The Phoblographer’s Guide to Rembrandt Lighting

Named after the 17th-century Dutch master painter, Rembrandt lighting is a popular portrait lighting technique that can create very pleasing results.

When it comes to portrait lighting techniques, there are a ton of variations to choose from. For many portrait photographers, Rembrandt lighting is among one of the most popular. The technique is named after Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, the prodigious 17th-century Dutch master painter whose portraiture subjects frequently showcased this telltale lighting pattern. In our latest original infographic, we will be exploring what Rembrandt lightning is and how you can utilize it in your next portrait shoot.

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Why Flash Duration Is the Photographer’s Secret Weapon!

Things changed so much for me when I learned about flash duration!

If there’s one thing that I adore about flash photography, it’s flash duration. This is a secret weapon so many new photographers don’t know about. But once you understand it and tame it, you’ll see how much better your photos will be. It’s is the subtle difference between that extra pop and a flat image! The 3D look that it can deliver is surreal. You’ll be able to see and experience it even when not looking at 100%.

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The Truth About Constant Light vs Flash for Photographers

Which side are you on with Constant Light vs Flash?

If you are struggling to use more than just natural light, we’ve got just the thing. Many people these days reach for constant light. Tons of YouTube videos show you how to use it. But proper photography needs more than that. Does this mean you can’t shoot great photos with Constant light? You totally can! I don’t know about you, but I can’t name any lifelong photographers who’ve only used constant lighting. I’ve even seen the great Peter Hurley use strobes. But I can name a ton who’ve used flash! And in this cheat sheet, we’ll break constant light vs flash down further for you.

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TTL vs Manual Flash: What Photographers Need to Know

Many folks don’t know the difference between TTL vs manual flash, or how it will change the way they create.

Most photographers realize that flash output is still better than constant lighting. But the biggest struggle is with TTL vs. manual flash output. Most people don’t understand it. And to be honest, most experienced photographers are also frustrated with it. But in time, you learn to tell it what to do. Think about it this way. You use your camera in manual mode, right? And if you don’t, then you at least know how to do so. The strobe and flash output that you can get is similar.

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How to Get Sharper Images with Manual Focus Lenses

Getting sharper images from manual focus lenses is incredibly rewarding.

“Patience is a virtue,” is a quote that I’m convinced was first said by someone who used manual focus lenses. I’m kidding, but the proverb rings true for photographers. Many of us are impatient. And if you enjoy your photography hobby, you should relish the time. If you’re a professional photographer, then you most likely know how to make the most of manual focus lenses. Most importantly, the passionate photographers among us genuinely care about the artistic methods involved in shooting photos. Everything else around us is so automated and electronic. Sometimes, it’s nice to go back to the analog ways and do things ourselves. That’s why creating photos with manual focus lenses can be so rewarding.

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Why Live Composite is One of the Best Things to Happen To Cameras

The Live Composite feature is so incredibly fun to play with.

Unless you’re shooting with Olympus and Panasonic, you’ve probably never heard of Live Composite. In our constant search to move away from editing, this is a feature we adore. It means that a photographer needs to think about something beforehand. They need to be very careful. And best of all, they need to not rely on Photoshop. When someone says, “Photoshop it later,” a part of me dies inside. It’s awful. But with Live Composite, a photographer can stay out in the field creating. If you’re a hobbyist or a professional who really just wants to shoot, we encourage you to try it.

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Stopping Your Lens Down: What Photographers Always Forget About

Many photographers never stop their lenses down, but they should.

“LOOK AT THE BOKEH!!!!” Does that sound like you when you were starting out? Well, unfortunately, many photographers never leave that phase. With so many new people getting into photography, we find it essential to do our part. Just remember that your lens often has more than one aperture. You can even stop it down in half stops and 1/3 stops. In general, it’s great to leave it wide open when shooting in low light. But turn off that electronic shutter setting and learn to focus on the exposure of the scene. More than that, use the storytelling elements a lens affords you.

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The Three Color Portrait Method Will Drastically Improve Your Photos

The three-color portrait method has been used by so many professional photographers.

