photography tutorial


Creativity Exercise: 10 Tips for Creative Overhead Shooting

This month’s creativity challenge is all about changing your perspective. Approaching a subject from all sides, far, near, overhead, and beneath is a wonderful way to explore light, angles, composition, and qualities of your subject you might otherwise have missed. This month, however, we are going to focus strictly on overhead shooting, from the extreme birds-eye view to a simple standing position with the camera pointed downward.(…)

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final edit with no reflector by Winnie Bruce

How I edit to get the glow of a reflector in Photoshop

For many photographers, a reflector is a great tool to use for bouncing and manipulating light. Often times, depending on the location and the subject, a reflector would really be very beneficial. For example, if it’s completely overcast, it’s a great way to introduce light to your subject. Also, it’s another way to enhance skin. I am, however, one of those photographers that notoriously forget my reflector. I love using it, but sometimes, I just forget it, or I use too long of a lens (like my 135mm lens) that I can’t hold my reflector and shoot at the same time.(…)

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wide angle beach photo by Nicole Begley

5 fun tips for wide angle photography

When I first started got interested in photography I thought that you chose your lens based on how far you are from your subject. Photographing something nearby? Use the 35mm. Photographing something far away? That calls for the 200mm. Turns out that our lens choice should be based on much more than simple distance!

Wide angle lenses are generally 35mm lenses and below. They have an incredible field of view and a 15mm fisheye on a full frame sensor can capture an approximate 180 degree view! This incredible field of view can make these lenses challenging to use, but also create some fun and unique images of your summer adventures!(…)

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girl holding flowers by Thea Courtney of Cocoa Jones Photography

6 ways to capture the fleeting moments of childhood

I often tell people that I love to capture the ‘in-between moments’ most of all. Searching for and finding quieter moments is a skill that has come through practice, and I’ve found that the more observant and intentional I become as a photographer, the more pleased I feel about my images.

Here, I will share with you some of the things that I’ve learnt along the way, in order to help you recognise that enigmatic, fleeting ‘in-between’ moment.(…)

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photo of girl looking at flower by Pooja Chauhan

Why artists need a personal project and 4 tips to accomplish it

We get into photography because it’s a great creative outlet, it’s an amazing hobby. But then as you get more into creating pictures for others or getting into business, it completely swallows you and you stop making the time to do what you love and what started you in it in the first place! It’s a shame to get burnt out and stop doing what you loved so much initially. I’m sure we can all relate to that, I certainly do!

For this reason, you need to purposefully allocate time for personal projects. If you don’t make the effort to do creative projects that you feel passionately about, you are just going to lose interest and get burned out very quickly.

Here are some tips to spark the fire again and get the creative juices flowing.(…)

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vase and flowers pullback by Beth Deschamp of Bethadilly Photography

How I took these photos in my small 700 square foot apartment

When I first started my journey with photography, I was living in a 700 square foot high-rise apartment in the city with only one wall of windows. My windowless kitchen was completely dark and living in a tiny space brought on its challenges when it came to photographing my everyday. It was in this tiny apartment that I started and completed my first 365 photography challenge, by taking one photo every single day for a year. Not only did I learn so much about my camera skills, but I also found myself learning about how to take a small space and portray it completely different in photographs.(…)

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1 Jake! by Kristen Ryan

18 can’t miss shooting locations in Jackson Hole

Grand Teton National Park, in Jackson Hole, is one of the most incredible natural places to travel in the United States. The Teton mountain range, with its jagged peaks, rises majestically out of the valley, mesmerizing visitors from tiny toddlers to seasoned traveling adults. Just try to drive through without falling in love with this magical place. (…)

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boys playing by an abandoned barn by Eliz Alex Photography

6 outdoor photography ethics and etiquette

As an outdoors enthusiast, I’ve done a lot of traveling, hiking, camping, and exploring in the many beautiful national parks, bureau of land management properties, state parks, local parks, preserves and privately owned flower fields across our wondrous country.

In the outdoor world there are 7 Leave No Trace Principles that help to protect and save our environment for the animals, trees, and nature that live there and to protect it for others to enjoy now and in the future. A(…)

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silhouette of tree and child by Lauren Penland

The versatility of backlighting

Backlight is my absolute favorite.

If given the choice of any lighting situation, I always choose backlight, no matter my subject. It is magical and it is flattering and believe it or not…versatile. I can place my subject in-between me and the sun and get so many different effects. I can create a sun-soaked, low contrast dreamy image or even a dramatic, moody image with emphasis on shadows. Here are some examples and how to achieve the desired result.(…)

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girl playing in window seat by Kelly Marleau of Fiddle Leaf Photography

8 creative ways to use window light

I have a window in my house that I’ve fallen hard for. It’s a bay window in our family room. It has unfinished casing, chipped paint on the ledge, and is incredibly cold in the winter, but it still doesn’t stop me from loving it. It faces west out to our backyard, and lets me look out at the field behind us, the downtown skyline, and my daughter playing outside in her play house. Above all of that though, it just lets some seriously gorgeous light into our house. It’s a photographer’s dream.

