Useful Photography Tip #38: Maintain a Photography Fund

When it comes down to it, any image of a texture, person, water, anything photography, can be funneled down to money. You could not experience all this if money had not been spent. Love it or hate it, money’s essential. Well, my plans of saving for a camera worked. I ended up updating to a Nikon D700 with a Grip. I have also bought new lenses to go along with it. I have also been slowly updating pieces of my kit since then, as needed. I have been able to do this by maintaining a new photography fund. I have been keeping the piggy bank fed long after my original goal was reached.


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Useful Photography Tip #37: Dealing with the Heat

Yes, the girl or guy or ‘thing from that planet’ is totally hot, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I am talking about the weather, the brutally hot kind. It is the kind of heat that slows you down and makes the world goes still. The sort of temperatures that in which iced coffee is not enough to refresh you. The heat can be a beast to you and your photography.

Here are some ways to deal with it. And if you really have this problem a lot, check out our other list.

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Useful Photography Tip #35: How To Use The Rogue Gels To Simulate an Acid Trip

Take a good look at the photo above: there are four flashes in place. One on the right, two right in front of Avi and one on the chair on the left of the photo. The Rogue Gels were sent to me a while ago but I never had a really cool and creative idea to use them until I started to build my use of multiple flashes. Currently, I use two flashes on radio triggers with the other two being set to slave mode and being set off by those on radio triggers. Each flash in the photo was then gelled a different color.

To make the absolute best of the situation, I resorted to my old technique taught back in cinematography school: use one light at a time. So I set one flash off at a time and adjusted the intensity of each as the power steadily built up. Thankfully, Avi is one patient dude.

Check out the two results after the jump.

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Useful Photography Tip #34: Dealing with Other Parents

Sometimes as photographer, not matter the time of year, I am going to have to get shots of my kids. Weather it’s in school, summer camp, or just a birthday party. You have to, sometimes, battle through other parents to do so. You don’t want to seem pretentious, confrontational, but you do want to get the best shots you can of your kids. Shooting amongst other parents can be a battle field, here are some tips to get you through.

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Useful Photography Tip #33: BEEEP Your Comfort Zone

In photography, it’s easy to slip into a comfort zone. It’s easy to fall in to a stress-free way of shooting where you know people will like your work. Sticking with subjects you know and never taking chances on new styles of photography. We as humans are habitual creatures, completely unafraid to get into a groove. To become better though, we have to become uncomfortable at times.

Here are some quick tips to help.

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Useful Photography Tip #32: Quick Tips on Dealing With Failure

It was warm and slightly windy. The sky was a little cloudy. The light had a brilliant warm color to it. The vista in front of you was pristine. You have your camera to compose your shot. Everything is ready and when you release the shutter: “demo mode”. You forgot to bring your memory card. Or like me, you screw up the film of what could of been my best film shots, ever.

You failed to plan in advance.

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Useful Photography Tip #31: How to Do a DMCA Takedown Notice When Someone Steals Your Images/Content

One of the most common fears that I hear about when I teach classes on WordPress, Tumblr, Blogging or Metadata management is about how to prevent theft of your images or content.

Now first off, I don’t want to scare anyone with this post; and I often tell people that they should focus on trying to create media that people will want to steal instead of worrying about theft of their current portfolio. With that said, this site has been around for quite a while and we’re large enough that someone out there will try to steal our content. I sometimes let it go because the sites eventually get shut down, but when Reviews Editor Andy Hendriksen complained to me about it, I decided to take some action and throw down with a DMCA takedown.

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Useful Photography Tip #28: Work a Shot

I remember reading about Jay Maisel and how he asked his students how many shots they took to get the image they wanted. What I read shocked me.

To paraphrase, sometimes you have to take a lot of shots to get the one you want. This stuck with me because I was of the school of thought that if you took a lot of shots you were doing it wrong. I started to think about things differently. I had to learn it was okay to work a shot at times.

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Useful Photography Tip #27: Specialize to Succeed

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Photography is a pretty crazy business. There is no barrier to entry and it is one of the most popular hobbies in the world. Over the past few years, many people have quit or lost their jobs in the down economy and have decided to seek to use their hobby as a full time job. Because of this, the photography market is incredibly saturated with photographers. To make it, you need to stand out in some way. That way is specialization.

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Useful Photography Tip #26: Quick Tips on Shooting an Event While Unprepared

When shooting event photography, I like to take a moment and prepare. I usually take time to check out venue, look at past photographs etc. Most recently my bride told me that I was going to shoot an event, a kid’s birthday party. I could not say no. All I could do was go in blind. The setting was a bowling alley; the lighting was horrible. I had an idea of what I was shooting, however unprepared, and I made it through.

