All posts by itadmin

Lady in dark room

Darkroom Film Development: Are They Still Useful Today?

History has done away with a lot of things. Whether it’s leaders, countries or footprints in the sand, few earthly entities are safe from the eraser of time.

However, there are other pieces of the past that seem to persist, even when the future pushes back. In the world of photography, darkrooms could be considered one of those tenacious relics.

Color photography and digital cameras have rendered them mostly antiquated, yet some photographers swear by the darkroom. With two convincing sides to the darkroom argument, let’s explore further and find out the true usefulness of a darkroom in a modern
context.

What Does A Darkroom Have To Do
With Film Development?

man holding a dslr camera in a studio

Image Source: Pixabay

Chefs have their kitchen, teachers have their classroom and photographers have their darkroom. Or, at least, they used to. These days, you might have a better chance of catching a photographer in front of a computer on Photoshop.


A darkroom is where film photography is developed. This film development process is a time-consuming one, but not overly complicated. In terms of time and steps, it’s no different than baking a cake or following any other recipe to completion.


As you might have guessed, a darkroom needs to be dark. This is to allow the photographic paper to process. In a bright room, the light would taint
the photographic paper
 and wash out the image, if any image remains.


In the darkroom, you’ll find something called an enlarger, which projects a finite amount of light through the photographic paper, causing a negative to become a positive.


Beside the enlarger should be a tub filled with a chemical solution. While timing will differ depending on the photo, it usually takes about one minute for an image to process.


Once you take it out of the chemicals, you need to put the photograph into another container filled with water, often called a stop bath. This will wash off all the chemicals, so you don’t accidentally get any in your mouth or on your skin.


After that, your picture should be done. It’s best to hang the picture up somewhere, so it can dry quickly and effectively. Many darkrooms are fitted with a clothesline-like structure, which is great for drying out.


While professional photographers will have specially made darkrooms, it’s actually possible for any room to act as a darkroom. All you need is darkness, an enlarger, chemicals and some water.

The Difference Between Film And
Digital

black and white image of a person taking a photo

Image Source: Pixabay

For many years, photography was done entirely on film, using a substance called celluloid. While this process worked perfectly fine, and still does, it requires a few extra steps and considerations that digital photography doesn’t.


For instance, film requires a darkroom in order to be developed, whereas digital photos are instantly available and transferable between devices. Film also requires the photographer to carry around actual film, whereas digital does not.


All of these quality-of-life differences make digital the easy choice for the average photographer, purely in regard to ease of use.


However, in the same way that hardcore music fans swear by vinyl, some photographers will never give up the darkroom and their precious film.


Some might find the darkroom process itself somewhat romantic and satisfying, like hunting for your food. But there are some who claim that the picture quality is superior to digital, or, at the very least, different in the best possible way.


In fact, it’s film’s minor imperfections that result in much of its lasting appeal. It makes the images feel more organic, as opposed to the cold perfection of megapixels.


In other words, a basket of wax fruit might look better and last longer than real fruit, but it doesn’t have the slight bruises or the minor discoloring, which is what makes fruit what it is.


For this reason, darkrooms are great for photographers who enjoy the craftsmanship of film development. But for most people, the differences between film and digital are too minor to tell. Plus, digital’s instantaneous results beat the chore of a darkroom.

Does Black And
White Hold Up To Color?

lady holding a camera

Image Source: Pixabay

In addition to their reliance on film, another debilitation for darkrooms remaining relevant is that they can only develop black and white photography.


Unlike film, black and white photography hasn’t lost much of its status. Due to its unnatural colorization, or lack thereof, black and white allows for a dreamy quality to seep into an image. On the flipside, there’s also a starkness that can strip away the frills and get to the core of a subject.


In addition to style and artistic license, black and white photography has actually gained something in recent years. Once color started taking over, black and white began to be initiative of a bygone era.


As such, modern black and white carries with it that era. Depending on the subject, the remnants left over from bygone eras could be the classy menace of film noir or the blunt realism of early photojournalism.


In a similar fashion, black and white photography has a feeling of timelessness to it, especially in its more modern usage. It’s almost like black and white exists in a separate plane of existence that acts as a shadow to our own.


Black and white is also a great choice for giving your images a thematic underpinning. For instance, if an image relates a feeling of duality or indecision, black and white can accentuate those concepts. This is, of course, due to the usage of only two colors.

Who Still Uses A Darkroom For
Film Development?

person looking at a preview picture

Image Source: Pexels

Even though darkrooms are out of commission in a public sense, they remain a part of the photography culture. This is especially true in academia, where art programs, such as the one at Northampton Community College, make sure that students receive an education in how the darkroom works, even if it won’t be a large part of their work.


On the other hand, many schools have dropped the teaching of darkroom procedure for economic reasons. Having an entire room dedicated to a practice that is largely antiquated, in the societal sense of the word, doesn’t make much sense, after all.


In the same way that vinyl has managed to have a big comeback in the last ten years, some believe that analog photography will experience a similar comeback. It seems that while some people seek out comfort and accessibility, others miss the inherent value of working for something.


This isn’t just conjecture, either, for a company called Reflex has recently released a completely analog, 35mm SLR camera. In fact, it’s the first new SLR camera to be released in 25 years.


It should also be noted that this camera was funded on Kickstarter, which leads one to believe that the majority of the backers weren’t those seeking a hit of nostalgia, but, rather, young people looking to find something new in something old.


Just when you think the past is gone, it sneaks up from behind.

Is A Darkroom Still Useful?

aperture camcorder

Image Source: Pexels

Now that we’ve explored what a darkroom is, explored its capabilities and examined its cultural relevance, we can come to something of a conclusion regarding its usefulness.


Ironically, the conclusion isn’t black and white. Other than photos and penguins, few things are.


Darkrooms, in a broad sense, are antiquated. The average person is simply not going to give up his or her digital photography to slowly process film in a specially equipped room. This is doubly so when you consider the prevalence of smartphones, which act as most people’s camera.


In terms of professional photographers or serious hobbyists, darkrooms and film development do have a future, and a potentially long one. In the same way that vinyl has outlived cassettes and CDs, film could very well outlive digital photography and whatever comes after.


In that same way of thinking, the darkroom’s reliance on black and white photography shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance on its ability to endure. Black and white remains a popular stylistic choice and will likely exist as long as photography exists.


While it might not be a strong, definitive answer, darkrooms lack widespread usefulness, but continue to find an audience in photography’s most hardcore fans.


This dynamic is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

Men taking a picture

How To Take Great Portrait Photography

man taking a picture using dslr camera

image via Pexels

Maybe you’ve had a camera for a while now and you’ve satisfied your initial desires for buying it. You took it with you on that trip to Colorado and took a massive amount of landscape shots, which you now use as your background on your desktop.

Mission accomplished. But now you’re moving on to an undiscovered country, that of
portrait photography. To a layman, it may seem simple. Instead of pointing the
camera at the mountains, point it at a person. But it’s more complicated than
that.

An entirely new set of skills, techniques and terminology is required to maximize your
portrait possibilities. On your own, these skills could take a long time to learn, but with this blog, you can streamline the process by becoming familiar with the underlying basics. Without further ado, here’s how to take great portrait photography.

Make Sure Your Lens Is Conducive To Portrait Photography

young lady taking pictures on street

Image Source: Pixabay

Before lining up your subject or setting up your camera, you need to make sure the settings on your camera are working in your favor. Think of this as setting the table before you have the meal, only in this case, the taste of the food is directly tied to the order of the table.


