Tips On Starting A Photography Blog

If you are a photographer, then you have undoubtedly heard from someone that you should (and should have already) start (or started) a photography blog for yourself. You may be asking yourself why, though. I mean, what is the point of starting a photography blog? You don’t inherently, and especially not instantly, gain anything from it.

When you are starting brand new, there is barely even enough of an off-chance that someone is going to look at your blog and want to hire you or have you promote some kind. Not only is there this somewhat depressing and also incredibly daunting fact, but if you were to stop half-way through, then that is a lot of labor, hours, money, and work that is thrown down the drain.

So, with this having been said, you are in one of two positions; you are either considering starting your first photography blog, or you already have one and are looking for some tips on how to drastically improve upon it.

Let’s start off with something as important as it is simplistic and basic; why on earth (no pun intended) blogging is so important for photographers and videographers. Photography and videography, in the most base terms, are personal services, and incredibly personal ones at that. Your clients are essentially letting you into their ‘comfort zone’ and their lives, so preserving and capitalizing on a bond as valuable and precious as that is a necessity to any photographer.

A blog is a great way for you and for other photographers to not only connect, but to also build and improve upon these customer/client relationships. It allows for you thrust your personality as well as your photography (and, of course, your services) into the worldwide web.

At the core of all of this are you and your brand. Having a photography blog, not a portfolio as they are very different things, allows you to build upon your brand. Even better (in some cases) is if you do not have one. Announcing a soon-come brand on an attractive and lively photography blog is a great way for you to get exposure as well as word-of-mouth marketing.

Speaking of which, customers absolutely love seeing pictures of themselves, their family, or their friends on photography blogs. Once they see it, they will inevitably end up sending it to everybody they know! Is that not just the best word-of-mouth marketing? Seriously, it not only benefits you regarding clients (I mean, you’re posting a picture of someone because they became your customer) but also regarding the overall popularity of your site.

As you can see, there are quite a lot of perks that are associated with running your photography blog. TL;DR time: You can increase the power of your marketing, gain traction and popularity, create your own newsletters and spread them via purchasing information, keep a consistent record of all of your pictures, and do all of it at a very low cost.

 

Not sure where to start? Take a look at how to set up a blog:

How To Take Fantastic Night CityScapes

Taking cityscape pictures, no matter how professional or unprofessional you are, or whatever camera, tripod, memory card, lens, skill set or whatever the case may be, is and always has been a difficult thing to do. With this having been said, I would like to share with you some of the most helpful and uplifting tips on shooting, blending, and editing cityscape pictures.

1. Shoot In AP Mode (Aperture Priority)
Maximizing the usefulness of this set is essential. The two modes that any photographer can make use of is, for lack of a better and more advanced term, Manual Mode and Automatic Mode. While we are in manual mode, we can control every single aspect of the camera while simply being in its ‘operating system,’ or HUD. From there, we can change the shutter speed of the camera while using the many physical buttons, knobs, sliders, zoomers, and switches that are located directly on the lens itself. This mode is if we want to go manual.

When we are using Auto Mode, it tends to darken everything else imaginable, and then just crank the ISO levels through the roof. This will lead to increased blurriness as well as noise in the photographs. Because of this, we recommend using Manual Mode.

2. Bracket Exposures
Because there are so much natural and artificial points of light coming from cityscapes, it is necessary for you to properly adjust your ISO to overcome the overwhelming as well as the underwhelming points of contrast and exposure.

It seems, as of now at least, that they only way for you to professionally, cleanly, and efficiently overcome this annoying obstacle is to perform what is known as a ‘bracket’ exposure. It means that you take multiple pictures at the same location, very quickly, in entirely different ISO and shadow-focus modes.

One picture can be overexposed to give light to the dark areas, and one can be underexposed and focused solely on the buildings to create the ‘hazy sharpness’ that you see with night-time cityscape shots. Of course, you can take any number of these shots that you want, but the less, the better. You then go into some editing program, light Lightroom or Photoshop (both are professional picture editing services kindly provided by Adobe) and stitch them together using luminosity masks.

3. Manual Focus
Having your camera manually focused is a must. The speed in which modern lenses shoot is sometimes incomparable to the sharpness generated by manual lenses. This failure is because the computer chip and light sensor(s) inside of modern cameras can, unfortunately, misjudge the focus. This leads to a misguided ‘focus,’ while the automatic setting of the camera ‘thinks’ that is in focus, it is not. This one reason alone shows us is why shooting in manual is such an important thing for you to do, not only when it comes to cityscapes, but in all ‘walks’ of photography.

