Flow Chart: Do You Need an F2.8 or an F4 Zoom Lens?

Do you need an f2.8 or an f4 zoom lens? We’re answering this in today’s Cheat Sheet.

We’re sure many of you are trying to figure out whether you should go with f2.8 or f4 zoom lenses. Folks type this into our search engine reasonably often, and it’s clear that people aren’t sure what they need. Of course, there are pros and cons to each. Do you need the extra stop of light? Do you prefer a lightweight body? What subject matter are you photographing? There are a host of essential questions one should answer when they are considering the purchase. And today’s flow chat, otherwise known as our photography cheat sheet, is designed to help you figure that out.

Editor’s Note: We’ve written about this before, but people want more!

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These Tips Will Help You Master Shooting Wide-angle Portraits at 24mm

Did you know that you can shoot portraits using wide-angle lenses? Let us show you how to master portrait photography using the 24mm focal length.

Once upon a time, it would have been inconceivable to photograph portraits using something as wide as a 24mm lens. You may as well have bought a one-way express ticket to Distortion City. Thanks to advancements in modern optics design, however, that is a thing of the past. Portrait photography with 24mm wide-angle lenses is totally feasible nowadays. As long as you understand how best to utilize the focal length, it can lead to some truly creative possibilities. In our latest original infographic, we will be going over some important guidelines to keep in mind when creating portraits using 24mm wide-angle lenses.

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Put a Ring on It: A Quick Intro to Ring Flash Photography

Although they have a pretty bad rap amongst purists, ring flashes can be very versatile light sources for photography when used properly.

When it comes to photographic lighting, ring light flashes rank pretty high on the list of contentious topics between photographers. The mere mention of them can be enough to trigger some strobists to the point that they end up breaking into tirades. Years ago, ring lights were en vogue amongst beauty, fashion, and editorial photographers, but fell out of favor as more directional lighting became de rigueur. Thanks to widespread use by beauty bloggers, YouTubers, and reality television confessionals (many are lit using ring lights), ring lights are having a bit of a renaissance at the moment. They’ve become so ubiquitous that even most non-photographers will recognize the telltale halo-like catchlights they produce. Regardless of your opinion on ring lights, it’s important to remember that all light behaves identically because they obey the same laws of physics. As long as you’re utilizing them properly, ring lights can actually be very useful for a variety of different genres of photography. Let’s dive deeper.

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Make Your Own Golden Hour By Mastering This One Setting

Photographing during golden hour can produce stunning results, but Mother Nature isn’t always kind to us. Give this trick a go if she’s being temperamental.

Many photographers love shooting during golden hour because the ambient light imparts a soft, gorgeous warmth onto our subject matter. Those fleeting moments during golden hour often produce some of the most stunning images regardless if you’re photographing landscapes or portraits. Aside from the short window of opportunity, we’re also very much at Mother Nature’s mercy when photographing during golden hour. Weather conditions, cloud coverage, time of year, and a slew of other factors determine whether the ambient light is actually golden during its eponymous hour. All hope is not lost, however, if Mother Nature happens to be a cruel mistress while you’re out photographing. By mastering your camera’s white balance settings, you will gain the ability to control how intense golden hour’s effects appear in your image. You can even simulate the appearance of golden hour if Mother Nature is giving you the cold shoulder. Let’s dive right in.

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These Tips Will Level Up Your Backlit Portrait Photography Game

© 2020 Pauleth Ip / PI Creative

Are you a fan of the backlit portrait look but not sure how to achieve it? Let us show you how with our latest original infographic!

Backlighting subjects is a popular technique used in portrait photography, popular amongst portrait photographers who prefer to work with natural light. When properly executed, backlit portraits take on a natural and aesthetically pleasing quality. If you’ve wanted to give this style a try, but weren’t quite sure how to pull it off, we’ve got you covered!

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Showdown of the Portrait Photography Focal Lengths: 85mm vs 135mm

Both 85mm and 135mm lenses are highly sought after options for portrait photography, but which focal length reigns supreme?

When it comes to portrait photography, many photographers will naturally reach for an 85mm or 135mm prime lens. Both lenses are equally capable of delivering stunning results in the right hands. However, there are fundamental differences between the two focal lengths that give each lens unique advantages. Understanding them will allow you to pick the most appropriate option at your next portrait session.

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These Are The Best Focal Lengths For Capturing Candid Moments

Different focal lengths lend unique perspectives to your images. Give these a try the next time you’re photographing candid moments.