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Useful Photography Tip #24: Hacking the Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible

One of the biggest complains about the Gary Fong Lightsphere is that it spreads the light out in way too many directions and also therefore demands more power from your flash and ultimately kills the batteries faster. Upon trying a hack, I one day found a method that allowed me to make the light more directional but still very efficient.

Admittedly though, mine stays in a beauty dish most of the time. But if you still use your religiously, try this little hack.

The music in this video is from a band called Mancie, and you should really check them out.

Want to know more about flash? Take a look at our resources:

Why Beginners Think About Flash All Wrong

An Intro to Canon’s Wireless Flash System

Wirelessly triggering your Canon Flash

Hanhel’s Radio Triggers for Flashes

Using a Belt and Shoot Through Umbrella With Your Flash

The Best Budget Off-Camera Flashes and Constant Lights

Using an Old Polaroid Camera with a Modern Speedlite

Useful Photography Tip #22: Take a Moment to Think Things Through

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life is patience: take a moment and think things through. It’s extremely important part of my life as a photographer. I don’t care what your skill level is. Rushing through your shots is not always the best thing. Sometimes you have to treat photography like a game of chess and think first. Do you have the patience to take a moment and make sure everything is in order?
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Useful Photography Tip # 21: How to Shoot Environmental Portraits

Environmental portraits are a lot like any portrait, with an added layer of difficulty – you want the background to tell a story about the person. Often in a portrait shoot, you light the shot or use a shallow depth of field to isolate the subject from the background. However, in the environmental portrait, you want the background to be as much apart of the shot as the subject. The background tells you who the subject is.

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Useful Photography Tip #20: Best Profiles For Color Grading Video

For still images we have RAW which provides us with incredible dynamic range but when it comes to video it’s quite lacking. This comes from the fact that the images being recorded in a video are essentially really small JPEGs. When in video if we apply too much saturation, contrast or sharpening this will limit and decrease the amount of grading we are able to do to a video file. There are picture/color profiles out there now that allow very neutral gradable color. These profiles will not only make editing easier but they will also show more detail in the shadows and the highlights.  Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #19: Partner Eye-Fi Mobile With Instagram for Sharper, Funner Photos

Instagram is an extremely fun app to use that promote social photo sharing and has a major emphasis on simplicity. While this is all true, the photos from your phone won’t always be as great as your camera’s. To get around that, get your hands on an Eye-Fi X2 Pro card and enable Eye-Fi’s mobile sharing powers through the menus.

Plug the card into your computer using the special card reader. After the software is installed, click on the settings and route the photos to come to your phone. Try to set it so that only JPEGs come through and not RAWs. When you shoot a photo with your camera, the photos will be sent into Eye-Fi’s cloud where they will then be downloaded onto your computer or phone depending on how you set it up.

After downloading the Eye-Fi app for your Android or iOS device, ensure that your device will be able to receive the photos from your camera. Here’s how to do it with an Android device or an iOS device. The settings and menus could use a major UI overhaul, but after some experimentation and patience, you’ll be able to get it working.

For the best results, shoot in the smallest JPEG possible.

When shooting, your Eye-Fi card will try to find a WiFi connection; but if it can’t, it will create its own to send the images. The app’s ability to download images from the cloud will vary on your mobile phone carrier’s connection speed. Once they come in though, simply select the photo and click on the share button. Select Instagram, choose a filter, then type in a message followed by selecting where to send the photo to, and let it fly. This works best with Eye-Fi enabled cameras, I’m using my Olympus EPM1, but my Nikon D5100 would also work well.

Give it shot, and let us know if you have any questions. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to find me online @chrisgampat

You can check out more Useful Photography Tips right here.

Useful Photography Tip #18: Keep Your Lens(es) Protected

A lens with filter and hood. Read below why using both is important.

When being out and about taking pictures, one of the most important rules is to keep your lens(es) protected. There are various reasons why this is important, and various ways of lens protection that are possible. For one, you don’t want your lenses to be damaged. Ever walked through the narrow streets of a small Mediterranean village? You could easily come too close to a wall and scratch your front lens element. Ever taken pictures at the sea with a non-waterproof camera? Dirt or salt could easily penetrate your lens. But it’s not only about the lenses—it’s also about the camera. Ever walked through bright sunlight without a lens cap on? Your shutter or sensor could be damaged by a concentrated beam of light. (Remember how you used to burn ants with a loupe when you were a child?)

Here are a number of ways to protect your lens, and the reasons why you should do so. Continue reading…

Useful Photography Tip #17: Why Beginners Think About Flash All Wrong

More experienced users will know that people just dipping their toes into the world of flashes and strobism often try to directly point their flash at a subject and hope for the best. That’s not always the best way to think about it. Direct flash will deliver harsh shadows on a subject, and if you’re going for that Terry Richardson type of look, then go ahead and fire away.

However, speedlites, speedlights and other hot shoe flashes are meant to be used differently. Keep this very quick list of tips in mind:

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