First of all, you need to make sure you’re using the right lens. For portraits, there’s no need to be using a zoom lens, as your subject is going to be fixed in place.


Unless he or she tries to run away – at which point, you should probably refrain from photographing them – a prime lens is your best bet, as they are set to a specific focal length. While a zoom lens can certainly work, it’s unnecessary and bulkier than the prime lens.


As for what kind of prime lens to use, you’ll want to get something with a longer focal length. Anything over 70mm, but under 135mm, should do the trick. The reason for this is that a longer focal length provides a tighter frame, which is perfect for single subjects.

Portrait Photography Requires ​​A
Specific Aperture

man focus photography

Image Source: Pixabay

After your focal length is in order, you should turn your attention to the aperture.


If you don’t know what this is, it’s a small opening that lets in a certain amount of light, depending on its size. It affects both exposure (the brightness of an image) and depth of field (altering the focus between the foreground and background.)


For taking portraits, it’s widely accepted that the ideal aperture is between f/8 and f/16. As the highest aperture is f/22, which creates the most drastic depth of field, these settings will give you a clear foreground and background, but not excessively so.


After all, you want a good bit of depth of field, because your sole subject is in the foreground and his or her face should be the place of focus. The blur in the background created by the aperture setting guides the eye to the center of focus.

Lighting Is Essential For
Portrait Photography

The problem with relying on the light that comes from the camera’s flash is that it creates a flat, two-dimensional appearance. It looks odd and unnatural, if only for the fact that at no point in everyday life is light hitting someone from directly at eye-level.


Light is coming from every angle, whether it’s the sun, the reflection of the sun bouncing off the windows or the light from an electronic screen.


Your portrait lighting should attempt to recreate the natural, three-dimensional look of everyday lighting. It not only makes the picture look more realistic, but it adds depth and shadow, both of which make for a more striking image.


This can be done by way of off-camera lights, which typically stand up and can be purchased for around $$, depending on which model you get. Overall, they’re relatively affordable, even for a starving artist.

man taking a picture in the studio with lighting

Image Source: Pixabay

If you don’t have the money to spend on off-camera lighting, or just don’t to, there are some DIY methods. One of the most popular is to position your subject at an angle from some window light. Instead of moving a light around your subject, you’re just moving your subject around the light.


There’s also a famous story about the notorious, penny-pinching director, Roger Corman, who once had everyone on set drive their cars up to the scene and turn on their brights. That’s one way to do it.

Portrait Photography Invites
Black And White

adult man taking pictures black and white

Image Source: Pixabay

Technological advances have undoubtedly made the world a better place to live. But in some cases, advances don’t end up topping what came before.


You could say this is the case for black and white photography. Even though we can take photos and videos using more colors than ever, there’s something about black and white that is particularly arresting.


Because it’s unnatural, there’s a dreamy quality to it. Due to its stark use of color, there’s also a beautiful simplicity, as if you’re condensing something down to its purest essence. Whatever it is, there’s a reason it’s persisted in the culture, despite being “outdated.”


It also happens to be perfect for portrait photography, both for the dreaminess and starkness stated above, but also for the cultural weight that black and white carries with it. For instance, when we think of Elvis Presley, it’s usually in black and white.


Entire historical events are remembered in black and white, like World War II or the March on Washington. You could spend all day listing the great, influential black and white movies that were synonymous with culture for so long.


In case all of this hasn’t convinced you of the power of black and white photography, check out Andy Warhol’s “Screen Tests,” which are a series of video portraits.

Release Your Inner Director For
Portrait Photography

boy kid taking a picture of a girl kid

Image Source: Pixabay

People aren’t baskets of fruit. They’re not going to stand still for hours upon hours, and they can’t be moved around at your whim.


However, this doesn’t mean people can’t be directed, and for portrait photography, it’s an absolute necessity. You need to be able to accurately communicate with your subject and get him or her to take direction.


Naturally, everyone’s different, so some subjects will be more receptive to direction than others. Nonetheless, it’s on you, the photographer, to get the best possible image, regardless of the subject’s inability to comply.


Before giving your subject direction, it helps to know what you’re talking about. One thing to pay attention to is the subject’s eyes. Naturally, as humans, the viewer’s eyes will gravitate to the subject’s eyes, which immediately makes them worth your attention as the photographer.


Some photographers speak of the importance of having the eyes looking directly at the camera or, if not looking at the camera, facing straight ahead. However, this isn’t a strict rule and portraits of subjects looking in different directions is certainly doable.


As far as how their body is positioned, get creative. However, there are some basic things to avoid. For instance, you want to makes sure that the subject’s jawline is clearly defined. You also want to make sure that the subject looks natural – that could be naturally anger, ecstatic or blissful.

There’s Much To Learn With
Portrait Photography

young lady taking a picture

Image Source: Pixabay

You could be a master at wildlife photography, but when it comes to portrait photography, you’re dealing with an entirely different animal – pun very much intended.


Not only does it require a complete overhaul of the camera’s setup, such as finding the right focal length and aperture, but there are also a completely new series of techniques.


One of the most notable differences is the presence of a single, human subject. As opposed to something like landscape or wildlife photography, you actually have to manipulate your subject – respectfully, of course – in order to craft your image. In other words, you’re not capturing a fleeting moment; you’re creating one.


Black and white photography also happens to be perfectly suited for portraits, as it does away with the frills and boils down someone’s essence into a start image.


However you choose to craft your portrait, we hope these tips can serve as a jumping-off point.


laptop showing its sunflower background and applications

Photoshop Tutorials For Beginners: 5 Easy Steps

Photoshop has been around for a long time and remains one of the premier photo-editing programs.

This is due to its “easy to learn, difficult to master”
framework.

Despite being easy to learn, the layout of Photoshop can
still be a bit overwhelming for beginners, as they won’t know where to start.

This especially true for individuals who have never used a
photo-editing program of any kind.

If that’s you, then you’re in luck.

We have assembled 5 of the easiest Photoshops tutorials for
beginners.

While these tutorials won’t make you a Photoshop master,
they will set you firmly on that road.

How We Chose Our Ratings

Since Photoshop tutorials aren’t products with prices and
reviews, we had to take a different approach when ranking the easiest Photoshops tutorials for beginners.


This should go without saying, but we looked at the ease of
the tutorials. We then balanced accessibility with usefulness. For instance, some tutorials might be incredibly easy, but totally useless. Others could be useful, but difficult.


After that, we considered the practicality of the tutorials.
As a beginner, there’s probably some basic things you’re trying to do. Some of the deepercuts of Photoshop probably wouldn’t interest the average user.


It was also important that the tutorials could stand alone.
Even if a tutorial was both simple and useful, it might be predicated on another aspect of Photoshop that would require a second tutorial. All of the tutorials listed don’t require any prior knowledge of the software.


We also tried to keep the steps to a minimum. Even though
they might be easy to follow, an omnibus of steps is a commitment that few are willing to make, and understandably so.

5 Easy Photoshop Tutorials For
Beginners

Once we layered all of our considerations upon one another, we were able to create the clearest, fullest picture of which the best photoshop tutorials for beginners.


These tutorials are ordered from best to worst, although “worst” is the wrong word for this unique occasion. All of these tutorials are extremely helpful and easily accessible, but some are slightly more so than others. And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the 5 best photoshop tutorials for beginners.

