Tip #200: How to Print a Digital Picture to Look Like a Film Print

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click Here.

Today’s tip is our 200th! And we’re very excited to bring it to you! We’ve been looking at what you’ve been putting into the search engine on our website and figured we’d create this piece of content just for you folks. There’s lots of information online on how to make your digital photo look like a film photo, but those photos often lack that film photo aesthetic when printed. And in fact, many of you were looking for how to do something just like this. It’s a process that starts in the post-production stage and transfers to the printing stage. Here’s how you do it!

Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #199: How to Dehaze a Photo In Camera, No Post!

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click Here.

Lots of photographers will teach you tutorials about how to get more details out of a scene in post-production. But the truth is that you don’t need it. Instead, we believe in the philosophy of getting rid of the problem to begin with. Lots of you who use Adobe Lightroom know about using the Dehaze tool and all it does. Indeed, when it launched it really was pretty innovative, and in some ways it can still prove very useful. But to be honest, you don’t need it. Instead, there’s a little thing that photographers have been using for years to get rid of haze, boost color, and enhance clarity right in camera.

Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #198: The Missing Secret to a Sharper Landscape

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click Here.

The secret of a sharper landscape photo is something very few of us think about. Honestly, we can’t be blamed. I mean, how many people really shoot a landscape with a flash or artificial light? No one does, and we’re not saying you should, but we’re saying the idea comes from there. This idea is that of specular highlights. Specular highlights are little details that come out when light is shined on a subject. To get that light naturally, there needs to be, well, light! And so the golden hour and other times where there is sufficient light on a subject is when you’ll get the best balance of both details and aesthetics.

Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #197: The Fujifilm Pastel Look in 4 Steps

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click Here.

Getting that beautiful Pastel look is great, but would you believe us if we told you there is an easier way to do it than to work with presets? In fact, it doesn’t require a lot of work. Best of all, it can be done in-camera. For the benefit of everyone, we’re going to quickly talk about getting this look in-camera with Fujifilm cameras and with any other camera out there as well. However, due to the way that their colors work, Fujifilm is typically the best at this.

Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #196: The Golden Hour Look Any Time of the Day

Want more useful photography tips? Click here.

Everyone loves the look of the golden hour when shooting portraits. While it’s always available for only a short period of time, don’t worry: there’s a way to get it at any time of the day. Best of all, this is NOT POSSIBLE IN PHOTOSHOP WITHOUT A LOT OF WORK! The reason for this is because you’ll create an organically looking light in the scene and not just use a gradient. Here’s how!

Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #195: Golf Bags Are a Great Way to Store Light Stands on a Flight

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click Here.

Photographers traveling on flights often will have trouble with lots of the gear that they’re carrying. Not only do you get thoroughly checked when bringing cameras, lenses and more but light modifiers can also be a pain. Let alone the cost of all that stuff can add up. But for some odd reason, golf bags fly for free (meaning no oversize charge) on most airlines. Golf bags are a great size for storing smaller light stands–which will make your life so much easier. Of course, you still need to check the bag, get it over there, and hope that the folks who work while handling all that stuff don’t break anything.

Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #194: You Need This if You’re Manually Focusing a Telephoto Lens

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click Here.

One would easily think that focusing with a telephoto lens manually would be a peace of cake; but the reality is that there a ton of complicated physics happening. In fact, it’s both exhausting and requires the photographer to be incredibly deliberate. Perplexed at how this is so difficult? Well let’s break it down for you.

Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #193: Don’t Forget to Bounce a Flash off the Nearest Wall at a Party

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click Here.

When you’re at a party using a flash, it’s common practice to either use a bounce card (like a Flashbender) or to bounce the light off the ceiling and a bit behind you in order to give frontal illumination to your subjects. But also seriously do remember to take note of all of your surroundings. If you’ve got a wall not far from you, bounce the flash off of that and turn your back to the wall. By pointing the flash up and behind you, you’ll provide some nice frontal lighting on your subject.

See, we told you that this was a short, quick tip! 🙂

Useful Photography Top #192: The Essential Tip For Shooting Street Photography With a Mirrorless Camera

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click Here.

