Choosing a Creative Exposure – A Beginner’s Guide

There are many combinations of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO that will correctly expose an image. With all those combinations, which one is the right one? If you leave your camera in full program mode, your camera will pick a combination for you. However, letting your camera have complete control is not why you bought an expensive DSLR or mirrorless camera! Learning how to adjust the settings and modes on your camera before you click the shutter will give you…

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The Exposure Triangle – A Beginner’s Guide

For many starting out in photography, the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO can be confusing. To further muddy the water, the terms ‘stop’ and ‘f-stop’ are often used interchangeably but refer to different things. In this article, I would like to take some of the mystery out of these concepts by talking about the exposure triangle and why it is important to understand for those who are starting out. Please keep in mind that the concepts in this article…

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Recommended Canon 5D Mark IV Settings

With the arrival of the much-anticipated Canon 5D Mark IV, many photographers might be either moving up to, or upgrading their existing Canon 5D-line cameras to this latest and greatest tool. The 5D line has always been Canon’s stronghold for most types of photography, particularly because of its amazing low-light performance, reliable autofocus, superb ergonomics, solid build and overall stability, making it a preferred DSLR among most professionals. Due to the numerous buttons and the sophisticated menu system of the…

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Focus Stacking Tutorial for Landscape Photography

A lot of landscape photographers are interested in focus stacking — combining multiple images of the same scene, each focused at different distances, into a single photo. This is a useful tool to have at your disposal, since it lets you take pictures in more situations than you otherwise could. For example, if elements of your photo are very close to your camera, focus stacking may be the only way to get a sharp shot. Although I don’t use this…

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Glass vs Resin Filters – Are There Any Differences in Sharpness?

Landscape photographers often deal with the dilemma of choosing between different types and brands of neutral density and graduated neutral density filters for use in high-contrast situations such as sunrise and sunset, where their cameras might not have enough dynamic range to be able to capture the entire scene. While we are not going to go over each and every brand to see which one performs better, we do want to show the difference in sharpness between glass and resin…

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How to Critique Your Photos Accurately

In general, photographers are very good at deciding how much they like someone else’s photo. It isn’t hard — your first reaction to a shot is either positive or negative, and it typically doesn’t change much after that. Things get more complicated, though, when you’re talking about your own work. For me, at least, I find it tough to judge the quality of some photos I’ve taken. Sure, I know when a photo is awful, but what about the other…

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How to Use Wide Angle Lenses

Wide-angle lenses are incredibly popular for landscape photographers, but they can be very tricky to use. The main problem is that these lenses are so different from the way we normally see the world, which makes it easy to use them incorrectly. Still, wide-angle lenses are one of the most important tools that you have at your disposal, and — used well — they can lead to spectacular photos. In this article, I will cover everything you need to know…

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Which Camera Settings Affect RAW Photos?

Most of us think we have a good understanding of the camera settings that affect your RAW photos — it seems like common sense. However, the more that you look into it, the more complicated that this topic gets. In fact, no matter how much you know about your camera, chances are good that you have a few misconceptions about the camera settings that affect your RAW photos. Does high-ISO noise reduction change the way your camera records a RAW file? What…

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What Is Color Banding and How to Fix It

Working on your photos in Photoshop, you might have come across the situation where you begin to see weird lines appear in places where they shouldn’t be and weren’t before. This issue is especially common for very smooth gradients, such as skies, and can undoubtedly destroy even the most beautiful photo. And unlike other problems, this issue doesn’t seem to be triggered by anything particular; one moment it’s not there and the next time you look at the image –…

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How to Photograph the Mercury Transit

Every so often, the planet Mercury lines up perfectly between the Earth and the Sun. When it does, astronomers and photographers have a relatively rare chance to see and photograph the planet Mercury transiting across the Sun. Next Monday (May 9) is one of those opportunities. In this article, I will cover some tips and techniques for photographing this year’s Mercury transit.