Candid moments are happening all around us, and photography affords us the unique ability to distill and immortalize them into a single frame. Situational awareness is key. Most candid moments tend to reveal themselves as long as you’re paying attention to your surroundings. While there are no hard and fast rules that you must adhere to when it comes to capturing these “Kodak Moments,” some focal lengths certainly work better than others. Be sure to give these different focal lengths a go the next time you’re planning on capturing candid moments.

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These Useful Tips Will Help You Master Fireworks Photography

Fireworks photography can produce some truly stunning results. If you’re trying it for the first time, be sure to have this infographic handy.

Fireworks are synonymous with celebrations throughout much of the world. Here in the United States, fireworks are quintessential spectacles during the Independence Day celebrations each year. Larger than life and adored by many, fireworks can add an extra layer of dynamism to your images if photographed properly. If you’ve never attempted fireworks photography before, it can seem like a daunting endeavor. Fear not; in our latest original infographic, we’ll show you everything you need to know to get started with fireworks photography. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with these handy tips, you’ll be ready to create some truly stunning fireworks images.

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Why It’s Important to Learn the Focus and Recompose Method

While modern cameras have highly sophisticated autofocusing systems, the Focus and Recompose method is still a useful tool in every photographer’s toolbox.

The autofocusing systems in modern cameras are nothing short of technological marvels. Some of the latest cameras have hundreds of autofocusing points, making it incredibly easy to nail focus consistently. But things weren’t always this simple. Back in the nascent days of digital, when much of the industry was still shooting film, autofocus systems were significantly less sophisticated. Cameras with autofocusing capability had only a handful of AF points at most. The Focus and Recompose method was a technique that actually predates autofocusing and was used widely across the industry when autofocusing was first introduced.

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Photography Cheat Sheet: Aperture Settings for Different Applications

If you’re unsure which aperture setting to use for photos you want to shoot, let today’s photography cheat sheet serve as your quick reference.

We’ve been sharing a lot of tips about camera settings as of late, especially aperture. As one of the components of the Exposure Triangle, the aperture is responsible for letting light into the camera. The lower the f-stop (also known as f-number), the larger the opening of lens, and the more light hits the camera sensor or film. However, that is just one of the things your aperture setting will do for your photos. Today’s featured photography cheat sheet provides yet another way for beginners to look at aperture: which one should you use to get the creative effects you need for your shot?

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Photography Cheat Sheet: A Super Easy Guide to Rembrandt Lighting

Rembrandt Lighting is a popular technique for portrait photography.

Chances are that if you’re really into portraiture, that you’ve studied work that includes Rembrandt lighting. This method is popular partially because it’s such a flattering lighting option. It’s known for the signature triangle that you see on the face because of the angle. And like all photography these days, it’s pretty much just about the angles. Luckily for you, it can be done with both natural light and off-camera lighting. We always prefer to control the lighting that we put in the scene. Today, we’ve got our own original cheat sheet for you, along with supplementary info.

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Going Old School: Introduction to Pinhole Photography

Always wanted to give pinhole photography a try? Our latest original infographic will help you get started with this time-tested alternative process.

Looking back at the history of photography, pinhole photography is among one of the oldest techniques. The earliest mention of pinhole photography dates back to the mid-1800s, and it continues to be an accessible alternative photographic process today. It is particularly popular amongst film photographers. Getting started with pinhole photography requires very minimal equipment; all you really need is a pinhole camera and a tripod. But, what qualifies as a pinhole camera can genuinely run the gamut. You can turn a conventional camera body into a pinhole camera by replacing its lens with a body cap that has a pinhole drilled into its center. Handmade box cameras are another popular option. You can even make pinhole cameras out of a beer can or a roast duck! Interested in giving pinhole photography a go? Check out our latest infographic where we break down some pinhole photography basics:

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These Film Photography Tips Are Super Helpful for Beginners

The reports of film photography’s death are greatly exaggerated. Check out these helpful tips to get started with film photography!

While much of the photography industry is dominated by work created with digital cameras, film photography has been making a steady resurgence into the zeitgeist. We’re regularly seeing new film emulsions being introduced, and instant films have never been more popular. There’s never been a more exciting time to get started with film photography. In our latest original infographic, we explore some useful tips and information that will help get you started with shooting film.

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The Phoblographer’s Guide to Buying a Used Leica

Most vintage Leicas retain their value very well over time. Be sure to brush up on these tips before you invest in a used Leica of your own.

