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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Impact One Light Kit Test photos (14 of 17)

We’ve got the science of making your images look sharper down to a T. It starts in the camera with good lighting, then it has to do with the black levels, clarity, and sharpening. We’ve established how black levels make the eyes focus on other colors and provide more differentiation between others. But what exactly is clarity in Adobe Lightroom?

According to Sharad Mangalick, Senior Product Manager, Digital Imaging at Adobe. “Clarity is image content aware and increases contrast in the mid tones. Sharpening adds definition around the edges in particular. I tend to use Clarity as a starting point, and then I use the Sharpening tools in the Detail panel to fine tune my results.

Sharad continues to say that a single slider can’t work for all images all the time. It really depends on the image and what you’re trying to accomplish. “With black and white photos, Clarity is my starting point. With Portraits, Vibrance. And with Landscapes, Saturation.”

Consider this: the higher the contrast is an in image, the sharper it can appear to someone without zooming in at 100%. Of course, that’s the only way that you’ll truly know. However, most of your clients won’t want to see the details on their pores. Instead they’ll want to see just how beautiful of a moment you captured at their wedding.

Kevin-Lee The Phoblographer -Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens Product Images (4 of 5)

In terms of technical speak, if you want to get the absolute best performance from your camera, you’ll need a solid lens. Many portrait photographers that use DSLRs tend to reach for the closest 70-200mm f2.8 zoom lens that they can get their hands on. But you don’t necessarily need those!

Mirrorless camera technology has come a long way to where we now have unique lineups and interpretations of the famous telephoto zoom lens. And you have lots of choices.

Here are just some of our favorite portrait lenses for your mirrorless camera. But before you even begin to shoot portraits, we recommend that you read the basics first.

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All images by Lionel Arnaudie. Used with permission.

Photographer Lionel Arnaudie graduated from the ETPA photography school with honors in 2011. He currently lives in France and recently completed a fine art photo series called “Idol.” The series explores society’s fascination with celebrities and idols that we look up to–but it also has a darker side which conveys how society eventually destroys these idols.

We chatted with Lionel about the fascinating series.

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All images by Eric McFarland. Used with permission.

Photographer Eric McFarland is part of a photography duo with his wife, and has had the honor of receiving R/WeddingPhotography’s Best Wedding Photo of 2014. Eric reached out to us, and what we noticed in his portfolio is his ability to pose large groups very well. If you think that portrait posing is tough, try posing lots of people at once. Attention spans are short, people are tired, don’t listen to orders, and it can be a tough life for a wedding photographer.

So how does Eric do it? We talked with him about the professionalism behind each photo when it comes to posing large groups.

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Histogram tutorial image

The histogram is a readout of information that tells you things that you won’t necessarily see in the image that you shoot. If you know anything about a tonal curve, it’s kind of similar. The histogram displays data on the highlights, midtones, and shadows but also displays it for colors.

The folks at Phlearn created a video explaining the histogram in 18 minutes, and pack a wealth of educational stuff that you can use to help you create the images that you want. It’s important to know that while many cameras can shoot the same exposure, they don’t always capture the same amount of information in the scene. For example, some sensors capture more information in the color depth, while others have a larger dynamic range.

But this doesn’t just go for digital. In the film days, negative film had more versatility but chrome film had better colors.

The video on how to read the histogram is after the jump.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Xpert Advice Zone Focusing (1 of 1)ISO 1001-20 sec at f - 5.0-2

When it comes to street photography, one of the best ways to make sure that you have your subject in focus is to use the zone focusing system. This is also called hyperfocal length focusing; which involves using the depth of field and focusing scale on your camera or lens to get the scene and subject sharply in focus. It’s a tried and true method: Bresson and a number of other famous photojournalists used it to capture some of the most iconic photos.

Ever heard the statement “F8 and be there?” Well, that’s pretty much it.

To do this, we suggest starting out by stopping the lens down to anywhere between f5.6 and f11. Then as you focus further out from the camera, more of your scene will come into focus. By looking at the scale, you can see what distances will be in focus. For example, at f8 anywhere between five feet and eight feet may be in focus at f8 with a Fujifilm 23mm f1.4. Then as you move around, just remember to pay attention to the distance that your lens is set to. As subjects and scenes move in and out of it, snap photos and keep moving.

As an added tip, raise the ISO levels up a bit depending on your lighting situations. Aperture priority also helps to make this easier.

Give it a try, the zone focusing method is a tried and true way of coming back with more candid photos.

Xpert Advice is a monthly collaboration between the Phoblographer and Fujifilm designed to teach you photography tips and tricks in a bite-sized package.