Photography Cheat Sheet: For Someone New to Street Photography

If you’re new to street photography, then check out this list.

When you’re brand new to street photography, there’s a lot of toxicity out there that doesn’t really help to create better street photographers. A whole lot of it is around pleasing the Instagram algorithm or learning from the classic masters. The classic masters are a fantastic way to enrich your passion, but the truth is that times have changed. And so you need to adapt. In fact, there isn’t a whole lot out there that talks about the ethics of street photography. So we’ve created a cheat sheet for you in a straightforward guide.

Continue reading…

The Phoblographer’s Guide to the 6 Best Film Cameras for a Beginner

If you truly want your images to look like film, why not shoot with the genuine article? These cameras are perfect options to help you get started!

It should come as no surprise to long time readers of The Phoblographer that we’re quite fond of shooting with film. Astronomical megapickle counts are all the rage these days. Improvements in computational photography are helping smartphone cameras punch well above their weight as well. Despite these technological advancements, however, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about loading a roll of your favorite emulsion into a film camera and actually going out to shoot. There’s nothing quite like the magical quality of the clicking of an analog camera’s shutter or the cranking of the film advance lever. Maybe it’s the mechanical nature of it all, or perhaps we’re just nostalgic.

Continue reading…

Video: Please Stop Excessively Retouching a Portrait Subject’s Eyes

We’ve seen too many people retouch the eyes in portraits too much, so please stop.

You know exactly what we’re talking about: portrait photographs where the eyes are super heavily retouched. The whites in the eyes are super white. The iris color is very light. And it makes no sense based on the lighting in the scene. Nothing about it looks natural. We see this a lot online, and it’s excessive. The best step, of course, is to not retouch and to instead just light correctly in the first place. But that’s not always possible. So before you go trying to make someone’s eyes look like a cartoon character’s, check out our video below and please subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Continue reading…

Photography Cheat Sheet: 35mm vs 50mm for Portrait Photography

The debate has gone on for a while: 35mm vs 50mm for portrait photography and which is better?

Photographers have long debated whether or not a 35mm or a 50mm lens is better for portrait photography. The truth is that both are great. But generally speaking, one is better than the other for a few reasons. So today, we’re taking a look at both lenses. We’ll discuss distortion, how to shoot with them, etc. To help you out, we created an original photography cheat sheet on the debate of 35mm vs 50mm for portrait photography. Let’s dive in!

Continue reading…

Video: How to Post Process Your Scanned Slide Film (Kodachrome Too!)

Alaistair Bird shows you how to process the scans of your slide film.

Recently, Mr. Bird showed us how he goes about scanning his slide film at home. Today, we’ve got a video from him showing how he edits the images. If you remember, he did it using a DSLR. It’s a fun project to keep yourself busy and to stay tuned into your hobby while quarantined. But in addition to that, it’s also just something to do. Some folks will like scanning their film using a conventional scanner. But no scanner is anywhere as robust as a full-frame sensor in a camera. So after you’ve got the right lighting, here’s what you do.

Continue reading…

Can You Really Produce Professional Results With Crop Sensor Cameras?

The debate between Full Frame vs Crop Sensor cameras and their ability to produce professional results have been around as long as digital cameras have.

Let’s face it, Crop Sensor cameras have been getting a pretty bad rep for some time. By and large, you have the Full Frame or bust crowd to thank for this stigma. Full Frame cameras were the de facto standard for a long time thanks to their performance advantage over their Crop Sensor brethren. This was certainly true during the nascent days when the industry was just beginning to adopt digital. Fast forward to today, however, the performance differential between Crop Sensor and Full Frame bodies is borderline negligible.

In fact, Crop Sensor cameras are amongst the best bang for the buck available on the market. As a professional photographer who also reviews photography equipment for a living, I’ve had the privilege of shooting with just about every camera commercially available. The fact is, professional results are absolutely achievable regardless of your camera’s sensor size. The key lies in mastering the fundamentals of how to properly utilize a camera and understanding the relationship between sensor size and its real-world applications.

Continue reading…

Photography Cheat Sheet: How to Photograph Waterfalls in a Dreamy Way

Here’s a photography cheat sheet for those who want that ethereal look to their waterfalls.

We’ve all seen them–those dreamy waterfall images that inspire awe in us and make us want to book a ticket to the latest vacation spot. Landscape photographers spend hours upon days looking for not only the best locations but also the best light. That careful combination is offset by using the right filters and the proper exposure. It’s followed by post-production, and possibly printing. Most important of all is the right light. You’ll have to search out the golden or blue hour to get just the right amount of glisten on the water. And even above all that, having the right tools. We’ve got that all set up for you in today’s photography cheat sheet. But we also have extra tips below on how to photograph waterfalls.