We hope that you have enjoyed this brief article on how to take fantastic cityscapes, and good luck!

How to Create Motion Blur In Photography

Motion blur is something we typically link to sports, fast-paced action, and movement. But, you can create motion blur when taking a still photo as well. Whether it is a dramatic effect, or if you simply want to try something new, there are a few things you can do to create blur (or movement) when you are taking photos, of an otherwise still object. So, how do you do it?

1. Shutter speed  
Slow it down. Movement blur occurs because the amount of time the shutter of the camera is open, allows your camera’s image sensor to “see” the movement. By simply slowing down the speed of your shutter (the opening when you press the button to take a photo), you have a higher likelihood of “seeing” or capturing that movement (i.e., capturing the movement blur).

2. Prioritize  
Your camera has a shutter priority mode; why not try using it when you are ready to take a shot and are trying to achieve motion blur in the photo? Even small speed changes can make a great impact on the movement/blur which is visible; so, try simply changing the opening (priority) mode, by small increments when you are starting out, so you can see what you get with each deviation in the speed/opening.

3. Camera Security 
Either your subject or your camera (or both) have to move, to create the effect of motion (blur). For this reason, you are going to want to make sure your camera is as still as possible, to avoid additional blur from the movement (in your object you are shooting). So either use a tripod, or something sturdy, to help keep the camera from moving when you are ready to snap the shot of your target subject in the photo.

Whether you are brand new to taking photos, or simply want to try something new in the image quality and perception, motion blur is how you can change an otherwise dull (or motionless) image. When the time comes to take a shot of the subject or target, you can use one, or all of these tips to get the desired effect, and the level of motion you want to see. Remember, start small, try out a few variants, and see what works best, to get the desired result, and to see the motion effect to help bring certain images to life on film paper.

Advice for Beginner Portrait Photographers

Portrait photography is a subcategory of photography. As the name suggests, it focuses on taking portrait shots. Taking a photo of a human face with the goal of bringing out the desired emotions from the viewer has its own unique challenges. In this article, we are going to cover some of the most useful tips for beginners when taking portrait shots.

The Camera Settings
The first thing that you should learn on how to make better portrait shots is getting to know the camera settings. Specifically, you’d want to know the usual settings for aperture, ISO and shutter speed that usually produces great portrait shots. Keep in mind that there are very few “hard” rules in photography. However, when you are starting out, it’s always best that you start with what “usually” works best and once you have gained good experience, then you can start to breaking out from the “usual.”

Plan The Pose
The biggest challenge for portrait photographers is the camera shyness. Some subjects are not just comfortable in front of a camera. Hence, it’s best to learn human posture communication. Humans have a posture for being aggressive, relaxed or sexual. It’s best that you learn about these and incorporate these poses for your portrait shots.

While you may argue that it’s not important as you will only be taking a half-body shot or the face, but keep in mind that the entire posture of the body affects the face of the subject, which then can impact the capture portrait photos.

Shooting Angles
Knowing the impact of camera angles is an important tool in your toolbox. Certain angles will create a certain tone. If you don’t know what you are doing, you may end up using an angle that does not work well with the desired photo. For example, shots taken from a very low camera angle and looking up tends to set a tone of “larger than life.” However, if you wish to create a subtle and elegant type of image, then using low camera angles will usually not work.

Framing The Portrait
In this section, we are not talking about the frames that you put on a portrait photo. We are talking about naturally framing your subject using elements in the photo. A properly farmed portrait photo allows the eyes to naturally focus on the subject. For example, you can use windows, doors or any horizontal and vertical lines to naturally draw the viewer’s eye to your subject.

Portrait photography is always a big category for photography. After all, most people love to see photos of themselves. If you want to venture out in this category, then don’t forget about the important tips that we mentioned above.

Pros and Cons for Attending School for Photography

Photography is a very useful skill to have. Not only it can be a great hobby, but you can even turn it into a very profitable profession. In either case, you have to start learning how to use a camera and how to take good pictures. When it comes to learning photography, you have two options. You can either self-learn or take a photography class.

In this article, were are going to explore the pros and cons of attending photography school.

Pros of Photography Class

Speed Up The Learning Curve
In any skill, there’s always a learning curve a student must go through. Photography is not an exception. Also, in anything worth learning, it’s all about trial and error. You try doing a lot of things and try to figure out what works and what does not work. The more techniques and methods you know that works, the better you become at photography.

Here’s the thing, for every trial and error, it will always cost you time. With photography school, you don’t have to go through all the trial and error as there’s already a system or someone who will teach what works and what does not work. In other words, a photography class can speed up your learning curve.