1. Changing The Size Of An Image

changing the size of an image

image via: pxhere.com

At some point, you’ll probably want to change the size of an image. This could be for a social media portrait, a headshot or printing purposes. Or maybe you just want that picture of you holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa to fit your desktop background.


First, you need to click on the “Image” tab, located at the top of the window. In the drop-down menu, click “Image Size.” From here, you can manipulate the width and height of your image. The default metric is pixels, but you have the option to measure the image in inches or centimeters. You also notice a small icon that looks like a chain.


Clicking this will detach the width and height from another,
meaning you can resize your image regardless of its original dimensions.
However, you probably won’t want to do this, as it will distort the picture.

When the height and width are “chained” together by the
icon, altering one will affect the other, in an effort to retain your image’s
original dimensions.


Once you’ve resized your picture to your liking, all you have to do is click “OK.”


2. Learning About Layers

person looking at pictures

Image via pixabay

When you think of layers, you probably think of cake, or maybe you think of narrative subtext. Once you start using Photoshop, all you’ll be able to think about is images.


This is because layers are the backbone of Photoshop and key to many of its coolest features. In other words, learning how to use layers is akin to learning the G, C and D chords on the guitar (once you know those, you can play most songs).


The layers window is located in the right-hand part of the screen. Layers are used to stack photos on top of each other and to switch between them.


They’re great for combining images in clever ways, such as taking a picture of you on a horse, cropping yourself out and layering your image on top of a picture of your dog. This way, it looks like you’re riding a giant version of your dog. It’s not going in the Louvre anytime soon, but it’s fun.


Controlling the layers panel is quite easy. To create a new layer, click the small button with a blank page on it. From there, simply click on one layer and drag it up or down, depending on if you want it in front or behind.


You can also change the opacity of an image by using the slider in the panel window. This can allow you to fade an image over a background image. If you’re running for political office, think about putting an image of yourself over an American flag, then increasing your image’s opacity.


These are the basics of layers, but if you want to go down the rabbit hole, there are techniques that are far more advanced.


3. Selecting Specific Areas

photoshop

Image via pixabay

Whether you want to crop your good-for-nothing cousin out of the family photo or you’d like to get artsy by adjusting the brightness of the
sky, the selection tool will be your friend.


It allows you to section off a specific part of the image to
do with what you please. You can find it under the “Tools” tab, where you’ll find a number of different selection tools. The most basic is the rectangular
selection tool, which allows you to select four-sided areas of the picture.


However, for those who have a steady hand, there’s also the “Lasso” selection tool, which gives you free rein to select any area of the image, regardless of shape.

It’s up to you to draw a perfect outline, however. Don’t sneeze! If you don’t trust yourself, there’s the “Quick Selection” tool, which may be the most useful, especially for beginners. You drag the tool over the area you wish to select, and it automatically reads the colors of the image and latches on to the part of the image that’s different.


This is perfect if you have an image that’s in front of asingle-color background, as the tool will have no trouble separating the image from the background. To separate a pedestrian walking down a busy street is going to be much more difficult. You’d be better off using the “Quick Selection” tool to get most of the person, and using another tool to smooth out the edges.


4. Adding Text

Photoshop 2

Image via unsplash

Adding text is one of the most useful aspects of Photoshop, as it’s a highly desired function. If you’re making a poster or a greeting card, text is going to be a given.


To add text, simply go to the “Tools” tab at the top of the window and click “Horizontal Type” from the drop-down menu. The options window should pop up and from there, you can change the font, size and color of your text. If you’re not sure what you want to do, feel free to skip this step, as it can be done and redone at any time.


Next, click on your image and drag the tool out to make a box – it doesn’t matter how big it is, for the font size in the options menu will determine the size of your text. Once you have the box, simply click inside of it and type away.


Once you’ve typed your heart out, click on the check mark in
the options window to cement your text. After you’ve done this, you can switch
to the “Move” tool and move your text around freely, putting it anywhere you
like. In fact, it will be its own separate layer, so it’s a good thing you know
what those are.


5. Applying Filters

Photoshop editing

Image via pixabay

Adding filters is one of the quickest ways to completely change an image into something new. This is one of the easiest methods, as it only requires you to do a bit of clicking. There’s very little precision work.


Go to the “Filter” tab at the top of the window and click on “Filter Gallery” from the drop-down menu. This will take you to a window where you’ll see a large selection of possible filters. Simply click on the one you want and a small example image will show you the effect.


You’re even able to add multiple filters to a single image, which can create some interesting combinations. If you’d like to get a bit more advanced while we’re here, each filter comes with its own set of sliders, which can alter the contrast and exposure, among other things. This allows you to manipulate the filter until it’s exactly the way you want it.


Once you’ve landed on a filter you like, all you have to do
is click the “OK” button and the filter will stick.


You can use filters on different layers, as well. In other words, you can stack filter upon image upon filter upon image. As you can see, the many tools of Photoshop work in a symbiotic fashion that can result in the most unique and personalized image.


Photoshop Tutorial Guide:
Accessibility, Usefulness And Length

If your interest has been officially piqued, the internet is
full of useful Photoshop tutorials. It’s only a matter of how much time you
want to spend and what you need to be done.


Because you’re a beginner, you’ll want to start with the most basic tutorials, because everything beyond that is based on knowing the basics. If you try to fly too close to the sun, the advanced terminology will quickly burn your wings. You’ll also want to make sure you’re learning techniques that you’re actually going to use. Sure, there might be some moderate amount of satisfaction in learning something just for the sake of learning it, but time
is precious.


By the time you’ve learned twenty techniques you’ll never
use, you could have learned ten techniques you’ll use every single day.

Also important in this regard is the length of the tutorial.
Don’t get too in over your head with a massive project. Unless the technique is
vital to whatever project you’re working on, a beginner shouldn’t bother him or herself with an epic poem of a tutorial.

Photoshop Tutorials For Beginners
Will Lead You To Mastery

Nobody likes swimming in the kiddie pool or riding a bike
with training wheels, but one thing leads to another. Before long, you’ll be
doing backstrokes across the Pacific and riding a bike while doing a handstand.


The same goes for Photoshop. These basic tutorials will be your first step on a long journey of adding text, adding filters, resizing, selecting and layering. By
combining these simple techniques and learning new ones, you will only be
limited by your own imagination.


One day, you may be the one writing the tutorials.

Person holding black camera lenses

4 Best Camera Lenses for High-Quality Photos

While there are many components that go into making a camera, the lens stands out from the rest. It is the single most important factor for capturing a high-quality image. As such, finding the best possible camera lens should be any photographer’s primary consideration when it comes to crafting the perfect camera.

In order to save you the struggle of sifting through every imaginable camera lens, we’ve assembled the best camera lenses that money can buy.

Comparison of the Best Camera Lenses

How We Chose Our Ratings

3 Camera Lenses

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

As with all pieces of technology, camera lenses consist of a variety of features, some of which are designed for specific users. Because of this, it can sometimes be difficult to parse out which lenses are superior on a black-and-white value scale

For this reason, we chose these particular lenses based on the most comprehensive criteria possible, going beyond the features of the device, but without leaving them behind. Even the more subjective aspects of a lens can be useful in accruing a net value.

Among these criteria is user reviews, professional reviews and price. Reviews, both professional and unprofessional, are tantamount in completing the picture of any product, as there are some aspects that the company might not spotlight in their marketing.