Continue reading…

Explaining to a Hobbyist Photographer How ROI Works for a Professional

I want to take a few minutes to talk to all of you about why I’ve been editing photos a whole lot less these days.

I’m not saying that photo editing is bad. But instead, indeed it’s honestly essential. I’m saying that true masters of photography work at least 80% in camera and the rest is all done in post-production of some sort. Heck, I’d even sometimes argue even less is done is post. I want you to think about this almost like swimming as hard as you can to keep your head above water.

Continue reading…

Photography Cheat Sheet: Do You Really Need a New Camera?

We’re honestly answering the timeless question of whether or not you need a new camera.

The classic question of the hobbyist vs. the professional photographer is one that we’re tackling in today’s photography cheat sheet. They’re similar in some ways and different in many. The idea of the uncle Bob has significantly changed in the past few years with everyone going on the second-hand market and buying older cameras. They’re competent. And today’s modern cameras are even more capable. They’re also fun. In fact, photography, in general, is a fun hobby. So today, we’re exploring whether or not you really need to buy a new camera. And hopefully, it will help you out with your next purchasing decision.

Continue reading…

Video: How to Do the Film Grain Look Right and Embrace the Noise

Film grain: are you doing it right, or does it just look like noise?

For photographers, the idea of film grain is pretty new if you’ve only been shooting for a couple of years. Digital noise is one thing, but film grain can look pretty beautiful. It’s an organic look and with the right exposure, can add character to your scene. In today’s video tutorial, we’re taking a look at the different types of film grain and how to use it to your image’s advantage. Certain camera systems have it built in such as with Olympus, Leica, and Fujifilm. But other camera systems don’t. In fact, camera makers have been working for years on trying to beat it. In fact, we’re that many of you didn’t even know that there are different types of grain.

Continue reading…

Video: How Zone Focusing Differs for Manual and Auto Focus Lenses

Zone focusing isn’t the same for every lens, and it can actually be challenging to do.

Street Photographers love to talk about zone focusing as their primary way of shooting. While some still go for autofocus, zone focusing is by far one of the best ways to shoot. Arguably, it’s faster than autofocus methods. And what lots of folks realize is that it’s different depending on the lens. Zone focusing is best at wide to standard focal lengths. But that performance also differs based on how the lens was designed. Arguably, zone focusing is more difficult with lenses designed for autofocus first. In today’s video tutorial, we explore this a bit.

Continue reading…

Fun: If Clothes Make the Man, Do Cameras Make the Photographer?

This intriguing infographic presents a lighthearted commentary on what our beloved cameras say about us as photographers.

You’ve probably heard of the old adage, “the clothes make the man.” It means that you can infer a lot about someone’s character by their choice of clothing. We’re visual people after all. Appearances play an instrumental part in determining value judgments throughout the many aspects of everyday life. What if we were to apply this same notion to our beloved cameras? Does this mean that cameras make the photographer? Check out this fun infographic from Australia-based retailer Ted’s Cameras after the jump to see what your choice in camera(s) says about you as a photographer.

Continue reading…

How to Scan Slide Film with a Camera and What You’ve Got at Home

“Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.” – William Shakespeare, King Lear, (I.iv)

“I think it would be best if we delay the shoot.” That was part of an email I received in early March, right about the time I was thinking that my year wasn’t looking too bad, business-wise. I work as a commercial photographer in Vancouver, Canada, and I had enjoyed a fairly prosperous couple of months. Early 2020 was looking better than 2019, that’s for sure. Then everything ground to a halt: I don’t have to go into much more detail than that, as I’m not alone at all in this situation. The entire planet feels at a standstill.

Continue reading…

Isaac Alvarez Shot These Flower Photos by Overpowering the Sun

Quarantine Projects like Isaac Alvarez’s are a fun way for photographers to still be creative while stuck indoors.

Photographer Isaac Alvarez found himself bored with not much to do during quarantine. So, he decided to find a way to stay creative. Isaac went outside carefully while social distancing to photograph flowers. It’s a smart idea: he’s got flowers around him, he found a way to make them look awesome as they’re great subjects, and he did this safely. And if you’re really into off-camera flash, you’ll really love how he did it. Even more impressive is the fact that he used no post-production for the photos. As he tells us, “…there’s really no editing involved here. I opened it up in Photoshop and saved it as a Jpeg.” And so Isaac did it by overpowering the Sun: a method you don’t hear about too often any more.

