Op/Ed: On sharing photos: Flickr, Pure Photo and 500px

When I got into photography, the first thing I learned was that it is nice to share my images. As photographers, there is one thing we like to do: have our images seen by audiences big or small and getting feedback. The internet offers various opportunities to share images. We have discussed sharing images on Flickr before, but things have evolved. Flickr is not the only image-sharing site on the web. Two sites that have recently come in to view for me are 500px and Pure Photo. I have accounts on both of these sites, and this is what I think.

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How to Shoot Street Photography with a DSLR

It’s no secret, I love small cameras for street photography. The Fuji X100 retaught me how to do it and the Olympus EP3 is perhaps a game changer in nailing the right shot. Before this, though, I used DSLRs: my Canon 7DDigital SLRs)and Canon 5D Mk IIDigital SLRs)to be exact. And when the smaller cameras had been sent back after the review was over, I needed something with better image quality. So I returned to my DSLR. But how exactly do you deal with something so large and so beastly? Here are a couple of tips.

Note: the majority of the images in this story were also shot with the Canon T3i which we found to be very good. Check out our full review and if you’re not sure if the camera is for you, take a look at this posting.

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Dealing with Camera Wrist/Shoulder/Back Pains

In photography, when holding DSLRs and tons of gear, for long periods, one can develop wrist and shoulder pain. These pains can affect your photography. There can be many reasons for this. A photographer can have previous injuries or be really fatigued from a long day of shooting. A person can even be developing Arthritis. Whatever the reason there are ways to deal with this, or even prevent it in some cases. Photographers must take care of themselves.

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On Sharing Photos on Flickr

Flickr is a great place to share your photography. We previously had a posting on how to get more page views on Flickr, but I wanted to go into the social media side of things. I am not a fan of Facebook so Flickr is my site of choice for sharing my photography. It’s very difficult for me to imagine not sharing my photography. There is a clear difference between photography for profit and photography for sharing. Continue reading…

Shut Up and Screw Up!

I’ve got the week off from work, so I’ll be posting more than once a day for this week. With that in mind, I went out today for a photo walk with the great David Cardinal: he was visiting NYC and I told him that I’d give him and his family a photo walk tour of NYC. While waiting for them, I looked out at the waters at South Street Seaport. With me, I had my Canon 7D and 85mm F/1.8. I shot the photo above on the left, but believe it or not I shot it around 5 times and different exposures until I remembered what I had been taught before. So in order to achieve the photo on the left I focused and metered for the sign which gave me the water all blown out. Then I metered for the sign, physically moved the camera’s focusing point to over the water and tried to figure out a good middle ground for me to be able to perfectly balance the water and the sign. After a couple of tries, the above left photo was the best attempt without a bit of fill flash. However, I knew that it was a good enough attempt that I would be able to fix it in post, and that’s the resulting photo on the right.

So what’s the point of this story? We need to go out there, shut up, and screw up. We as photographers can sit here all day and bad mouth others. But what do we have to show for ourselves? Can we do any better? I hate it when people complain about a cut off arm of a model in a portrait, if the image is astounding otherwise. Seriously, let me see what you’ve got instead!

The overall point of the story is that we need to go out there and shoot everyday. And we need to make mistakes. When we’ve made said mistakes, we need to come back and look at the results in the digital Lightroom and discern for ourselves how we could have done better. We should look at mistakes in a positive light because they are an opportunity for us to grow and become better photographers.

I compare this a bit to being a young(er) man. Every guy needs to figure out the tips and tricks to win a woman’s heart. But once he’s got a winning formula for him, he’ll be fine. But the only way that he figures out his formula is by going out there, getting hurt and making mistakes. Granted, love and photography are different fields. But that’s how I learned how to embrace mistakes.

And as photographers, we need to screw up and stop moping over the mistake. We just need to figure out how to become better and correct it next time.