Usually, these aspects are negatives, but consumers can sometimes discover uses for a product that the company never imagined.

It should also be noted that lenses are designed for specific cameras, so not all of the lens listed will be compatible with your camera – Leica lenses are for Leica cameras, etc. However, there are adapters available, if you’d like to go that route.

4 Best Camera Lenses for High-Quality Photos

Zoom camera lens

Image by Tookapic via Pexels.

By objectively averaging out the lenses’ features, researching reviews and comparing price points, we were able to assemble this list of the best camera lenses on the marketplace.

This list is ordered from best to worst, although “worst” isn’t the best way to put it. Because these are the best of the best, even the lens on the bottom of the list is a premium pick. You can do no wrong here.

With the housekeeping out of the way, here are the 4 best camera lenses currently available.

With so many great camera lenses on the market, it’s impressive that the Nikon NIKKOR Z was able to beat them all out.

It did so based partially on its uncanny ability to take extremely sharp images, and not just using a focus point. From the center to the edges, the entire picture exhibits a crispness rarely seen in photography, even if the edges are a bit softer than the center.

If you’re a beginner photographer and don’t know what the numbers mean, a 35mm camera refers to the wideness of the picture. The smaller the number, the less wide. As for the f/1.8 – that refers to the aperture, or the amount of light that the lens lets in – the bigger the number, the more light.

Some might look at the lens and think it’s a tad bland or brutish. But what the lens lack in physical flair, it makes up for in durability and practicality. Dropping this lens shouldn’t be an issue –though you should still be careful, of course – and the tight seals should protect against any moisture.

A new feature to Nikon’s line of lenses is the customizable control ring, which allows for instant aperture control and exposure compensation. Naturally, it also allows for the standard, manual focusing.

While all of these features and positives won’t come cheap – the lens will set you back  – this is the ideal lens for the photographer who’s serious about his or her craft and is willing to pony up. Consumers tend to agree, with the lens currently holding a perfect score on Amazon. Specifically, people seem to enjoy the focal length, the solid build and the “fantastic” color saturation.

As a full disclaimer, the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 ASPH is one of the most expensive camera lenses on the market.

Thankfully, you get what you pay for. This is an update to the 2016 model, which was already a fantastic lens. While it doesn’t have any obvious new features, it improves on
many of the previous model’s specs.

There are also some design changes, such as the addition of a “beauty ring” to mask the hood. Overall, the construction of the lens remains strong and durable, so taking your camera out on a hike isn’t a life-or-death situation.

As far as picture quality goes, the lens captures crisp frames, while the outer edges experience a slight downgrade, as is usual for many lenses. Another reason for the high-price point is that it attaches to Leica cameras, which are some of the most premium cameras on the market. So, if you’ve already put down the cash for the camera, spending so much on a lens shouldn’t seem too absurd for you.

In fact, in comparison with other Leica lenses, this is actually one of the more affordable models. Consumers don’t seem to mind the price, speaking highly of the sharpness in the center of the frame.

However, if you already have the 2016 model, some users don’t think the improvements are drastic enough for an upgrade. If you don’t have the 2016 model, however, this could be the lens for you.

Released in September, the HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 has already begun impressing people.

Because it’s a 50mm lens, which means it captures a wider picture than the other lenses on this list, it also happens to be a bit on the bulkier side, weighing a little over two pounds. Nonetheless, a carrying case is included with the purchase.

On the lens is a toggle for switching between autofocus and manual focus, but it’s otherwise sparse. However, it is remarkably weather-resistant, so if you’re interested in taking shots in the rain, you don’t have to worry about any moisture seeping into the lens.

As with all the other lenses on this list, the images are extremely crisp, as you would expect for a lens that costs this much. Consumers might also be interested in the fact that this lens has one of the quickest autofocuses of any lens.

This is an important ability, as every photographer knows that the perfect image is fleeting – the slightest hesitation by you or your camera could cost you perfection. Because the lens is so new, there aren’t many user reviews to use as reference. Amazon, for instance, only has one review available. For what it’s worth, it is a perfect score.

However, there have been some professional reviews, some of which have given the lens their “editor’s choice” ranking, which means it’s one of the best. In particular, they point out the quick autofocus and the weather-resistance as being its most notable features.

4/5

The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR might be the most impressive lens on
this list, but it’s also absurdly expensive. Due to this massive price, which is expensive even for professional photographers, the lens is difficult to recommend to the average person.

However, its performance is undeniable, which makes it one of the best lenses currently on the marketplace. As with the other cameras, the image is as crisp as it is currently possible with technology, and the edges of the frame only suffer slightly.

From purely a design perspective, which is important to some photographers, the lens is almost entirely white, which sets it apart from other lenses. In other words, this is the lens that attracts questions from bystanders, and maybe an “ooh” or “ahh.”

However, this white look isn’t just for show. According to some professional photographers, it can actually reflect sunlight and keep the lens barrel from heating up. It’s also completely weather-resistant, as there are internal seals which prevent dust and moisture from infiltrating your lens. It would be a shame for the lens to be destroyed by a single drop of water.

In terms of functionality, the lens features a number of controls, such as aperture adjustment, a manual focus ring and a toggle for autofocus. Interestingly, the camera also comes with an easily accessible tripod foot, so you can alternate between handheld photography and stationary photography faster than a normal tripod can allow.

Critics appear to enjoy the Fujifilm Fujinon XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR, as well. Of its many features, they give special accolades to the bright aperture and the weather resistance. The downside that always comes up is the price, however.

Buyer’s Guide for Camera Lenses: Price, Picture Quality and Durability

If the camera lenses listed above are too expensive for you or they don’t include a particular feature, you may be tempted to enter the jungle of the marketplace all by yourself. Before you go, you should have a map of useful information that can guide you to the right product.

For lenses, your first consideration is going to regard the brand. If you have a Nikon camera, you’re going to be restricted to Nikon lenses, assuming you don’t have an adapter. From here, two considerations will need to be balanced: picture quality and price. While a high price doesn’t necessarily equal a quality product, a quality lens to going to be more expensive than the alternative.

Person holding dslr camera

Image by Tookapic via Pexels

You need to figure out on your own how much you’re willing to spend and what you want in a lens. For some, the sharpest image might not warrant spending thousands of dollars. For others, it’s the best or nothing. It’s also important to remember that lenses come in various models, some offering a wider picture, while others offer more extensive zoom capabilities.

Depending on how you’re going to use your lens, you should pay attention to durability. Is the lens okay in the rain? What if I drop it? How easily will it break? These are all important questions, unless you’re only taking pictures of fruit baskets.

As with any product, a fair amount of research is not only encouraged, but necessary. You need to know what the product is like in the hands of everyday consumers. Sure, the actor in the commercial looks really happy, but that’s meaningless.

The Best Camera Lenses Could Be Yours

Camera Lens

Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

Whether you make a hobby or a living out of taking photos, the quality of your lens is going to be an instrumental factor in getting the pictures you want. In many ways, the lens is the weapon to your camera’s solider – one without the other is useless, but together they become something formidable.

Thanks to the internet and the widespread nature of information, finding the best camera lenses isn’t the trial-and-error process it used to be. With lists like this one, you can easily parse out the good from the bad. You can bypass the product’s marketing and get straight to the facts.

You could even say this list offers the sharpest picture of the products, as opposed to the blurry images put out by the companies themselves.

Featured image by Jonas Svidras via Pexels.