You might not have a bay window like this in your house, but these same principles can be applied to so many types of windows. Take some time to study the light and how it moves through your house during the day and I’m sure you’ll find creative ways to use your special window too.(…)

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Creativity Exercise: a simple guide to breaking the rules

Rules are rules for a reason. In most cases, they promote aesthetics that we associate with artistic harmony and a pleasant viewing experience. We hear often that “you have to know the rules before you can break them.” I’d take that a step further, arguing it’s not just “what” and “how” but also “why.” You need to know the REASON for the rules of photography and design in order to break them effectively.(…)

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selfie pose modifying your selfie pose by Alise Kowalski

5 steps to loving yourself(ie)

See what I did there?

This blog post is mostly about how to create self-portraits that you will love and love the way you look in them but it is also, and this is no small component of loving images of yourself, about loving yourself. And it only requires five steps! So, lace up those sneakers, ladies, we’re hitting the path to loving yourself(ie). Oh yeah, that’s twice. Nailed it.(…)

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freelensing photo of girl in a field with beautiful light by Holly Donovan

The Art of Freelensing: a step by step guide

The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.
-Julia Cameron

Early on in my photography journey I spent a good amount of time trying to attain sharp images and nail focus in my work. I spent my days working on getting my lines straight, my compositions pre-visualized, and of course stalking every type of light. Focus and composition are all very important, but I found that I could easily start to over-think these devices. There is something about an out of focus image that evokes a feeling in its own way. It didn’t take me long to start experimenting with shallow depth of field, and using manual focus to achieve some blur. (…)

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5 ways to shoot more like a film photographer

Have you ever been tempted to shoot film? Why, in this age of rapidly advancing technology, increasingly “smart” cameras, and the cost and convenience of digital are we still so drawn to film photography?

There really is something extraordinary about the tonality and color rendition of various film stocks — qualities some might suggest simply can’t be replicated digitally. But is there also something about the process of shooting with film itself that positively influences the creative approach? Could it be that the cost, logistics, and timeline of film photography encourage a different mindset, even a different level of commitment, from the photographer behind the camera? Does the perception that every shot “counts” help us to produce better photos? Would we shoot more deliberately if the flexibility and instant gratification of digital photography were stripped away? (…)

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two brothers hugging picture by Celeste Pavlik

5 easy ways to photograph kids together

Often, I am asked…. How do you get all your boys to sit for you at the same time for a picture? Or how do you get them all to cooperate and look so natural? Or, I’m told, it’s so great how your boys like to be in front of the camera AND with each other!! Well, the truth is, it’s not so much that my boys like to be in front of my lens, it’s more about what ‘I do’ and ‘don’t do’ before I ever click that shutter. Seizing the opportunity to document those moments when they are being themselves; playing together, sharing a silly joke, tickling one another, and even just sharing a quiet moment is a huge part of who I am as a photographer. I want to remember and I want them to remember what it was like growing up together as brothers and friends.(…)

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kids playing at a splashpad by Megan DeShazo

Why I pick my camera up…and why I put it down

As we were preparing to pack up for the long 8-hour car ride we had ahead to visit family, I looked at my camera bag and groaned. “It’s so heavy,” I thought. “I’m already packing half of our house. It’s just another bag to load.” If I’m being honest, as “The Photographer” of the family, I sometimes get tired of hearing, “make sure you bring your camera!” But I knew my husband’s grandparents weren’t getting any younger and since we only get to see them once a year, I would be grateful to have the pictures from our trip. And they would love to have pictures with the boys.

I packed the camera. I’m so thankful I did.(…)

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picture of woman by Alice Che

9 secrets to working with dappled light

As a photographer, you hear a lot about how important it is to know how to see the light. This is absolutely, 100% true!

Much of my photography journey can be marked by how I use the light. I went through a phase of flat, even window lighting with beautiful big catchlights followed by portraits with 45 degree window lighting, then backlighting, and finally, dramatic lighting. One of the very first things I learned was to avoid dappled lighting. For a good two or three years, I avoided uneven lighting and direct sunlight at any cost. I would drape sheer curtains over my windows to diffuse the sun, I’d shoot in open shade, I’d backlight. Back in August, however, I moved to a new place and my move also coincided with the opportunity to do a photoshoot with the amazing Sarah Vaughn. And the way she used light… it was incredible and like nothing I had ever tried before! Instead of shying away from the direct sun or uneven lighting, she’d find the patches of even light and use the uneven light around it to add interest in the shadow patterns. Ever since then, I have been keeping my eye out for the interplay of light and shadows.(…)

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Metering modes explained and how to know which one to use

Choosing a metering mode can be as important as choosing an ISO or aperture when you need to nail your exposure. Metering affects how your camera processes the scene, thus giving you a reading on your exposure in camera. I know that with the ability to “chimp”, or stop and look at the back of your dSLR after each image, we can take our meters for granted. As a wedding photographer (and as a mother to two young children that don’t allow “do-overs”), however, I simply do not have the time to second guess myself after each frame.

Most of today’s modern cameras have at least three different metering modes to choose from; matrix (evaluative), center-weighted, and spot. Some cameras are also equipped with a fourth metering type called highlight-weighted metering mode. Both of my Nikon bodies have this newer mode and so I’ve included it here.(…)

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