When shooting street photography, mirrorless cameras have always had one major default disadvantage. You’re shooting with the camera and by default there is an eye-sensor. Said sensor detects when your eye (or something) is near the viewfinder and the camera will switch from the LCD screen to primarily using the EVF. This in turn causes some delays with trying to get the shot. It’s not at all like using a DSLR where the OVF is always on and the same goes for a rangefinder.

So what do you do
Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #191: Here’s Why Toning in Black and White Photography Is So Important

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Check them out here!

Today’s useful photography tip is for every photographer who wants to get more into black and white photography, is into it, and who wants to understand how light and color can affect a scene. The opening photo of this post was done in black and white. When you look at it, you’d probably think that the lighting wasn’t that special or different. But click past the jump to see something a bit different.

Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #190: A Relatable Tip to Justify Your Costs as a Wedding Photographer

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here

Though this is partially written in satire, I think that it’s a wonderful point to sometimes make to couples who are about to elope–just how to justify the costs of your services as a wedding photographer. And for years, the tradition has been to talk about the memories that they’re going to have, but they completely understand that. But what they don’t understand is the viewpoint of more than just them. So to that end, you need to think a bit more like them.

I’ve given this serious thought over the past few months, and I think that telling couples about not only the great photos that they’re going to have of them is important, but also those of their guests. Go across social media, dating apps, etc and you’ll find so many photos of folks at weddings and looking their best. Social media avatars are often images that put our best foot forward. To that end, it’s great to not only sell the idea that the couple will have fantastic photos of them, but also their friends and family will get great photos too. So packaging all that in at your price point will ensure that every single person is happy. Of course, it means that you need to either be fantastic at shooting candid portraiture or proper portraits. For the latter, a photo booth can help.

But then the challenge remains: can you deliver?

Useful Photography Tip #189: A PSA for Those Who Shoot Slide Film

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here

Lots of film photographers only shoot their film, develop and scan it, and then mess with the scans in post afterwards. But if you’re shooting slide film, then you’re probably denying yourself a whole lot of justice. Those who shoot Ektachrome, Provia, Velvia etc. should really put their film down on a white box, get a magnification loupe, and look at all the beautiful details that the original piece has to offer. There are even apps on your phone that will act as a white box–and all you need to do is take the positives, put it down on the screen, and look at the images with a magnification loupe that will let you cut out excess light around the image.

This, perhaps more than anything, is the magic of slide and chrome film. These films were designed to be cut up (at times) and put into projectors so that we can easily see all the details. It’s where the idea of “slides” come from when you’re in a business meeting and a Powerpoint presentation is being done. In this case though, you’re really just looking a those photos and probably not using a projector. If you don’t have a lightbox or anything that can help you look at the details closer, hold it up to a neutral light source and simply look at the positives. The experience is often magical and can’t be put into words.

Useful Photography Tip #188: The Best Time of Day to Take Outdoor Portraits Is…Anytime!

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

If you’re one of those folks looking for that golden, sunkissed look to your portraiture then what you genuinely want is the entire period of the golden hour–and ideally before it. In big cities like in New York, sundown can last for a number of hours. The sun gets really nice and warm, so when combined with 5600K white balance (or auto, I guess) you can make skin tones really pop. But if you’re the type of person that can’t always wait for the sun to give you what nature does best, then seriously consider that the best time to take outdoor portraits is truthfully any time of the day.

Seriously, Chris? Yes. I’ve been doing it for years under harsh sun and under no sun with lots of cloud coverage. The best thing I tell everyone is to back or side light your subject and to head for the shade. The shade is so valuable for a number of great reasons:

  • It provides even lighting and so it gives that shadowless look
  • Combine it with ISO 400 or ISO 160 and you’ll get a very hand-holdable shutter speed
  • If your subject is wearing vibrant colors, then they’re going to really pop from the background
  • Combine the color popping effect with depth of field (bokeh) and you’re going to rock that portrait session

Of course, this is the method you use if you don’t want to carry any gear around with you like diffusers, reflectors, etc. But if you bring those things (and even diffusion umbrellas) you can shoot any time of the day you wish. It’s all about finding the light and softening it to make your subject look more flattering. Until you learn how to master natural light with whatever is available around you though, I genuinely recommend staying away from working with other items.