Black canon camera displaying photo of red and black building

5 Things You Need To Know About Focal Length

As with any hobby, photography has an extensive vocabulary of technical terms, slang and techniques

This can create a feeling of uneasiness among beginners, as this vocabulary requires a second learning curve that exists on top of learning how to actually use a camera.

Photography lingo is a wall that beginners will run into immediately, as cameras on the market are labeled with a variety of specs that can seem like gibberish to a layman.

One such term is focal length.

Whether you want to enter the marketplace as an educated consumer or impress your friends, we have done you the favor of assembling 5 things you need to know about focal length.

It’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds.

Even though the information about focal length isn’t complicated, there are many different facets to its functionality.

Having a basic understanding of all of them will take you far in both buying a camera and using it in a knowledgeable fashion.

Sure, you can get by not knowing the many functions of your camera, but you won’t be using it to its fullest capacity.

To make sure you’re unlocking your camera’s maximum potential, here are 5 things you need to know about focal length.

1. What Does Focal Length Refer To?

Focal length

Image Source : pixabay

This is, perhaps, the most obvious question surrounding the mystery wrapped up in an enigma that is focal length.

Let’s sound it out.

Focal sounds a lot like focus. This isn’t an accident, as focal length refers to the amount of distance that a camera can narrow in on a subject, without sacrificing image quality. Naturally, a longer focal length results in higher magnification capabilities, but a narrower viewpoint.

For instance, a lens with a 24mm focal length is going to give you a more comprehensive image. A lens with a 300mm focal length will give you a more focused, specific image.

If you want to get technical about it, focal length actually refers not to the length between your lens and the object your capturing. It’s actually referring to the distance between the lens and the light sensor in your camera, hence the usage of millimeters.

2. How Do You Know Which Focal
Length To Use?

Person holding black dslr camera

Image Source : pixabay

Because a smaller focal length results in a more comprehensive picture, it’s best suited to things like landscapes, group photographs and pictures of large objects. Think of it as being more concerned with capturing a mountain range than the mountain goat in the foreground.

If you were to try to use a lens with a 300mm focal length to capture a group photo, you could very well end up with a picture of a single individual, or maybe even the eyeball of a single individual, depending on how close you are.

Due to the narrow field of vision, a lens with a large focal length is best suited to taking photos of flowers, specific objects in the istance or portraits. The frame becomes smaller and easier to fill, allowing the image to intensely focus on a single object.

In other words, if you’re looking to focus in on a single subject, a large focal length will come in handy. A small focal length, on the other hand, will be needed for photos with multiple subjects.

Of course, the more creative among you may find alternative means for both lenses, but these examples represent their basic purposes. Photography is an art, after all, so feel free to break the rules every once in a while.

3. How Does Focal Length Relate To Lenses?

Camera lens

Image Source : pixabay

Focal length is entirely determined by the lens you are using – it has nothing to do with the camera itself. Lenses can come in two different types, each of which has a different relationship with focal length.

The most common type of lens is the zoom lens, which allows the focal length to change on demand, depending on the situation you find yourself in. This is great for photographers who don’t quite know what to expect, but are reacting to the moment.

On the downside, zoom lenses are bigger and heavier, which can make for some awkward positioning. They’re also a bigger pain to carry around, as they’re going to take up much more room in your bag or purse, the space in which is already highly desirable real estate.

The other type of lens is called a prime lens. This lens has no zoom capabilities, but is, instead, fixed at a specific focal length. What it lacks in customizability, it makes up for with its compact design, which is much smaller than a zoom lens.

Prime lenses also have better aperture, meaning they can capture light better. This is particularly useful in low-light situations, such as capturing shadows from a street lamp or any other kind of night-time photography.

All in all, it’s best to have both a prime and zoom lens, as each is suited to a specific situation that you may find yourself in. Neither is the full package.

4. What Is The Relationship Between
Focal Length And Perception?

Person holding camera lens

Image Source : pixabay

Maybe you’ve seen images of tourists holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa or people who look like they have a third arm, due to someone standing behind at a particular angle. This is all a result of perception distortion, which goes hand-in-hand with focal
length.

By setting the focal length just right and marrying it with the right angle, you can create some interesting optical illusions. Most famously, the actors who played hobbits in the “Lord of the Rings” films were made to appear short by using focal length and clever angling, not by using digital effects.

Outside of creating fun images, altering perception can result in striking images. For instance, laying on your back and using a small focal length on a tree, you can end up with an image that looks otherworldly. And that’s just with something as simple as a tree.

Using focal length to play with perception can result in all kinds of possibilities.

5. How Is Focal Length Affected By Digital Zoom?

Telephoto lens

Image Source : pixabay

We already know that zoom lenses can change focal length on the spot, thanks to their organic method of altering the lens. However, there’s also digital zooming, which
you’ll see on digital cameras and most smartphones.

While both are called zooming, digital zooming does not change the focal length. Instead, it simply crops out the edges of the image and magnifies the area you’re zooming toward. Because the focal length is never changed, the magnified image is blurry and features a major resolution downgrade.

This shows you how important focal length is for a great camera. Even though cameras on the modern smartphones can be extremely impressive, especially compared with the cell phone cameras of the past, their lack of such fundamental feature, such as focal length, puts them at a major disadvantage.

Focal Length: Easy To Understand,
Difficult To Master

On the outside, focal length sounds like a dense concept – something you quickly convince yourself impossible to understand.

But if you take the time to zoom in on focal length, you quickly realize that it’s not so difficult to understand It’s merely referencing the amount of space that an image can consist of. A small focal length results in a broad, comprehensive image, such as a skyline shot or a group photo. A large focal length results in a narrow, precise image, perfect for micro-photography and portraits.

Person holding dslr camera

Image by: pexels

It’s also important to know that certain lenses offer unique focal length capabilities, such as prime and zoom lenses. Prime lenses will fix the focal length to a specific setting, while zoom lenses allow for on-the-spot customization.

When you start to get into the more advanced photography arenas, such as perception, focal length can be an incredibly effective tool. You can use it to create fun images with
your friends or to create fascinating perspective shots for the purposes of art.

Whatever your reason for using focal length, it’s an all-purpose tool in the utility belt of the photographer.

dslr capturing the sunset

Mirrorless Camera Vs. DSLR: Know the Difference

As with every piece of technology, cameras come in many shapes and sizes, each with its own unique functionality.

In particular, there are mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras.

Each of these cameras can handle any photography project you’ve got going, but there are some vital differences that can help get your pictures exactly the way you want.

But parsing out these differences by using styboth cameras can be an excruciating, tedious process.

Thankfully, there’s this wacky thing called the internet where other people can do the work and broadcast their findings to everyone.

If this is what you’re looking for, you’re in the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about the mirrorless camera vs. DSLR.

Mirrorless Camera Vs. DSLR: Which Is Bigger?

One of the most immediately obvious differences between the mirrorless camera and DSLR cameras is the size. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in a camera’s case, the cover is indicative of the inside’s functionality.

While there can be exceptions, DSLR cameras are generally larger than their mirrorless counterparts. This is because DSLR cameras are often created for heavy-duty, professional use, such as taking portraits or wildlife photography.

It also has to do with the fact that they contain a larger battery than the mirrorless camera, and that takes up a considerable amount of space.

Because of their size and weight, DSLR cameras are easier to use with larger lenses. While you can certainly connect a large lens to a mirrorless camera, the balance of weight is going to be awkward.

