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 shots? This article covers some tips for looking at your work with a better critical eye.

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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 about using wide angle lenses and how to make the most out of them.

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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 about long exposure noise reduction? Color space? Or Active D-Lighting, for Nikon users? The answer to two of these four examples is yes. In this article, I will cover all the noteworthy camera settings that affect your camera’s RAW files, including some that you may not expect.

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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 – there it is. So, let’s figure out what this is, why it happens and how to fix it.

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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 in the field.

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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 field. In this article, we will explore the topic of lens diffraction in detail and talk about different techniques you can utilize to avoid it.

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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 it would be a good idea to follow that last article up with one on post-processing methods for perspective corrections. I will go over a couple of ways to quickly fix horizons in Lightroom and how to easily improve/correct keystoning in Lightroom. I will also go over some more advanced techniques for perspective correction using Photoshop, for when the Lightroom methods don’t quite make the grade. The combination of good in-camera image creation and post-processing perspective corrections should allow you to create images that reflect how are eyes see and our brains perceive the world around us.

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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 System and set things up to photograph an image like this:

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