Oh yeah, and learn to see and pay attention to color in a scene.

Useful Photography Tip #187: How to Remember What 120 Film You Were Shooting With

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here

Most Medium Format cameras don’t have some sort of window on the back of the camera that you can peer into; one of the many way that they differ from 35mm cameras. So then the question becomes how to remember what film you’ve got in that camera? Well, the answer varies but the most consistent one that you’ll find is that you should be using the little note holder on either the back of the camera or the film back depending on what you’re using.

Let’s say that I was shooting some Ilford Delta 400 in my Mamiya 6. What I’d do is take a little tab from the box that clearly notes what film it is and slip it into the little holder. This way, it will stay in place and when I go back to pick the camera up to shoot, I’ll remember that Ilford Delta 400 is in there.

Why not just finish the roll, you ask? Well, 120 film usually has less shots per roll vs 35mm film. Depending on the format, you could have something like 16 shots when shooting at the 645 forma or even 9 at the larger variants like 6×9 format. Because of this, you also tend to be much more heavily selective of your shots. You’ll switch camera backs between color and black and white as well if you’re using an SLR style of camera that allows you to do so. Just to note, a camera like the Pentax 67 won’t let you switch backs but the Mamiya RB67 Pros S will. Otherwise, there’s a possibility that you can go for some time without shooting images with that camera and back, and you’ll just forget that there’s film in there. You may also forget what film you put inside unless you’re the type to really stick to a few emulsions.

Useful Photography Tip #186: Make a Portrait Subject Smile; Don’t Ask Them To

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

“Smile” is what your parents and those old school portrait photographers used to say to us. “Show a bit more teeth.” It’s just as awkward now as an adult as it was as a child. Indeed, with being both in front of the camera and behind it, I’ve known that asking someone to smile is the worst thing to do unless there’s a very good rapport with the person. Even then, it’s just odd. The best thing to do instead as a photographer is to find a way to make them smile. It can be via conversation, and the idea of tricking someone’s mind into doing this is perhaps the best way to get a genuine expression from the person. Who’d have thunk?! Someone being genuine can translate into genuine photos?! That’s insane!!!

There’s obvious sarcasm in that previous sentence. So how do you make someone smile? I like going to Reddit’s R/Jokes section and telling them something that gets a chuckle. Otherwise, I have them talk about a super happy time in their life.

Also remember that, for some subjects, the more you ask them to smile the more likely they are going to fake it. I’ve done this. Just relate to them as a human being.

Useful Photography Tip #185: Why You Should Generally Underexpose Your Images

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

One of the biggest and best tips I can possibly give any photographer about modern digital photography has to do with metering a scene. First off, if you’re using a form of evaluative metering then you should often use the light meter as a gauge and not try to always get the little blinker in the middle of the exposure indicator. You personally may want an image to be brighter, so learn how your camera handles more overexposed photos.

If you’re shooting for the edit though, you should underexpose your photos. Modern CMOS sensors (in general, those specifically made by Sony which are more or less in most cameras) have a tendency to handle the shadows a whole lot better than the highlights. That’s not to say that they can’t get details from the highlights, but if you have to gauge whether you can get more details from the highlights or the shadows, it would surely be the shadows. To that end, by underexposing your images in camera you can simply push the shadows in post.

If you overexpose, getting those details in the highlights aren’t always guaranteed without working in lots of layers. But if you’re perfectly okay with the image the way that it was exposed in camera, you can totally not worry about shooting for the edit.

Useful Photography Tip #184: How to Find the ISO Button of Most Cameras in the Dark

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

You’re in a bind; you’re in a dark place and you’re trying to find the ISO button on your camera. What do you do? Some folks end up pressing buttons until they get to exactly what they want. But if you’ve got a camera with a dedicated ISO button, then you’re a bit more in luck. For some time now, camera companies have made their buttons have a little bulging dot on top of their ISO buttons. So when you’re in the dark, you’ll be able to feel for exactly what you need. Canon and Nikon have both done this for years and on the newer Panasonic GH5s, the ISO button has perforations on it while the white balance button is more rounded out. Once the photographer knows what button does what, they’ll be all set to shoot.