What the mirrorless cameras lack in power, they make up for in mobility. For the average person who wants to take his or her camera everywhere, the mirrorless camera is going to be a more suitable companion for that lifestyle. It’s going to fit in a bag or backpack much easier.

In addition to internal features, the mobility of the mirrorless camera aids them in their capture of video. You’re able to move around with greater ease, whereas the DSLR camera is better suited to a stationary position.

Mirrorless Camera Vs. DSLR: How Is the Functionality Different?

The most obvious question you may have in the mirrorless camera vs. DSLR debate is in regard to their functionality. What is exactly makes a camera mirrorless and what the heck doesn’t “DSLR” stand for?

“DSLR” stands for “digital single-lens reflex.” This is in reference to the camera’s mixture of traditional, optical mechanisms with the modern digital imaging technology. In less confusing words, the camera’s view is reflected through to the viewfinder using an old-fashioned mirror.

When you hit the shutter button, the mirror moves out of the way and allows the light to hit the sensor, which is what captures the picture. This mechanism is partially responsible for DLSR cameras being bigger.

A mirrorless camera take a less organic approach, as they make more use of modern technology by ditching the mirror. Instead, the viewfinder consists of an electronic image, the same as the one on the front of the camera. Think of it like a little TV, instead of an actual image that’s being reflected.

By utilizing modern technology instead of an actual mirror, these cameras are able to be more compact than their mirror-reliant counterparts.

While the difference won’t be noticeable to a layman, professionals find the natural image from the DSLR camera to be superior to the electronic image of the mirrorless camera, especially in low light conditions.

Just because something is the latest, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the greatest.

Mirrorless Camera Vs. DSLR: Which Is Better for Video?

Taking one frame per second is great and all, but what about capturing 24 frames per second? Or even 60? This is possible, of course, with a little thing called video.

While DSLR cameras come out on top for photography purposes, mirrorless cameras have carved out a place for themselves in the world of video capture.

First of all, this has to do with the popularity of 4K, which is quickly becoming the norm for home theater systems and video games. In case you’re not familiar with 4K, it’s a nearly quadruple increase in resolution from the previous standard, 1080.

Mirrorless cameras, due to their entirely digital make-up, have made the leap to 4K with much more ease. DSLR cameras, on the other hand, have been slow to adopt the new resolution standard, with only the highest-end models having the capability to capture in 4K.

When you look at other handy features for capturing video, mirrorless cameras also come out on top. Things such as live-view autofocus and processing power are the standard, whereas they’re the exception for DSLR cameras.

Mirrorless Camera Vs. DSLR: Which Has the Better Picture Quality?

man taking a picture using a dslr

Image via Pixabay

While DSLR cameras have a better picture quality in their viewfinders, which is necessary for lining up the perfect shot, this doesn’t necessarily mean they can capture the best images, as well.

But when you look at the numbers, it turns out that DSLR cameras do, in fact, have the superior resolution at the moment. In fact, the most powerful camera contains a 50-megapixel chip, and that belongs to a DSLR camera.

Sensor size is another important aspect of picture quality, aside from megapixels. The most powerful sensors are full-frame sensors, and these are available in both DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

If mobility is important to you, mirrorless cameras purposefully offer sensors with smaller frames, in order to create the smallest possible camera. This means that if you want a good image, but don’t need the best, then the mobility of the small, mirrorless cameras could suit your needs just fine.

Mirrorless Camera Vs. DSLR: Which Has the Best Battery Life?

mirrorless camera

Image via Pixabay

Anybody who has a phone or any mobile device knows that battery life is the bane of all modern existence. There’s nothing more stressful than realizing you only have 10% of battery left. If your phone dies, it’s like suddenly losing a limb.

For photographers, the feeling is the same with cameras. This is why battery life is such an important consideration when purchasing a camera, especially for outdoor photography, where there are no readily available outlets.

In this portion of the mirrorless camera vs. DSLR battle, DSLR once again comes out on top. It has a vastly superior battery life, which is another reason for its larger size. The smaller a device is, the more difficult it is to pack in a large battery.

In fact, the longest battery life for DSLR cameras can get you about 4,400 shots. To put this in perspective, the battery life for higher-end mirrorless cameras can only get you about 350 shots. This is, quite possibly, the biggest gap between the two cameras, in terms of functionality.

Again, this is a trade-off that will entirely depend on your own proclivities. For some, the mobility of the smaller camera will be worth the smaller battery life. And it’s always possible to carry more than one battery with you.

Mirrorless Camera Vs. DSLR: The Final Decision

two men taking pictures

Image via Pixabay

While it might be more fun to raise one of their arms up in the air and declare a winner, the mirrorless camera vs. DSLR bout isn’t quite so simple as that.

There’s a reason both cameras have remained popular in the marketplace. They both serve a different market and serve it well.

DSLR cameras are catered to the professional photographer, who’s willing to spend the money, carry the hefty camera and needs the large battery life.

On the other hand, the mirrorless is perfect for the casual photographer, who may be traveling a lot and finds the small size to be well-suited for a backpack or purse. They’re also the go-to cameras for capturing video, due to their 4K capabilities and video-friendly features.

The only way you can go wrong with either of them is choosing them blindly. If you look at the specs and their various features, you should easily be able to tell which camera is right for your particular needs.

While neither camera is technically the winner, you are. You have the ability to choose between them.

Featured Image via Pixabay

graduation photography

Graduation Photography: Tips On How To Make It Amazing

A proud moment in many lives is the day we or someone we love graduates from high school or college. It marks a big life accomplishment and milestone.

Naturally, we want to remember graduation day for the rest of our lives. The best way to do that is through photographs.

But you don’t want just any old photos. You want high-quality images that tell your big day’s story. This means not only have a good camera, but knowing what to take pictures of, when to take the pictures, and how to operate your camera for the best results.

Let us help you with some graduation photography tips.

A Note About Cameras and Photographing the Big Day

woman in academic regalia standing near concrete stairs

Image source: unsplash.com

Most of our tips can be applied to just about any camera when followed. For the best pictures, however, we recommend getting a professional camera – a DSLR is best. A DSLR camera will allow you to capture the best images regardless of the type of photo, where the photo is being taken, or the distance away from your subject.

If you can’t borrow or buy a professional camera, you can take great photographs of the big day. You just need to remember a few things.

Firstly, shoot in the highest resolution possible. Higher resolution will have the best quality and can still be edited if need be using editing software like Photoshop.

You’ll also want to get as close as possible to your subject when taking photographs.

Keep lighting in mind as well, using shade as much as possible when outside. Be mindful of when you use the flash – it’s not only disruptive during a ceremony, but also may have little benefit, especially for far away shots.

For even more guidance for great graduation photography regardless of camera type, take a look at Adorama’s guide.

Guide to Graduation Photography

person holding Canon DSLR camera

Image source: unsplash.com

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when you’re trying to get the best graduation photography you can.

You don’t need to hire a professional, not even for portraits of your graduate.

All you need is a good camera, some working knowledge on how to operate it, and a guide to offer up suggestions you may not have thought of yourself.

1.Get Familiar with Your Camera

man holding camera

Image source: unsplash.com

There are a lot of ways you can plan ahead for graduation photography. Let’s start with the biggest thing – your camera.