Continue reading…

Photography Cheat Sheet: Which Photographers Are Your Zodiac Sign?

Today’s photography cheat sheet is just for fun, so don’t take it too seriously.

If you’re bored, then we respectfully admit that today’s photography cheat sheet is really just for fun. If anything, you’ll learn that you and some famous photographers shared the same sign. And if you’re into that kind of thing, then maybe you share more than that with them. So, we spent our Monday researching photographers and putting this infographic together. I’m an Aquarius. Besides knowing that we’re intellectually superior to everyone else, we also have two of the best black and white photographers in history. And so, there’s that.

Continue reading…

Video Tutorial: A Guide to Creating Beautiful Black and White Photos

When I mention notable photographers like Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and Michael Kenna, what pops into your mind’s eye? If you thought “masterfully orchestrated fine art black and white photography,” you’d be correct.

The work of Ansel Adams and Michael Kenna, along with that of Herb Ritts, influenced my approach to black and white imaging when I took photography in high school. Nearly failing every class in high school, I was not the best student. I found school dull and uninspiring, excelling only in the photography courses available. We learned exposure basics while using cameras like the Canon AE1 and Pentax K1000. I loved every minute of learning how to process film and prints in the darkroom, secretly wishing that I could quit school and focus my time and energy on pursuing photography.

Continue reading…

Photography Cheat Sheet: The Three Most Important Parts of Any Portrait

Today’s photography cheat sheet is inspired by a few things Steve McCurry and other portrait shooters do.

We’re getting a bit technical today when it comes to portraiture. While we’ve seen lots of beautiful portrait photos, there are a few rules that anyone can use to make their portraits more effective. It starts with you as a photographer; you need to be more than just the person who shows up and presses the shutter. You need to be involved in the lighting, the wardrobe, the location selection, etc. It’s all essential when it comes to shooting a portrait. So, if you’re an aspiring portrait photographer or you’re trying to figure out how to be even better, then try this. Below is our latest photography cheat sheet, and we encourage you to read on!

Continue reading…

Photography Cheat Sheet: How Crop Factors Affect Depth of Field

We’ve created a handy photography cheat sheet for you to figure out the crop factor of a lens and the resulting depth of field.

Figuring out the crop factors from one camera system to another can be a bit tedious. Remembering what camera system uses what sensors is also a bit annoying, so we’ve come up with a full Photography Cheat Sheet to help. These are all primarily based on the 35mm frame, otherwise called Full-Frame. From that format, you figure out a whole lot of variations depending on what you’re looking at. That’s why some manufacturers make odd focal lengths that sometimes just don’t make sense.

Continue reading…

How Versatile Are Raw Files From the Sony a7r IV? We Tested Them

We tested the raw files from the Sony a7r IV. Take a look at the results.

The Sony a7r IV ($3,498 usually) is a fantastic camera: no doubt about that. Our gripes with it weren’t about the image quality, and we’re proving that with our in-depth look at the RAW File versatility. The camera has a sensor with over 60MP: it’s the highest of any full-frame camera currently on the market. So we wanted to take a closer look at just how versatile the RAW files are. In summary, we still found that good exposures are needed, but this sensor is really pushing the limits of what’s capable with full-frame sensors.

Continue reading…

Photography Cheat Sheet: How Deeper Blacks Make Sharper Images

We’re sure that many of you didn’t know the trick in this photography cheat sheet.

You’ve heard of clarity, sharpness, and toning for sharper images–but have you ever thought about deeper blacks? This is a secret that I learned years ago and that I continue to notice in images across the web. Those who love making their photos black and white probably have heard of this before and started incorporating it into their workflows. Getting deeper blacks is admittedly easier to do in post-production, but there are ways to do it in-camera using exposure tricks. It starts with having control over your lighting–which is a method that begins in-camera. But luckily, this technique applies to any situation you could possibly think of, though we’ve seen it done best with low key lighting.

Continue reading…

How Capture One 20’s Process Will Make You a Better Photo Editor

Got nothing to do right now? Consider teaching yourself Capture One 20.

The editing process in Capture One 20 is far different than Lightroom’s, and it results in many of the images that really make jaws drop. The science behind the editing engine in both Capture One 20 and Lightroom is far different. And while Lightroom is the more popular and more convenient option, Capture One 20 lets you do most of what both Photoshop and Lightroom can if you’re a photographer. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the editing process and the idea of focusing on one thing at a time.

Continue reading…