Vintage Leica cameras are prized by many photographers for their robust build quality, reliability, and tactile feedback. While much of the photography industry today is predominately digital, used analog Leicas of yesteryear remain highly sought after camera. The nostalgia factor is undeniable, but their overall pleasing shooting experience undoubtedly plays a huge part as well. If you’ve been wanting to get your hands on a used Leica, here are some important tips to be aware of:

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Photography Cheat Sheet: How to Figure Out What Aperture You Need

The aperture does more than let adequate light in your shot: it also helps you control how much of the scene appears sharply focused.

Whether you’re shooting in manual or aperture priority mode, setting the right aperture to put depth of field to work is one of the decisions you’ll have to make with confidence. Whatever the kind of photography you do, your choice of aperture will determine not only how bright your results look, but also how much of the scene appears sharply focused. It’s one of the topics we cover a lot in our tutorials and cheat sheets, but in case you need a less technical visual guide, today’s featured photography cheat sheet will serve as another quick reference to help you better understand how aperture works.

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Infographic: Tips on Shooting Portraits with an 85mm Lens

When it comes to portrait photography, the 85mm focal length is the go to choice for most photographers with good reason.

For many photographers, the 85mm focal length is synonymous with portraiture. Whenever the topic of portrait photography comes up, the discussion inevitably involves the use of 85mm lenses. But, why is the 85mm focal length so closely associated with portrait photography, and how can you best utilize it in your portraiture work? That’s precisely what we’re covering today with our latest original Phoblographer infographic.

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The History of Photography and One of Its Most Heartwarming Stories

We all love photography, but how much do you really know about its history? Join us as we explore some of the more notable developments.

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs,” said Ansel Adams in a very famous quote. “When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” Ansel surely left his mark on photography as did many others. To do that they used a few very iconic cameras and methods. Photography has been around in some way or another since ancient times starting with the camera obscura. But, when we think of photography in the more modernized way, it has a long, celebrated history. And we’re exploring that in today’s Photography Cheat Sheet.

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The Phoblographer’s Guide to Second Curtain Flash Basics

When used properly, Second Curtain Flash can be a powerful creative tool that creates aesthetically unique and visually engaging images.

Here at The Phoblographer, we’re huge proponents of mastering lighting and flash photography. Even if you’re a natural light shooter, mastery of lighting in all forms is fundamental to becoming a well-rounded photographer. Anyone familiar with flash photography knows how versatile a tool it can be. Aside from illuminating our subjects, flash can also be an effective tool that freezes fast-moving subjects. But, what about images that look like long exposures even though the subject appears perfectly blur-free? Those must be composites, right? Well, not always. While this effect is certainly achievable in post-production, you can actually recreate these results in-camera. Why spend all that time sitting at your computer when you can accomplish the same results in-camera practically? That’s where Second Curtain Flash comes in.

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Facts About Image Stabilization: What Every Photographer Should Know

Our latest original infographic covers some handy tips that help you maximize image stabilization capabilities of your cameras and lenses.

Some photographers have incredibly steady hands, which allows them to easily make photographs at slower shutter speeds without tripods. Others aren’t quite so lucky. These photographers need to crank up their shutter speeds in order to compensate for camera shake and to prevent blurriness in their images. Caffeine addicts like myself understand this pain all too well. Luckily, camera manufacturers understand this challenge as well. As a result, we’ve seen significant developments in image stabilization technology in recent years.

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The Golden Spiral: Step Your Photography Composition Game

Careful composition for a cognac ad using the Golden Spiral

When it comes to photography composition, the Golden Spiral is an aesthetically pleasing but often overlooked alternative to the commonly used Rule of Thirds.

When it comes to photography composition, the “Rule of Thirds” is the first rule to come to mind for most photographers. It’s a tried and true method that guarantees visually pleasing results. However, it’s not the be-all end-all when it comes to composition rules. To quote Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, “There is another.” In our latest infographic, we will be covering one such alternative: the Golden Spiral. Sometimes referred to as the Golden Ratio or the Golden Proportion, it’s another effective compositional tool that can help create truly engaging images. It even went by the “Divine Proportion” moniker during the Renaissance. Let’s check it out.

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Photography Cheat Sheet: Three Ways to Make Darker or Brighter Photos

Today’s featured photography cheat sheet is a different take on understanding the exposure elements and how you can use them to make your photos darker or brighter.

Still getting a grip on how to set your camera’s aperture, shutter speed, and ISO? Getting acquainted with the Exposure Triangle is one of the best and fundamental ways to understand how it all works and comes together to create proper exposures. Changing the value of one element often means you have to compensate the other two to maintain proper exposure. However, there’s another way to look at what these settings can do: using them to make your photos darker or brighter, especially when you’re mastering shooting in manual mode. Today’s photography cheat sheet is a quick reference you can use for your next practice.

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