If you get your hands on a DSLR, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the settings and handling. The most important settings will be the exposure ones – ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. There are plenty of guides online to help you familiarize yourself with these.
A thing to keep in mind about the exposure settings is that each is used for a different type of photograph. Adjust your aperture for portraits and still scenes. Adjust the shutter speed for motion pictures like your graduate walking onto the stage.

There are a plethora of guides online that can help you get familiar with your camera’s settings. If you already know the basics and want a guide tailored specifically for graduation photography, check out photographer Tom Sapp’s YouTube video on taking great graduation pictures.

Adjust your camera’s settings ahead of time for the ceremony if you’re not confident in how quickly you can do so. If you’re uncomfortable or simply don’t have time to learn your camera, most come with automatic adjusters built right in.

We also recommend getting a long lens for zooming in and a teleconverter for especially far away shots. You might not be able to get up close to the stage or your graduate during the ceremony, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some great shots anyway.

Make sure your camera is fully charged on graduation day. Bring multiple empty memory cards as well – you don’t want to run out of space for new photographs halfway through the ceremony.

An article on Photography Course also encourages photographers to set their cameras to shoot high-resolution RAW format photos. This type of image file is larger than the standard JPEG, but it can be edited a lot more than a JPEG can.

You won’t have time to ensure every snapshot is perfect. Having more editing freedom could be the difference between a beautiful photograph and a blurry mess.

2.Plan Ahead and Coordinate with Loved Ones

person holding DSLR camera taking picture of trees

Image source: unsplash.com

There’s more to graduation photography preparation than simply picking some poses and party planning. Your graduate is sharing this big day will fellow classmates, some of which might be very close friends or family.

Coordinate with loved ones ahead of time so that you can get photographs of your graduate with them. If you aren’t having a graduation party, makes plans to meet before or after the formal ceremony.

Choose a location either near where the ceremony is going to take place and get your portraits out of the way.

You can also agree to meet at the ceremony location extra early or linger around once it’s over for photo opportunities.

3.Mix Up Picture Types

man taking photo in selective focus photography

Image source: unsplash.com

Formal portraits of your graduate in their cap and gown are a must. However, you don’t want only portraits of people smiling at the camera. Your graduate won’t want to remember only what they looked like on graduation day.

For pictures involving family and friends, take some candid shots of them interacting. These moments may seem small, but they are still often worth remembering. Sometimes the candid shots turn out even better than formal portraits.

Speaking of those formal portraits, you don’t have to limit your graduate to one pose with a smile. Play around with angles and action shots. Take a photo of your graduate looking up at the camera holding their diploma towards it. Or get an image of them jumping for joy with their classmates.

During the ceremony, take pictures of guest speakers and your graduate receiving their diploma. You can also get shots of them walking up onto the stage and off of it. You might capture a progression of emotions as they cross the stage.

Another major moment you’ll want a photo of is the famous hat toss at the end of the formal ceremony.

If your graduate has any favorite teachers, try to get some pictures of them together. Teachers can have large impacts on their students – your graduate will want to remember who helped them earn their diploma.

You are not limited to only taking pictures of people. If your graduate decorates their cap, take a picture of it. If their friends decorated their caps as well, get a picture of all of the caps in a row or circle. Even if the decorations fall off, fade, or the cap is lost, they’ll still have the picture to remember what it looked like.

You may also want to take photos of the school campus. Your graduate will have made many memories during their time in school, but may not have thought to take photographs of the places where those memories were made.

Take a picture of the graduation stage before anyone gets on it. Get images of the hall graduation is being held in.

If you’re throwing a party for your graduate, get a few snapshots of the cake and decorations. If you get any lawn signs, get a picture or two of them.

There are tons of ideas for graduation photography out there that even we may not have thought of. If you’d like more ideas, websites like Pinterest can be very inspiring.

Get Inspired for the Best Graduation Photography

graduates in front of building

Image source: unsplash.com

Great moments don’t require professional photographers to be captured. Getting them on camera can be fun and fulfilling for even an amateur with a phone camera.

There are so many ideas for poses and pictures and parties out there that it can be a little overwhelming.

But it doesn’t have to be. With enough forethought, open-mindedness, and this guide, you can take wonderful pictures of your graduate’s big day.

Remember that you’re telling a story with the photographs you’re taking. Get as many as you can, even of things that might seem mundane like an empty stage. You never know what might mean the most to your graduate.

Have fun and congratulations to your graduate.

man taking a pic of the sun in low light mode

8 Tips On Working With Low Light Photography

Have you ever tried taking pictures at night only to get frustrated because the images just wouldn’t turn out good? Have you noticed that when you try to snap a quick picture of that brand new rug in your living room that the image came out dark? If you have, you’re probably working against the rules of low light photography.

While highly rewarding, taking pictures in low light conditions can be frustrating if you don’t know what you’re doing.Luckily, there is plenty of help out there in the form of guides and articles, like this one.You don’t have to keep guessing on the best practices for getting the perfect pictures in low light conditions – we’ve got you covered with some tricks of the low light photography trade.

Low Light Photography – How We Define It

Maybe you’re still a little unclear on what we mean by low light photography. Don’t worry; we won’t leave you in the dark.

The term, in the words of Nasim Mansurov of Photography Life, means “anything less than daytime.” In other words, if it isn’t bright and sunny, it’s probably considered low light.

Nasim further breaks down low light photography into 3 categories – visible, low light, and dark.

Visible takes place during the daytime when you find yourself in shadowed areas like under a bridge or between tall buildings.

Low light comes in just after sunset when you can still see everything clearly, but it’s starting to get darker outside. This term is also used when you’re shooting indoors without proper lighting.

The last category, dark, is exactly what the name implies – nighttime when only bright objects are visible.

Our tips can be applied to all 3 categories of low light conditions.

8 Low Light Photography Tricks

Now that you have an idea of what we mean when we say low light photography, you’re ready to get into the grind.

You can often tell when you’re taking a picture improperly in low light conditions, as the image may turn out blurry or noisy.

Noisy is another term for grainy, in case you’re a beginning photographer or aren’t familiar with the terms.

We’ve got 8 tricks for you to help you avoid unclear pictures.

1. Slow Down the Shutter

light trails

Shutter speed is part of the foundational exposure triangle. It affects how much light is let into your camera while you’re snapping an image. The slower the speed, the more light is allowed in. More light entering your camera will allow you to take pictures in darker conditions. But before you venture off to apply this tip to your own camera, we have a couple words of caution.

The first warning is not to rely only on this one tip. As we mentioned, shutter speed is part of the exposure triangle – you need the other two parts working in balance with it in order to get frame-worthy pictures in low light conditions.

Our second cautionary statement? If you intend to take pictures of moving objects, slower shutter speed puts you at risk of taking a blurry image.

You can bump up the shutter speed to compensate for the movement. Experiment with different speeds and moving objects in low light conditions. You may find that the blur adds some extra style to your image.

If you want minimal blur, photographer and vlogger Peter McKinnon on YouTube recommends you double your shutter speed from the focal length of the lens you’re using. But wait, what’s focal length? Josh of Expert Photography defines focal length as “the distance between the point of convergence in the lens to the sensor or film of the camera.” Hint – you’ll want to remember focal length for another trick of ours.

2. Bump Up that ISO

ISO is the second part of that exposure triangle we mentioned before. ISO determines how sensitive to light your camera is. Seeing as low light photography deals with conditions in which light may be very dim, you’ll want your camera to be able to pick up as much light as possible.

The higher your ISO, the more light sensitivity your camera has.Be careful with higher ISO settings, however. The higher it goes, the grainier your image may come out.