We’re big fans of keeping it simple when you can. This is critical for portrait photography. The objective is to put the emphasis on a single person. So you need to find a way to make them stand out. Naturally, the human eye goes to them. You can also use the depth of field and bokeh to single them out. Then there’s also composition rules. But what about composing by color? There are lots of ways to do this. And with portrait photography, it can be a game-changer. The truth is that not every excellent piece of wardrobe works with every scene, so keeping it simple is the best approach. Focusing on using it, three colors can do a lot for your portrait photography. Let’s take a closer look!

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Every Aspiring Photojournalist Needs This Cheat Sheet for Better Stories

A photojournalist who wants to grow should check out the shot list that your story needs.

You’re a documentary photographer, or a photojournalist, or someone looking to tell a story. This doesn’t include street photography (that’s not photojournalism). But you want to create a narrative in a photo story. Think about the who, what, when, where, how, and why of the story. You need to answer questions. And most importantly, you need to rely on a tried and true method that’s been in use for decades. It’s time for you, the photojournalist, to think like a film-maker.

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Want Better Bokeh from Your Lens? You Should Try This

How to get the best bokeh from your lens isn’t rocket science, but it isn’t apparent either.

We all love fast aperture lenses. In the past decade, they’ve gotten so much better too. The Japanese, Korean and German manufacturers have an obsession with achieving gorgeous bokeh. So does the company that makes your phone, but they do it in a far different way. We’d all like better bokeh from our lenses. And the key to it is to do a bit of trickery. Today’s Cheat Sheet focuses on how to get better bokeh from your lens. One of these steps is obvious, but we’re sure you haven’t tried the others.

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Want a Kodak Black and White Film Guide? Check This Out!

Kodak black and white film is beautiful in the right situations; let our guide help you pick which film to shoot.

Some photographers have shot their entire portfolio with one film. It’s helped them get a very signature look. But others like to experiment. We’re sure many of you sometimes wonder which Kodak film to choose. The company has three black and white emulsions that are incredibly popular. T-Max 400, T-Max P3200, and Tri-X 400 are what’s available in America. That’s not to say that you can’t do one genre with only one film. But instead, this is a best practice guide. Not many people can shoot great portraits with T-Max P3200. Similarly, Tri-X 400 is the choice for many photojournalists for legitimate reasons. T-Max 400 is best for the photographer who wants the sharpest ISO 400 film photos.

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TIFF vs RAW: The Thing That Most Photographers Don’t Know

TIFF and RAW images aren’t the same things.

Both TIFF and RAW images are similar, right? Well, they’re both lossless image formats. But that’s about where it all ends. They have starkly different use cases. And in the past decade, we can’t remember many cameras that let you shoot in the TIFF format. Professional photographers have both types in their archives. Most typically, TIFF files come from an export these days. RAW files are imported into a computer, edited, etc. If you’re an editor, you’ve probably received a TIFF image sent to you before. If you’re a hobbyist, then chances are that you’ve never messed with a TIFF image unless you’re scanning film. So we’re going to dissect this a bit. We’ll cite an expert in the debate of TIFF vs RAW.

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Why Your Phone Is One of the Best Tools for Street Photography

Did you know that the mobile phone in your pocket is actually one of the best tools for street photography?

Street photography is one of the most popular genres of photography today. It’s also one of the most accessible since most of us have a camera on our smartphones. Decisive moments are happening all around us, so what better way to capture them than with the cameras already in our pockets? Join us as we discuss the benefits of shooting street photography with our phones in our latest original infographic.

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Why New Film Photographers Need to Give 120 Film a Try

Just getting into analog photography and curious about 120 film and medium format? Our latest infographic has you covered.

While much of the photo industry is dominated by digital, there’s never been more interest in analog photography. The production of popular film stocks has been steadily increasing. New film emulsions are also regularly introduced. Despite the 35mm format being more common, many film photographers are turning to medium format cameras and shooting with 120 film. If you’re new to the world of film photography, our latest original infographic will tell you everything you need to know about 120 film.