Custom Functions: A Hidden Treasure in Your Camera

Canon 5D Custom Function

Canon 5D Custom Function

A while back, I posted a photograph on Flickr which lead to a discussion on the settings I used to create that particular image. I started listing away the basic exposure values (aperture, shutter,etc.) and then I got into custom function settings. As soon as “custom functions” entered the conversation, a barrage of questions quickly followed. What are custom functions? How do I access them? Where can I find more information on custom functions? Sadly, I was not surprised to hear that so many people are not using these fantastic, and somewhat hidden, settings as manufacturers love to bury them in a sea of menus. Let’s take a trip to the mystical world of custom functions. Continue reading…

How To Not Suck at Retouching

Professional retouching is a closely guarded industry secret but the most important part of it is not that difficult to learn and you probably already have most of the things you need to do it. A properly retouched photo gives that finished magazine look to an already great photo and can salvage an otherwise unacceptable one.

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An Introduction to The Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a fundamental concept of photography that deals with the composition of your image based upon an imaginary or superimposed grid. We talk about it often here on the site, but you may not even know what it really is or how to use it. Here’s your field guide.

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On Photowalking

A nice calm moment as the day ends

Sometimes I don’t want to work. I just want to go out on a photo walk. It’s meditation for me. It’s also a form of exercise. Spring is coming. Photowalking, one of my favorite activities, is on my mind—walking around taking photos in a city or a park. On a nice day, I can walk alone, or with people I know, taking photos and having fun. I use photo walks to test photo gear, socialize, and explore new areas. I have been thinking of how to make them better. Here are some thoughts, feel free to use them.

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How Faster Lenses Can Save Your Flash’s Battery Life

Faster lenses (i.e. those with a wider maximum aperture) are often the ones that will preserve the battery life of your flash. Keep this in mind when photographing events, weddings, portraits, photojournalism, or concerts. This is even more true for flash modifiers like the Orbis and Gary Fong Lightsphere that bend the shape of the flash output but lose light in the process. There are ways to get the most out of your flash output. Besides using it wirelessly to place the light anywhere you want, there are many factors that new photographers should keep in mind to be super-efficient with their flash output. Additionally, knowing that faster lenses can save you lots of trouble in the end is critical. Before you read this post, you may want to open up our recommended Canon lenses post in another tab. Also keep in mind that you don’t need to spend a fortune on these lenses.

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Suggestions on Saving Money for Your Photography

The path of photography is not always cheap. As a family man and photographer, I really have to look at how I spend money. A person can go broke or in debt, trying to acquire and maintain cameras, lenses and other equipment. People today have less money to begin with due to the economic downturn. With patience, one could save money for their photography needs. To me it’s about anticipating what’s needed and wanted long before buying it. Continue reading…

Capturing Children (with a camera)

Camera Nikon D90, Lens Nikon 18.0-105.0 mm, f/3.5-5.6 Exposure 0.005 sec (1/200) Aperture f/5.6 Focal Length 105 mm ISO Speed 200

Taking pictures of kids is an adventure. As a dad, and as many other parents out there know, children are kinetic—never static and always moving. This can make photography rather challenging. With the correct settings and attitude any one can get a decent image of children especially if you have a DSLR. Here are some tips to help with that. Continue reading…

Five Reasons Why Smaller Cameras are Better for Street Photography

There is often a debate back and forth about which cameras are best for Street Photography, and Eric Kim does a very good job of trying to discern through it all for people. Being a gear and tips oriented blog, we try to help readers make better decisions on which cameras are best for certain situations. In truth, it is all up to the photographer, and I agree with Eric that any camera can do the job. However, I personally believe that smaller cameras do it best. Here’s why:

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The Phoblographer’s Guide to The Histogram (Part 1)

In these days of the digital SLR, we’ve all seen these weird graphs, jagged and erratic like the output from some radioactive geological experiment. Most modern cameras allow quick access to these cryptic readouts. They come in a range of sizes and colors, instant review, live feedback, even histograms for every color channel. So are they useful? Can they help us to take better photos? In this quick 3-part series, we’ll dive into the power of the histogram and, hopefully, share a few handy tips.  Continue reading…