How To

White Balance: what you need to know

White Balance: what you need to know

Do you understand White Balance and know how to control it? Or are you afraid to venture past the Auto White Balance setting? Here are the essential facts.

Back-Button Autofocus is a technique you should learn

Back-Button Autofocus is a technique you should learn

Does your camera have back-button autofocus? Is it an option on your DSLR to switch between shutter-driven autofocus and thumb-driven back button? If you grew up on shutter-driven autofocus and never bothered to relearn, you’re selling yourself short. Here’s why….

How to shoot macro photos in the freeze and frost

How to shoot macro photos in the freeze and frost

This morning I went out and made macro frost photographs, using my Canon EOS-1D X and 50mm macro lens. This is my favorite lens for all things that mostly tell their stories in the details…

Aperture: How It Affects Your Photography & Why You Should Care

Aperture: How It Affects Your Photography & Why You Should Care

Simply stated, “aperture” is the hole in your lens that allows light to pass through to your CCD (charge coupled device) during an actual digital camera exposure. The size of the hole has a big impact upon your photos. Here’s why you should care…

How to Light Absolutely Anything

How to Light Absolutely Anything

Studio lighting: where to start? It doesn’t have to be mysterious or complicated. It doesn’t have to be all about lighting diagrams and formulas. What follows is everything you really will ever need to know to shoot successfully with strobe lights…

Pet Photography: how to shoot great photos of your pets

Pet Photography: how to shoot great photos of your pets

How many really great photographs have you taken of your dog, your cat, your goldfish? Here are my tips for your pet photography project…

Archiving your photos, backing up: a cautionary tale

Archiving your photos, backing up: a cautionary tale

Backing up your photos–properly archiving everything–is something we all say we’re going to do. But how many of us consistently do it? My complacency on this issue recently turned into the nightmare of all nightmares, and I’m here to tell you about it: kids, don’t try this at home!

How to Become a Better Photographer

How to Become a Better Photographer

So you’ve bought that third camera lens, or maybe second camera body. You’re spending WAY too much time thinking about photo gear and planning shooting trips. You’re definitely hooked on photography–but do you have a plan to get better?

Photographing a Simple Still Life

Photographing a Simple Still Life

Here’s a look at my thought process in the course of shooting a simple still life, in this case, the first iris of this spring. Do you ‘see’ your photographs before you shoot them? Or is it all a process of discovery?

How to Pack for a Photography Road Trip

How to Pack for a Photography Road Trip

I was just on a trip to Denver, CO., to shoot the NFL football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Denver Broncos and while packing my gear it occurred to me that the art and science of photography road trip packing might make an interesting post…

How to photograph a hurricane

How to photograph a hurricane

It’s been a long and exhausting week covering Hurricane Isaac here in New Orleans. As one of the photo editors for The Times-Picayune and its website, Nola.com, I’ve been involved in the planning and logistics of our team’s photo coverage and in trying to make sure the display on the site is as compelling as possible. This work has been made all the more difficult as we, like almost all of New Orleans, lost power as the storm blew in…

DSLR Photographers: How to set your camera’s ISO

DSLR Photographers: How to set your camera’s ISO

Picking your ISO – the relative ‘speed’ of your digital captures—can be a source of confusion for beginning photographers, as I was reminded recently by a newbie DSLR shooter. He wanted to know how I go about deciding what ISO to use, and whether I changed it frequently during the course of a shooting session…

Photographic cropping and composition

Photographic cropping and composition

Composition is something we do on-the-fly, in-camera, as we photograph; cropping refers to after-the-fact decisions we make during the editing process. Here are some thoughts about both of these essential skills and how they impact your photography…

Creative Focus in Your Photography

Creative Focus in Your Photography

When you think about what’s in focus and how to get it there, don’t think just about aperture and depth of field. Another factor that’s involved is focus plane, the subject of our post today.

Framing Your Photography

Framing Your Photography

At some point you’ll probably have some photographs you’ve shot that you want to frame. How you go about the framing–the decisions you make–will have a big impact upon the impact that your images ultimately have. I’ve spent most of today framing and here are a few thoughts about the process…

Using Shutter Speed Creatively in Your Photography

Using Shutter Speed Creatively in Your Photography

I was out shooting recently when an old tire, some sand and a bit of water got me thinking about how critical shutter speed can be to all that we do as photographers…

Creating panorama photos with Canon’s Photostitch software

Creating panorama photos with Canon’s Photostitch software

Have you been put off or intimidated by the thought of mastering panorama photography? Seemed like more trouble than it was worth? Well, I’m here to tell you that this is simpler than it looks, and will open up a whole new area of photography to your vision…

How to Choose Your Lens Aperture Explained

How to Choose Your Lens Aperture Explained

Learning how to choose your lens aperture (the ‘f-number’) can be very confusing for the beginning photographer. The discussion can quickly get into a daunting explanation of the shutter speed/aperture relationship, all of which means absolutely nothing to the novice. Here I’m going to give you all you need to know to make good choices about aperture…

How to Photograph the Holidays

How to Photograph the Holidays

Photography around the winter holidays is a natural thing—if you’re the photographer in the group, you’ll be expected to shoot the majority of the photos. To keep from ending up with a dull and predictable group of images, though, you need to think ahead…

Which Video Camera For Which Job?

Which Video Camera For Which Job?

I’ve written something in the brand-new Discerning Photogarpher forums—specifically the All Things Video forum—about choosing which video camera to pull out for which job, and why…

The Three Building Blocks of Photography

The Three Building Blocks of Photography

All photographs, whether shot with an old film camera or the latest DSLR, are built using the same three components: ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Do you understand these three building blocks of photography, and how they relate? Below we’ll examine the ‘magic three’ and how to properly control them in your shooting…

By September 19, 2011 7 Comments Read More →
How to Shoot an NFL (American) Football Game

How to Shoot an NFL (American) Football Game

Photographing NFL (American-style) football is a challenging and demanding specialty, full of its own rules and strategies. Here are some ‘insider tips’ to help you achieve acceptable results your first time out…

A Simple Still Life Studio

A Simple Still Life Studio

Shooting still life can be a very rewarding activity, but you need a studio space to do it in…or do you? This genre of photography doesn’t have to be expensive to get started with. Here’s how I approached this issue for a new series of photographs I’m working on…

What Makes a Great Photograph?

What Makes a Great Photograph?

What are the elements of a great photograph? What are the magic ingredients that make one image so much better than another? Is it possible to quantify the ‘secret recipe’ of great photography?…