Hi. My name is Elliot Madriss and I teach a successful class at the continuing education facility as part of the University of New Mexico called “Stop Taking Crappy Pictures!”. This class was created as a direct result of my reaction to the very poor quality of images being posted on the Internet and on many professional sites – in my opinion, collectively we are losing our ability to take great photographs. With the advent of incredible cell phone technologies as well as the great sensors that now populate most DSLRs, taking snapshots has been made much easier. However as always, photographs (which are great works of art) are still difficult to take. But don’t blame yourselves, its in your DNA not to see photographically!
If you are buying your first DSLR camera, the available options that are out there can be pretty overwhelming. In this article, I’d like to walk you through the important similarities and differences between a few of Canon’s entry level DSLR cameras, currently the Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D, Canon EOS Rebel T5/1200D, Canon EOS Rebel T5i/700D and Canon EOS Rebel T6i/750D. While this won’t be an in-depth technical review, it will be a practical, hands on review that should give you enough information to make an informed decision about which of these cameras will work the best for your current needs.
Lens distortion is a common issue we photographers deal with on a daily basis. It can be split into two groups – distortion by perspective and distortion by optics. Be it one or the other, it often causes unnatural-looking deformation of photos we take. As a result, we end up searching for ways to address distortion issues in the field, or afterwards in post-production. Usually lenses with longer focal lengths produce less distorted results than wide-angle lenses. And as you might already know, distortion is much more noticeable closer to the edges of the frame than in the middle. If you shoot landscapes or cityscapes at wider focal lengths and you have straight vertical elements near the corners of the frame, distortion might significantly bend and skew those elements, making them look very strange. There are several ways you can address such problems, so let’s talk about those now.
There are very few decisions in photography more personal than picking a set of lenses to use. With the incredible number of options available – no matter which brand of camera you use – it can seem impossible to find the right lenses for your needs. Personally, I have switched out my entire lens kit at least four times in the past four years, and many photographers have done so even more often than that! There are no perfect answers for someone looking for what lenses to buy, but I hope that the tips in this article can shed some light on some of the variables that you need to consider for a set of lenses, whether you use Nikon, Canon, Sony, or any other lens manufacturer.
Arguably the most versatile adjustments in Photoshop are the layering and masking tools. Together, layers and masks make up a large portion of the work most photographers do in Photoshop, both for subtle and complex edits. However, if you are just beginning to work in Photoshop, these two irreplaceable tools may not be completely intuitive. In this article, I will cover the basics of using layers in Photoshop and discuss layer masking – laying the groundwork for far more advanced post-processing adjustments.
You have probably already read some great articles at Photography Life regarding framing of your subjects and all the rules that are applicable while doing so (if you have not, check out the section on composition in the photography tips for beginners page). This time around, I want to draw your attention to framing subjects with natural elements to create compelling images. For me personally, photographing is like narrating a story, so I often find it important to incorporate the surrounding elements of the scene along with my subjects. While you can certainly take fantastic photos isolating your subjects with creamy bokeh, I believe that decorating your shots with creative framing will help you add some substance and a pleasant visual appeal to enhance the story.
Have you ever wondered why you are instantly drawn to some photographs, but not to others? Or why some of your images lack that wow factor that you see in other’s. It may be related to how you compose your pictures. How a photograph is composed has a huge impact on how long we look at it. The longer our brain is allowed to wander through an image, the more likely we are to like it. Photographs that are not composed well do not have staying power, and are quickly discarded by our brain. In this article I want to discuss four very basic compositional tips. I won’t be talking about the “rule of thirds” or “leading lines”, but rather four pointers you should consider before you take a picture. These tips will save you a lot of post processing time, and will allow you to create much stronger images.
So while new gear is released and debated and salivated over this month I humbly submit that it may be worth a reminder as to why it means anything to us at all. Something to do with taking photos, I think, I’m not really sure. But while a newer sensor or greater ISO range or more AF points gets your hearts racing again as when the world was new, at some point we’ll need to remember to take some photos. This is in no way to diminish the enthusiasm people have for new equipment but perhaps I can be a small counterpoint to the frenzied gear fetish and dwell on some images.
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 are compared to this as the standard. For example, light from an incandescent light bulb appears to be more orange than sunlight. On the opposite side of the spectrum, shady areas appear to be more blue than sunlight. In photography, we refer to these differences as being “warmer” (or more orange) and “cooler” (or more blue) than our neutral sunlight reference point. In this article, we will go over the basics of white balance and color temperature, topics that can be a bit intimidating for beginners to understand.
In this article, I will be responding to a detailed email from one of our readers, John D, who had a bad experience moving up from a CX to a DX camera. John started out with the Nikon 1 J1, then with hopes that he would get better results, tried out a Nikon D3300. After facing a number of issues listed below, he ended up returning the D3300. Since this type of a situation often happens to many photographers, whether they move from a cropped sensor camera to full-frame, from a mirrorless camera to a DSLR or the other way around, I thought it would be useful to share my thoughts on the matter with our readers.