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Watch and Learn: How Jerry Ghionis Communicates When Posing Models

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of being instructed by Jerry Ghionis on a shoot. And he’s incredible.

One of the biggest things I think every photographer needs to keep in mind is that they always need consent to touch a model or move a subject. Jerry Ghionis is the master of showing how to do this. No photographer should assume there is consent while shooting, no matter how long you and a subject have been working together. There should be a steady flow of communication at all times. When you touch and move someone, you should aim to always be cautious and respectful of another person’s body. This all sounds like old hat, but it isn’t. And I think there isn’t enough being said on consent and shooting with a model.

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How to Get That Beautiful Pastel Look from Your Fujifilm Camera

Every photographer loves the Pastel look: here’s how to get it.

We get it–you’re one of those photographers who love the film look, but you don’t want to shoot film. First off, I’ll be the first to tell you that shooting film is about much more than just the final image. But, if you’re looking to get only that same quality, it’s a bit tricky. A part of it is done to taste, but we know how to get you there pretty much 90% of the way. This method works no matter what Fujifilm camera you’re using. However, you’re going to get better results with the later sensor offerings. But if you’re looking to have that beautiful pastel look in your photos, then read on.

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The Instagram Portfolio: The Essential Checklist for a Photographer

Before you put that photo up on Instagram’s portfolio page or an actual website, ask yourself these questions.

Every photographer needs to start somewhere. Some folks want better photos just because, but at the same time, not everyone knows what constitutes a better photo. You can pay for a portfolio review and get candid feedback for sure, but before you do that, consider asking yourself several questions. Also, separate your emotions from your images. That’s a crucial step here. You’re sometimes going to need to be brutal on yourself but within reason. If you stick to asking yourself these questions over and over again, you’ll come out with a better curated set of images.

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Why Prime Lenses Make You a Better Photographer

Prime lenses don’t have the convenience and versatility of zooms, but their limitations can help make you a better photographer.

Primes vs. zooms: it’s a debate almost as old as photography itself. Many photographers prefer prime lenses for their superior optics. Others like zooms because of their versatility. Whether one is better than the other is highly subjective. What sets prime lenses apart, though, is their ability to make us better photographers. Our latest original infographic explores this in detail.

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How to Enjoy Shooting Portraits With a F1.2 Lens

Everyone loves bokeh, but shooting with an f1.2 lens is trickier than you’d think.

The dream of so many portrait photographers is to own an f1.2 lens that they can shoot dreamy portraits with. This stems from the days of Canon EF lenses and their legendary f1.2 primes. Since the film days, these lenses have let photographers shoot in the dark with little problems. They also somehow just make everyone look magical on camera. As pleasant as f1.2 lenses are, they’re not easy to use if you’re an inexperienced photographer. They’ve undoubtedly improved over the years, but to make the most of them, you should check out our latest cheat sheet!

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The Introduction to Hanging Your Photography on the Wall

Hanging your photography isn’t as straightforward as you’d think.

I’m confident most of you have never hung your prints on a wall, let alone printed your photos! It can be a real joy to see your images in-person instead of on a screen. Hanging your photography is a powerful experience that grips onto you. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with that–and many longtime shooters only think a photo is finished when it’s printed. We recommend that every photographer buys a printer. Specifically, we recommend a proper photo printer. (For the best deals, wait until after Black Friday when they drop in price. And load up on ink.) Before you add that printer to your cart, though, check out these tips and our cheat sheet.

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How to Choose the Best Leica Lens for You: a Checklist

Picking a Leica lens for your camera isn’t the same as choosing autofocus lenses; let’s dive in!

A Leica lens (specifically an M mount lens) is a special gem that any photographer will treasure. They’re small and render a unique look that can’t be easily duplicated. The tactile experience that they deliver is also pretty powerful, and unlike anything that other camera manufacturers offer. When you pick up your Leica, you’ll never really want to put it down. The Leica Lens is a fantastic tool for documenting scenes as they happen. Through zone focusing, they can be quicker to snap a photograph than the fastest autofocus algorithms of today. So here’s what you need to know when buying a Leica lens.

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