If you have a camera with buttons that are programmable, you’re not in as much luck. Or if you’ve got a camera with a dedicated ISO dial, you’ll need to look at the screen or the dial itself. But in these cases, the function buttons can help if you set them up in a specific way that you’ll understand.

Useful Photography Tip #183: The Trick Your Sony Camera Has That You’re Probably Not Using

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

Photographers who want better metering of their scene should know that Sony has a bit more science to their camera metering system than you’d think. Besides the more traditional center-weighted, spot metering (which can be linked to the focusing point) and evaluative metering modes, there is another another option called “Entire Screen Average.” To figure out how that works, we asked Sony’s Mark Weir about just how exactly the algorithms do their magic. “Entire Screen Averaging meters the entire frame, but differs from Multi-pattern metering by eliminating the weighting on any individual segment.” says Mark. “The idea is to avoid any shifts in exposure that might be influenced by slight changes in composition.”

What that basically means is that it finds a way to look at all the different segments and averages them out, so it truly is an average of all the segments on the screen. This can be really useful in most situations. In other situations, spot metering is still my go to method when using Sony cameras.

Useful Photography Tip #183: Vinegar Can Kill Some Forms of Lens Fungus

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

While this tip may not be the most important for photographers who own newer lenses, it’s very important for photographers who may acquire vintage or used glass. Something that can be quite annoying is fungus. In most cases, lens fungus doesn’t affect the image quality of a photo unless the fungus severe. It also depends on the type of fungus and how much there is. The severity will also determine how you go about dealing with it.

In many cases, lens fungus can be dealt with using vinegar–specifically white vinegar. White vinegar is a gentle cleanser that can take care of this issue if you catch it early. If the lens you’re working with is a bit more infested with fungus, then it’s going to be a much different story. You’ll probably need to bring that in to an expert who will deal with it themselves.

Useful Photography Tip #182: When Shooting a Photo Using the LCD Screen, Bring Your Elbows Into Your Body

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

The lead photo of this blog post is surely not the way to take a photo when using the LCD screen of your camera. Instead, it’s actually the worst way; but lots of people do it when they shoot with their phone or even with a camera that has an LCD screen. Instead, what you should do is find a way to stabilize it by also stabilizing your body.

If you take karate or any other form of martial arts, depending on the art form, they may tell you to never fully extend your arms because they’re an easy point for you to be taken down. Instead, get very close and extend only to your elbow. This way you’re more stable. The same idea applies to photography. The closer the camera is to your body, the more stable it will be, so that you don’t produce photos that have camera shake in them.

I normally try to keep Useful Photography tips very short but check out the image after the jump.

Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #181: How to Look for Abstracts in Landscape Photography

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

One of the reasons why you use telephoto lenses in landscape photography not only has to do with capturing an entire scene, but also being more artistic about the format in one way or another. What some of the more advanced landscape photographers do beyond looking for layers of sky and land is look for shapes in a scene to focus in on and play with. So how do you do this?

  • Crops: Experiment with various crops of your images and try different sizes. Modern cameras have enough megapixels where you can crop for quite a bit.
  • Looking at things on a micro scale: You know how folks like pixel peeping? Don’t pixel peep but instead look at the image closer and make your psyche vulnerable to shapes, tones, etc.
  • Rendering in black and white: One of the easiest ways to do this is to go black and white. Looking for shapes, tones and everything else becomes simpler. You can find so much in a black and white image.
  • Shapes: Circles, lines, leading lines, squiggles, etc. Look for them and keep them in mind. Sometimes even rotating your photo can help.
  • Contrasting colors: Go for at least two colors; no more than three.
  • Think about paintings: Imagine the scene without any sort of details. In fact, try to strip them away in post with stuff like Gaussian blur. I personally really like to think about and bring up Bob Ross. He created paintings of scenes but nothing was incredibly detailed obviously because they were paintings. From this you can recognize in your mind what he was painting. The same goes for Van Gogh and so many others.

Our friends over at Outdoor Photographer have even more tips on how to do this. Head on over and take a look.