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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How To Choose the Right ISO Settings When Shooting With Flash

It’s no secret that we’re big champions of using lighting here at The Phoblographer. Obviously, natural light can produce excellent results. However, there’s no denying that the use of flashes provides significantly more control. It also allows us to create reliable results repeatedly. While lighting may seem daunting to photographers new to the world of on/off-camera flashes, the key to success lies in understanding the fundamentals. We’ve previously covered the use of flashes in general. Today, we’ll be focusing specifically on ISO settings in relation to shooting with flashes.

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135mm Lenses Are Perfect for Portraits and Here’s Why

In our latest infographic, we get down to brass tacks about why 135mm lenses are the perfect option when it comes to portrait photography.

When it comes to shooting portraits, many photographers tend to gravitate towards lenses with longer focal lengths. This is thanks to their ability to produce flattering images of their subjects. While 50mm and 85mm lenses are also popular choices amongst portrait shooters, it’s possible to produce even better results by opting for a longer focal length. We’re talking about 135mm lenses in this case. Thanks to the way lenses work, 135mm lenses have just the right amount of compression that ensures subjects of all body shapes will appear flattering and distortion-free. It’s also great for close up and full body shots as well. You’ll need plenty of room when shooting with a 135mm lens, of course, but that’s the only downside. Check out our infographic where we break down the key benefits of shooting portraits using a 135mm lens.

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An Introduction to ND Filters for the Budding Landscape Photographer

ND filters are powerful tools that allow us to capture landscape scenes that would otherwise escape us.

If you’re thinking about starting up landscape photography, you need to familiarize yourself with some tools that can help take your images from good to great. You’ve splashed the cash on a camera, you’ve picked up a sturdy tripod, an excellent lens, and even a bag to haul your gear around, but you may have overlooked ND filters. These ‘sunglasses’ for your lens are a must-have for landscape photographers, but they are often overlooked because they seem complicated. In this introduction to ND filters, we cover what these filters are, what they do, and how you can get the most out of them.

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What Film Emulsion Should I Choose? A Guide for Analog Photography

There’s never been a more exciting time to start shooting analog. In our latest original infographic, find out which film emulsion is right for you.

The reports of film’s death are greatly exaggerated. In fact, there’s never been a more exciting time to start shooting analog. If you’re new to the world of film photography, welcome! Plenty of film cameras can be had for a fraction of their original price. There’s bound to be one that will suit your particular needs (Check out our handy guide to the 6 Best Film Cameras for Beginners). Unlike with digital, you don’t get to change your ISO on the fly. Once you load a roll or spool of film into your film camera, you’re locked into that particular roll’s ISO until you finish the whole thing.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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