Avoid Picking Up Bad Habits
Another problem with learning on your own is the tendency of picking up bad habits. These bad habits may become a limiting factor as you try to progress your photography skills higher. In most cases, you have to unlearn these bad habits, and that’s a big problem. A learned habit is not an easy thing to unlearn. You will have to put in a conscious effort at all times to ensure that you “un-develop” that bad habit. With photography class, you can avoid these bad habits in the first place.

Cons of Photography Class

It Will Cost You Money
This is probably the biggest downside of attending photography school. A good photography school or class will always cost money. However, you also need to be careful as not all expensive photography classes are good. Some are just good at marketing.

Wisdom Learning
Another potential issue with learning via the class is the tendency to acquire knowledge, but not necessarily wisdom. Here’s an analogy for the previous statement, if your mother tells you not to touch the iron because it’s hot, it’s a lesson that you may remember or easily forget. However, if you burned your fingers because you touched a hot iron, then that’s a lesson you are SURE to remember.

The same case for photography classes, you may or may not remember all the lessons they will give you. However, if you have personally gone through the pain of learning things the hard way, then these lessons become wisdom for you and not just mere knowledge.

So that’s it for now. Of course, there are a lot more pros and cons for photography classes. However, the points that we mentioned above are good to keep in mind.

The Best Entry-Level DSLR Cameras

DSLR cameras offer manual control, big sensors and interchangeable lenses to help every photographer tackle a wide range of projects and produce great quality images. However, most photographers find it challenging to choose the right DSLR as cameras are aimed at different use cases, levels of experience and budgets. Below is a compilation of the four best entry-level DSLR’s that deliver highly impressive performance and more creative controls for better images.

1. Nikon D5600
The D5600 is a modern DSLR camera with great features. It has a DX-format CMOS sensor and takes great quality 24.2-megapixel photos and Full HD 1080p videos. The D5600 has a 3x optical zoom for more convenience when it comes to challenging photo subjects. For easier connectivity, this top DSLR has a Snapbridge app that allows the photographer to share photos directly to a tablet or smartphone. Another unique feature of the D5600 is its multi-angle touch LCD screen with the ability to zoom, pinch and set focus using your fingers.

2. Nikon D3400
An upgrade of the great Nikon 3300 that comes with better features and functionalities. The D3400 has a lighter camera body and great battery life. Offering an APS-C sensor, the Nikon D3400 produces 24.2-megapixel photos. Alongside these improvements, the D3400 has SnapBridge app and a Bluetooth-ready transfer system for moving images to a smartphone. It also offers 1080p videos at 60 frames per second; a standard that all DSLR cameras should meet. The D3400 has a guide mode that helps beginners, making it an outstanding, fast-performing entry-level DSLR camera.

3. Canon EOS Rebel T6
Canon’s EOS Rebel T6 offers a great feature set for DSLR beginners alongside an exceptional price to performance ratio. For connectivity, the T6 has NFC technology and built-in Wi-Fi for easy transfer of photos. It can capture excellent images with its impressive 18-megapixel CMOS APS-C sensor, thanks to the Canon’s Digic 4 technology for image processing. Equipped with a nine-point autofocus system, the T6 provides fast focus on fast-moving subjects. The Canon EOS Rebel T6 easy-t0-use menu makes it a perfect choice for the DSLR beginner.

4. Canon EOS Rebel T5
The Canon EOS Rebel T5 was first released in 2015 and still offers an outstanding value and performance compared to other entry-level DSLR releases. It features include an APS-C sensor and Digic 4 image processor that produce high-quality 18-megapixel images. The T5 offers excellent clarity and sharpness in both images and videos. It can capture 1080p full HD videos in a continuous shooting mode. Equipped with a 3-inch LCD and great ISO sensitivity, the T5 battery life can support up to 500 shots, perfect for entry-level DSLR.

Film Photography Tips for Beginners

As a beginner in the photography world, whether you are shooting still-shots, capturing wildlife, or simply taking photos of friends/family to commemorate events, you need to know how to work with your camera and equipment. So, before you delve in and miss out on quality content, consider a few of these tips to get you going in the right direction when taking photos.

Pixel perfection –
Let go of the pursuit of achieving it (it doesn’t exist). Some shots may be slightly or completely out of focus; you might not get every single eyelash perfectly aligned when taking your child’s photo. Step back and relax a little. Film photos are not meant to look like digital, and it never will. So, get this concept of perfection and perfect color balance out of your mind, because you are simply going to drive yourself crazy, chasing something that doesn’t exist.

