occasion? In this article, I will provide some basic tips on how to best capture fireworks, what type of equipment to use and what camera settings to use during the process. Although the process is relatively simple, there are some things that might be worth considering, as outlined below.

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What is the Second Sunset?

In the second of a series of follow-up articles to The Quality of Light, I have posted this article to share a series of photographs (along with the thought processes behind them) that captures the quintessence of a well-known and spectacular light display, often referred to as the ‘Second Sunset’. As with many of my previous articles, my goal with this post is to encourage my fellow photographers to be inspired by light, composition, and mood, to spur them to explore…

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How to Take Sharp Photos in the Wind

Normally, if you’re using a tripod, camera shake isn’t something you’ll have to worry very much about. However, there are some obvious exceptions. If you’ve ever found yourself taking pictures in heavy winds, you’ll know the difficulties of capturing sharp photos — particularly if you’re using a telephoto lens. This seems like an impossible situation; what do you do when a tripod isn’t enough to stop your camera from shaking? Luckily, there are ways to improve sharpness even in windy…

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How to Use Lightroom: A Complete Tutorial for Beginners

Adobe Lightroom is a behemoth of photography software with enough functions and processes to make any photographer crazy. At the simplest level, though, Lightroom was created to help you do just three main things: sort your photos, post-process them, and export them. On Photography Life alone, we already have more than 100 articles about Lightroom — the equivalent of several books — and other websites have countless more. Clearly, it is an important topic to learn, whether you are just…

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Must-Have Gear for a Traveling Photographer

As a busy photographer who travels quite a bit both within the USA and overseas, I have gone through many types of gear in my camera bag. While some of the gear and accessories are absolute necessities I will not leave my home without, others can be very useful in particular situations or when traveling to other countries. In this article, I would like to go over my top must-have gear for travel and discuss why you might consider including…

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