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How to Choose the Sharpest Aperture

Photographers have a dilemma. If you want your photographs to have the largest possible depth of field – from the foreground to infinity – a small aperture is absolutely necessary. At the same time, though, a small aperture causes your photograph to lose sharpness from diffraction. So, where’s the sweet spot? In this article, I will cover how to choose the sharpest possible aperture for such a photograph, including mathematically accurate charts (free for printing) that are easy to use…

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What Is Lens Diffraction?

When photographers talk about lens diffraction, they are referring to the fact that a photograph grows progressively less sharp at small aperture values – f/16, f/22, and so on. As you stop down your lens to such small apertures, the finest detail in your photographs will begin to blur. With good reason, this effect can worry beginning photographers. However, if you understand how diffraction impacts your photographs, you can make educated decisions and take the sharpest possible photographs in the…

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Hyperfocal Distance Explained

Hyperfocal distance can be a confusing topic, both for beginning and expert photographers. However, if you want to take the sharpest possible images, particularly landscape photographs, it is simply invaluable. In this article, I will explain hyperfocal distance and give several methods to get the sharpest possible photographs with maximum depth of field. This article covers hyperfocal distance charts, as well as other, simpler methods to find your hyperfocal distance.

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How to Use Perspective Corrections in Lightroom and Photoshop

A couple of weeks ago I wrote the article “Four Simple Tips for Better Composition”. In that article, I discussed in-camera techniques for keeping your horizons level and verticals vertical. However, even if you are careful, this is not always possible. This is especially true when trying to take pictures of tall buildings. I received several great comments mentioning that Photoshop’s powerful “Transform” tool can be used to correct the keystoning issues that arise in such a situation. I thought…

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Beginner’s Guide to Nikon Creative Lighting System

So you want to get your flash off camera? If you want to improve your flash lit portraits you need to get your flash off the camera. A great way to start is to use Nikon’s own CLS (Creative Lighting System). Since a lot of people will own one of the Nikon Speedlights, getting it off camera and triggered remotely is a very straightforward and relatively inexpensive task. In this article, we will explore the basics of Nikon’s Creative Lighting…

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Understanding White Balance – A Beginner’s Guide

No matter what you photograph, there is one thing you should realize about light. Not all light is created equal. I’m not talking about the quality of light, but rather the color of light. What you might see as white light from different sources can actually have different colors, or what are referred to as color temperatures. Direct sunlight at noon (which I’ll just refer to as sunlight) is considered to be a “normal” color temperature, so all light sources…

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Drone Photography Tutorial

Drones – often called unmanned aerial vehicles – have become vastly more common over the past few years. In the United States alone, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts that more than one million drones will be sold over this holiday season; many more will be sold in other countries across the world. Whether you love or hate the growing prevalence of drones, their popularity has never been greater. In this tutorial, I will share some tips that I have…

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Lens Aperture Chart for Beginners

Aperture is a confusing topic for beginners in photography – it controls so many variables in your images, from exposure to depth of field, which can make it quite difficult to grasp initially. To make matters worse, the F-numbers of aperture are backwards from what you may expect! A small aperture is a large F-number, and a large aperture is a small F-number. I certainly was confused by aperture when I first started taking pictures, and it took me quite a while to really understand how it works.…

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Are Polarizing, ND and UV Filters Useless?

Every once in a while, you will hear some photographers claim that lens filters are completely useless. Some will argue that only specific types of filters such as UV and protective filters are evil, while others will also include polarizing and ND filters into the mix, claiming that one could reproduce the effects of all those filters in post-processing software. Arguments for or against filters can spark a lot of heated debates in the photography community, similar to topics such…

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How to Significantly Reduce Your Backup Needs

One of the biggest issues many of us photographers face is the gigantic size of our photo libraries, which creates a lot of issues for backing up and restoring images. While we have written a number of articles on properly backing up images, with a recent article on a backup workflow, we have not spent much time on managing the backup size and reducing it. After-all, if the backup size itself is significantly reduced, the time it takes to back…

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