Use stocks –
Us film stocks for practice. Why waste money on film and pricey equipment when you can use film stocks for practice. You can modify latitude, color ranges, take advantage of light and darks, work with different hues and shades, all without having to waste pricey film. Film stocks have so much latitude that even if you overexpose, your photos won’t suffer much. Plus, you can get some practice in if you are brand new to the world of film photography.

Latitude and range –
Film has so much more to offer regarding latitude, in comparison to its digital counterpart. So, use this to your advantage. Film retains lovely details, so make sure you use this to your advantage when (and where) you are shooting. Take advantage of depth and contours, as they are going to look far superior on film.

Write it down –
Keep a journal of film stocks and settings because there are so many to remember (color, black/white, camera type, etc.) if not, you will forget what works for you. You will also save on developing costs when you take note of your film stocks as you won’t constantly develop poor quality, low-resolution photos on pricey film. It might seem trivial, but with so many film stocks and setting options, things can get blurry quickly, and it can end up costing you (financially) in the long run.

As a beginner to the world of film-photography, playing and experimenting is a good way to learn. With these basic tips you will not only improve upon quality and resolution, but you will learn to let go of minute details, and enjoy your newfound hobby as well.

Avoid common mistakes. Watch:

Tips for Shooting Photos in the Woods

If you are out for a little adventure in the woods, then you are certainly going to want to bring along your camera. After all, you are in a rather clear and straight setting where memories can be stored for posterity. Sure, it’s not going to be an easy job to hack, but with the right set of tools and ideas, you are going to set off from home with a pretty good roll of pictures. You will need to choose a good time when things are clear because you don’t want your photos to be blurred. You will also have to decide on the season and place.

Looking for the perfect snaps in the wood? Here is how you can get there:

Have the right gear at hand
You are going to be handling some pretty unique landscapes, so you will need a tripod. Your tripod helps lock your shot in place and provides for all sorts of angles without compromising on the quality of your photos. You are also going to need a good set of lenses, and here, it is important to carry both wide and narrow-angle types. This way, you can choose whichever to go with as the situation dictates.

Be sure to contrast colors
One of the biggest challenges of shooting in wooded environments is that you have only so much color to go with. You are basically working with leaves and trunks here, and that is it. However, you will need to find a way out of this quagmire. Simply find a spot with flowers or leaves of a direct color other than green and work with that. You can also work your positioning in such way that you are looking at a filtered spectrum of light. These penetrating rays work to emphasize or diminish the color intensity of any of the features within your frame.

Early mornings and late evenings will suit you just fine
In the morning, you have the sun coming out slowly and throwing its rays around. There is nothing better than to capture photos as the rays slowly seep through the canopy. At that time, the features of the environment are rather soft, so the images captured are endearing. As the sun sinks low in the evening, you get another shot at some great wood photography. The sun looks distant and the yellow light of the coming of night is visible, and that is simply the perfect backdrop. Read about the best times to take photos in “The Golden Hour…”

 

 

Photography – Natural Lighting

Taking good quality photographs relies greatly on good light. It is important to have a good set up as well as use the light to help your photography. These lighting effects create visually appealing pictures and are the basics for any photographer to learn. Photographers are often measured by their ability to use light effectively.

There are a few basic categories of light when taking pictures, but they can be lumped into two main sections; natural and artificial. Within those categories, there is a subset of categories such as wedding photography, graduation pictures, jewelry photography, etc. These each has their own unique requirement for lighting. Light tents are used for the special jewelry photography sessions and hair lights are used for portrait pictures.

Good photographers use a variety of concepts in their photography. Some of these include back lighting to create silhouettes, side lighting for filling, fill lighting for large regions, diffused lighting, and illumination, which is the primary light source.

Some of the most beautiful photographs are taken in natural light (such as sunlight) and can vary based on the expertise of the picture taker. Photographers use objects to help with natural light pictures, such as an opaque board or matte backdrop. Excess light entering the camera is not a good thing, so master photographers work with angles and items to aid in this. There is also light tends that help to diffuse the light and backgrounds that capture the light effectively. Also, the camera settings must be adjusted to accommodate natural light to create the best pictures.

Great pictures can also be taken in artificial light. Not only from overhead lights, but the camera flash, fluorescent lights, and even lamps all are considered artificial light. Sometimes, red eyes appear in pictures from artificial lighting, which can be prevented from the correct camera setting, or corrected afterwards in a photo editing program. Sometimes, light tents, kits, or even soft boxes can aid the photographer to adjust the light. Other tools photographers use are backdrops, lighting umbrellas, gadgets to measure the amount of light, and reflectors. These are just some of the tools that a photographer uses in their work.