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Category: How To

29 Oct

Light-painting With Steel Wool: A Beginner’s Guide

“And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire…” It certainly does – at least for a little while. And it’s a beautiful sight to behold. Am I talking about love, or steel wool spinning? Maybe both! As a photographer, you’re (probably) interested in the latter. Steel wool is one of the greatest first steps into the world of long exposure photography. What? ‘Steel’ burns!? When it’s ultra-thin - yep. Burning steel wool can be whirled and spun to create fiery, artistic patterns, with sparks dancing across the landscape. This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide to reproduce your own clichéd…*cough* contemporary art masterpiece. Enjoy! Equipment Checklist: DSLR / Mirrorless Camera Lens (ideally 10-50mm) Sturdy Tripod (Optional) Remote Shutter Metal ‘Cage’ Whisk (Large) Steel Cable (4 ft &...
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21 Oct

How To Achieve Silky Smooth Seascapes

From ethereal, hazy seas to dramatic skies, nothing screams "creative pro" quite like a long exposure of the sea. Daytime long exposures are a great way to transition from average snaps to vivid, artistic impressions of your surroundings. But it’s not quite that easy. Achieving stunning, silky seascapes takes preparation and practice. Luckily, you don’t need to spend a fortune getting there! 1 – PICK YOUR GEAR Gear List DSLR/Mirrorless Camera (necessary) Sturdy Tripod (necessary) ND Filter (necessary) Remote Shutter (optional) Graduated Filter (optional) The Camera Don’t sweat it. If your camera has full control over your exposure triangle (that’s aperture, ISO and shutter speed), you’re golden. You ideally want to be able to focus manually and be able to use exposure compensation. This will allow you to brighten...
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15 Oct

7 Tips for Recording Your Next Cross Country Road Trip

In the summer of 2012, I decided that I would travel over 3,700 miles in my Rav4 from Washington, DC to my new job in San Francisco. I also decided that I would record the whole thing. After all, I'd be alone for over 2 weeks on my northern route that would take me up to Yellowstone before heading down through California. I'd need something to do. The video I recorded wasn't perfect. It didn't suck, but it also didn't blow me away like I wanted it to. If I was going to go on another road trip tomorrow, here's what I wish I would have known the first go-around. 1. Give yourself more time than you think you need. You don't want...
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7 Oct

There’s Positive Possibility to Be Found in Negative Space

Popular lifestyle and design-focused photographers have an aesthetic: clean, simple and stark. They accomplish this sophisticated look through the smart use of "nothingness." A smart photographer knows to think just as much about what isn't there as what is there. Photographers call nothingness "negative space" and it's the key to accomplishing a look that has taken social media by storm lately. Browsing through influential and trendsetting profiles, you'll see strong colors, clear subjects and as little clutter as possible. Take, for example, this shot from lifestyle photographer Jeff Mindell's Instagram profile that takes full advantage of negative space: Images like this don't look so appealing by accident - they ground the subject in a backdrop of nothing, making it stand out that much more....
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24 Sep

Capturing the beauty of the Fall in your photos

Central PArk
Simply stated, fall is a spectacular season of colors – an absolute explosion of bright sunlit yellows, oranges and reds that at certain times of the season can almost overwhelm the senses. Capturing the season’s many hues with your camera is a fun and inspiring endeavor and we thought we’d offer up a few autumnal tips and tricks prior to the first few leaves hitting the ground. If you’re lucky enough to live in a part of the country where the leaves annually turn and put on their colorful magic show your trip to find the perfect spot can be a short one. If not, you may want to book a brief vacation and we’ll tell you the three best regions...
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18 Sep

7 Tips for Travel Photography

There's a lot to consider when prepping for a photo trip, most important of which is your gear. There's nothing worse than realizing you're missing something when you're faced with a tremendous once-in-a-lifetime shot. It's best to research your locations, weather patterns, best times to shoot, and if there's a lens or specific body you don't have but need, you can always borrow gear. Below are a few tips on what type of gear works best, camera settings, and traveling with your gear. 1. Be Prepared with Your Gear Here are some things that should be in your bag: DSLR camera body  A wide angle lens, like a 10-24mm A Telephoto lens, maybe a 24-70mm A variable ND filter for bright conditions A lightweight travel tripod or monopod Multiple...
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13 Jul

Street Photography: How to Capture Candid Moments Like a Pro

For many photographers – even the masters – street photography is the most intimidating test of their skills. However, it’s also one of the most rewarding. It fuses a multitude of photographic genres, from architecture, to portraiture, to photojournalism – perhaps even abstract – into one, definitive creative pursuit. Street photography gives us the unique opportunity to capture extraordinary, ‘decisive moments’ as our fellow humans go about their ordinary lives. By the end of this article, hopefully you’ll be armed with the knowledge that will allow you to capture candid street moments like the pros do. The Right Gear Photography is inherently a technical pursuit. Naturally, a solid understanding of your ‘work tools’ is essential. However, be careful of becoming too focused on...
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2 Jul

What shutter speed means and how to use it

The definition of ‘shutter speed’ means how quickly the shutter inside your camera opens and closes. This is integral to controlling exposure as it literally times how long your film or digital sensor is exposed to light. When you hear your camera ‘click’ what you are really hearing is the accurately controlled timing of the shutter opening and closing. Shutter speed is measured in fractions of time, and is controlled by selecting incremental fractions of seconds on your camera body. There are two main aspects shutter speed controls: 1) how much light enters your camera, and 2) motion and blur. Let’s talk about controlling light first. Imagine light as if it were a hose of water pointed right at your lens. If...
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26 Jun

How to take great natural light portraits

The great thing about natural light is that it’s free, and it’s everywhere. Creating beautiful natural light portraits is simply about training your eye to see that light, and learning how to control it while telling an intimate story about your subject. Natural light can either be soft and diffused (think of the open shade under an awning), or harsh and direct (think of standing at high noon under the direct sun while squinting). Each one gives your portrait a different feel, so choose wisely. Diffused light is always more flattering because it does not create deep shadows- and can be created and manipulated with a very simple reflector/diffuser tool.   Here’s how to make your own: Tape a piece of tin foil to...
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1 Jun

Tackling a Year-Long Self Portrait Project

81 down. 284 to go. I’m halfway through my year-long self portrait project, and I’ve completed a quarter of my goal of 365 self portraits in 365 days. A year of self portraits is a challenge every photographer should undertake. It forces a camera in your hands everyday and requires you to think about how to shoot the same subject in hundreds of different ways. Plus, who else would let you photograph them anytime, day or night, for an entire year? Other than your dog, probably no one. Self portraiture allows for practice with composition, focus and metering. It brings you to new places and forces you to think differently about what can be considered a ‘portrait.’ And over the past six months, I’ve...
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