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Understanding Focal Length: Which One is Right for Your Subject?

Understanding Focal Length: Which One is Right for Your Subject?

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Whether you just picked up your first camera last week or you’ve been shooting for years, focal lengths can still be tricky. Not only is it important to understand the difference between them visually, but it’s also important to understand which one to select for each subject you’re shooting. Let’s see if we can break it down some. We’ll start by comparing a few of the most popular lengths. I stood in the same place (roughly 4-5 ft from my subject) for each shot so you can see how focal length affects your field of view and your relation to...

How to Clean Your Camera Lens

How to Clean Your Camera Lens

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  I will be the first to admit that I'm a camera gear junkie. I love my camera gear, old and new, and I totally baby it. Just like your monitor, your TV,  or your glasses, sometimes, you need to clean your camera lenses. Unless you have a filter on your lens, the glass is going to get dusty, and eventually it may even get some filmy grime on it (yuck, but pretty normal, too). This is a short tutorial on one way to clean your lenses! STEP 1: BUY A LENS CLEANING KIT There are a variety of lens cleaning...

Troubleshooting Your Camera on the Run

Troubleshooting Your Camera on the Run

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Have you ever been at a shoot and all of a sudden your camera does something unexpected?  When we are right in the middle of shooting it can be extra stressful to try and trouble shoot, especially when our clients are watching us! First, take a deep breath, it happens to all of us at one point or another. Try and think of simple things first. Is your battery charged? Is the memory card inserted properly? Is the lens clicked all the way into place? What mode is your dial turned to?  Here are a few common scenarios that have all happened to...

You're Using Manual Mode.  Now What?

You're Using Manual Mode. Now What?

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You have asked the questions, watched the videos, attended the webinars, and finally turned that dial to Manual! Congratulations!  But now what? You can get correct exposure many ways by adjusting your exposure triangle. How do you decide what component is the most important for your shooting situation? What do you set first, second, and what do you adjust most frequently throughout your shoot? We'll answer these questions and more below. The first thing I ask myself is, "Who is my subject?"  Am I shooting a wiggly toddler, a sleeping baby, an active adult, or a pile of extremely cooperative...

4 Days to Sharper Photos: Good Light and Good Lenses

4 Days to Sharper Photos: Good Light and Good Lenses

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Hopefully, you are well on your way to sharper images.  Hopefully you have figured out your camera’s focus settings and you have practiced and understand how depth of field and shutter speed can help you out. This post is going to focus on the role good light and good lenses play in getting sharper photos. Good Light and a Good Exposure You need good light for sharp photos.  Good light helps in so many ways but it is super helpful with sharp photos.   When determining whether a photo is sharp or not, we generally look to the subjects eyes...

4 Days to Sharper Photos: Getting Sharper Photos In Camera

4 Days to Sharper Photos: Getting Sharper Photos In Camera

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As photographers, it is a given that we want sharper photos straight from the camera.  But we don’t always know exactly what to do to get those sharper photos.  This short series will help you get sharper photos from the moment you press the shutter button--no waiting to try and fix it later in Lightroom! Focus in the Right Place The first place our eye almost always looks in a photograph is the eye. Eyes are drawn to eyes.  If the eyes aren’t sharp in our photo or the focus falls on something different than the eyes, the photograph just...

Understanding Shutter Speed and ISO

Understanding Shutter Speed and ISO

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Understanding Shutter Speed Shutter speed is how fast the camera records the picture or how long the shutter is open. You can also look at shutter speed as how long the light is allowed in. To change your shutter speed, there is usually a black dial on your camera. For my Canon, I have a small dial on top for my shutter speed. Turn the dial to the left for a slower shutter speed and to the right for a faster one. When I am shooting portraits, I keep mine around 125. If I’m shooting toddlers, I increase it. Why?...

Lens Hoods - When, Why and How to Use Them

Lens Hoods - When, Why and How to Use Them

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Lens hoods are one of those equipment items that everyone has seen, but still cause a certain amount of confusion among new photographers. Here is a brief rundown of what lens hoods are designed for, when (and how) you should use them.  What They DoLens hoods reduce flare, and prevent stray light from entering the field of vision on your lens. While lens flares can often be a fun element of a photo, they can also become highly distracting, so if you want to reduce and eliminate lens flare, use a lens hood. Types of Lens HoodsHoods typically come in...

Experimenting With Focus

Experimenting With Focus

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For the most part, clean, crisply focused shots are what we all strive for, but in some cases, creative focus can add a new dynamic to your photo. Here are a few ways that you can experiment with different types of focus. Complete Background Blur One of the easiest focus techniques to master is the blurred, or “bokeh” background. This can be done quite easily be using a wide aperture, such as f/1.8, and focusing your camera on the subject. This will make your subject pop from the background, and create the dreamy, swirly background that everyone seems to love. ...

What are Aperture and Shutter Speed?

What are Aperture and Shutter Speed?

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  A common question among new photographers is, “What are shutter speed and aperture?” A lot of people seem to get hung up on this question, thinking that it has a complicated answer, but with a little bit of study, it is really quite a simple concept: your shutter speed and aperture determine how much light enters your camera. The two are closely related, as you will see, so let’s look at aperture first. 1. Aperture Aperture is the amount of light that is allowed into the camera through an opening in the lens, and is measured in f-stops. The smaller...