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…

Spacious Thoughts: Landscape Photography Composition

Camera Nikon D90 Exposure 0.017 sec (1/60) Aperture f/5.6 Focal Length 24 mm ISO Speed 200

In Landscape Photography, composition is one of your most essential decisions. It is how you decide what you want in the frame. Every time you bring your camera to your eye, you are composing a shot. Taking time to think about your landscape photography can turn a snapshot into a great photograph. Using Rule of thirds, lead lines, foreground interest and your background, can make your images truly engaging.

Before you read this posting, perhaps you should read about gear, light and location.

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How ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture All Relate to One Another

Here it is: the one chart you’ll ever need to understand shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. It will help you to create better black and white photos, it helps to explain why your lenses are more important than your camera, how to get the most of them, etc. If you don’t understand any of this, take a look at our guide to terminology. Or…take it with you.

This chart will help you with the dark art of metering and shooting out in the field, like at pop culture events. Enjoy!

Editor’s Note: This isn’t our chart. It was sent into us by a reader. Thanks Andrew!

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The Beginner’s Guide to Increasing Image Views On Flickr

Camera Nikon D90. Exposure 0.017 sec (1/60) Aperture f/5.6 Focal Length 200 mm ISO Speed 200

As photographers, there are a lot of us who want our images to be seen. We like to tell people where we have been or what we saw though images. Sometimes it’s about of rejection but sometimes it’s about constructive criticism. Either way, we put our content on sites like Flickr to be seen no matter the outcome. There are ways to increase the potential views of your images on Flickr through just changing how you think about your images.

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The Dark Art of Metering

Just 2/3-stop separates these two images, with the reduced exposure from the camera meter's recommendation resulting in a much more dramatic, scene.

Light metering is one of the black arts of photography: one of those mysterious skills possessed only by the elite of the photographers who understand the yin and yang of light and shade…or at least that’s what some would have you believe. It’s simply not true, and the basics of light metering are pretty simple.

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How To Get The Most From Your Lenses

These days, camera lenses are available in every shape and size and to fit every budget. From the most basic kit zooms to exotic professional primes, it takes a little practice and technique to get the best results possible. Whatever lens you may be slinging along to your next shoot, here are four quick tips to maximize image quality.

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Getting The Most Out Of Your DSLR’s Batteries

In the days of film, photographers had to worry about running out of exposures long before running out of power. In the days of digital cameras, that concern has been replaced by two: memory card space and battery life. Memory cards are easy to deal with; they’re inexpensive and small enough to keep several on your person at all times. Batteries, on the other hand, are a different issue. Unless you spring for extra batteries, you’re stuck with the battery that came with your SLR body, and maybe an additional battery for a grip. It’s economically unfeasible to treat batteries like memory cards, cheap and easy to replace. Fortunately, there are many techniques for stretching out your already long-lasting SLR even further on a single charge. Continue reading…