Just like with blurred objects, noise can also add some style to your image, so don’t let the threat of some grainy overlay damper your enthusiasm. Also, keep in mind that you can often edit your pictures on editing software like Photoshop later.

3. Widen Your Aperture

man holding a camera

The third and final piece of the exposure triangle is aperture. Like shutter speed, how wide your aperture is open determines how much light enters your camera.

The wider your aperture, the more light is allowed in. So make it as wide as possible when dealing with low light conditions.

In his vlog, McKinnon advises that you play with your camera settings and get familiar with them. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

4. Shoot in RAW

before and after shot of an old man

RAW is a high-resolution image file format that your camera saves the images you take as to the memory card.

Typically, cameras will automatically save images as JPEG files. While still high-resolution files, these are not nearly as editable with software programs as RAW files.

In fact, editing JPEGs can cause damage to the files and lower the resolution quality. RAW files can be edited extensively without losing their higher resolution.

RAW files are bigger than JPEGs, so be sure to bring some extra memory cards along on your photoshoot. 

5. Use a Tripod

tripod sets on different places

Besides potential blurriness, another negative effect of a slower shutter speed is camera shaking.

While some cameras come with an image stabilization feature– which you should definitely take advantage of – bringing along a tripod can really help reduce camera shaking.

The less your camera shakes, the better your images will turn out.

6. Use Every Light Source Available

photo shoot studio

A trick to avoid too dark situations with low light photography is to be crafty with readily available light sources.

If you’re inside, open up the windows to allow natural light to shine in. Position your image subjects nearer to light sources. If you’re wandering about at night, bring a flashlight with
you and shine it on something you’d like a picture of. It also will help when you need to switch your camera settings around.

And although the flash has its disadvantages, you can find clever ways to use it to your advantage. Hillary Grigonis offers some nifty pointers on how to cleverly use your flash without risking any unsightliness to your pictures.

7. Be Aware of Camera Focus

woman in black coat trying to focus her canon camera

Mansurov again offers some sage wisdom regarding camera focus. Darker conditions can cause the autofocus function on your camera to cease being useful, he writes. He recommends using the AF assist function in dimmer environments to help the autofocus.

Some cameras don’t have AF assist, however. Sometimes a subject may be too far away for it to be of help. If either is the case, use a flashlight to help instead. If you forgot your flashlight, you’d have to manually focus your camera on your subject. Turn off your autofocus and zoom in with live view until your desired focus is achieved. Then you can take your picture.

8. Get a Camera with a Larger Sensor

sony camera lens

This tip is one especially for those who do not have a camera already or don’t mind spending some extra cash.

Cameras with larger sensors tend to be more expensive, but they allow for higher ISO settings without risk of that grainy overlay.

It’s smart to be aware of your sensor size regardless of the type of camera you’re using, but it’s especially important for those with DSLR cameras.

Sensor size links up with focal length – remember that? — according to Matt Golowczynski of Techradar.com. If you have a DSLR camera, which allows you to purchase different lenses, you’ll want to be aware of your sensor size and the focal length of the lenses you’re looking to buy. If you don’t match them together properly, you risk picture quality. This could be detrimental to your low light photography.

8 Great Tips for Working with Low Light Photography

You’ve made it to the end of our guide. Now there’s only one thing left for you to do. Get out there and put our tricks to the test. Practice makes perfect, especially with low light photography. Some guides may offer more specific numbers for your settings, but nothing can beat personal experience.

Get out there and have fun.

Couple Hugging

5 Great Engagement Photo Poses

So, you just got engaged. Congratulations!

Now, you need to announce it to your friends and family. And, you probably don’t want to just take a selfie with your ring and post it on Facebook.

You’ve got a photographer in mind, but you want to pick some of your own engagement photo poses.

Or maybe, you’re a new photographer looking to delve into the ever popular world of engagement photography.

You’ve got a couple interested in a photo shoot, but you need some ideas to bring with to the table.

When it comes to engagement photos, it isn’t just about getting a shot of the fancy ring. Engagements are about more than just a piece of fine jewelry – they’re about a love between two people.

Whether you’re a photographer or a happily engaged couple, you know that posing for engagement photos is very important.

And, it’s not always as easy as you might think to pick some out.

A Few Tips and Tricks for Taking Awesome Engagement Photos

The location and time for the photo shoot have been chosen. The photographer has their equipment ready to go, and the couple has their perfect outfits chosen.

Now what? How do you prepare for a photo shoot as important as this one?

We’ve got some general advice for photographers and couples before we dive into our top choices for engagement photo poses.

For photographers, photographer Cassie Kreitner on her YouTube channel recommends you arrive early to the location to get a feel for the landscape you’ll be working with. Give yourself about 20 to 30 minutes before the couple arrives to get acquainted with the lighting and make a plan for some ideal places to put the pose ideas to use.

She also advises you to be friendly and specific with your instructions. If a photo looks bad, don’t comment on it. Just keep taking pictures.

And finally, try to capture some candid shots of the couple. If they do something like kiss or laugh between shots, try to snap a picture of it. Sometimes these unplanned poses turn out even better than those with a lot of thought put in.

For our happy couple, we say keep yourselves as relaxed as possible. You want the pictures to look natural, not stiff. Even though we recommend planning poses ahead of time, you don’t want the photos to look predetermined.

Be creative with your poses too. Don’t be afraid to act normally during the photo shoot. Crack some jokes and make each other laugh. Engagement photos are about celebrating you and your partner’s love being taken to the next level. Make the poses showcase who you are as a unit.

5 Amazing Engagement Photo Poses

You’ve booked your photo shoot, and you’ve got our pointers in mind. You’re ready to find some poses.

But, you don’t want to just look through photos of poses on Google or Pinterest.

You’d like some of the most popular ideas for engagement photo poses in one short list.

Whether you’re a photographer or a partner in the newly engaged couple, we’ve got 5 great poses picked for you.

1. To Kiss or Almost Kiss

man and woman hugging

Every epic romance ever written has the big kiss moment. Some people love these moments and want to recreate them in their own engagement photos.

Others don’t like the idea of kissing on camera and would prefer something more subtle, but in similar spirit to the epic movie kiss. For these types, there’s the almost kiss.

For those who love the epic kiss look – no matter what pose you choose – try not to smoosh your faces together too much.

If you want an epic romance feel, one partner can dip the other while kissing. This can look great if executed correctly, but be advised– it’s not as easy to pull off as it looks in the movies. You may need to try for this one a few times before you get the perfect shot

For something a little simpler, but no less epic looking, one partner can hold the other up while kissing. This also works great for an almost kissing shot.

Okay, so maybe you want a kissing photo, but don’t care for the epic look. Forehead and cheek kisses are adorable and romantic. And you have a little more freedom on how to pose your body.

For instance, you can have one partner hugging the other from behind and kissing the front partner’s cheek.

Or if I couple has a height difference, the shorter partner can look up and somewhat behind during the hug and kiss the taller partner’s jaw.

There are a ton of kissing and almost kissing engagement photo poses out there. For some visuals and inspiration, we recommend Pinterest boards like the I Love Kisses board by user Gail Frazier.

Photographers, you should also try to capture some candid kissing moments between posing. Sometimes a couple will kiss without prompting. These moments may mean more to them than the epic kiss engagement photo pose you or they had planned.

 2. The Epic Gaze

couple gazing at each other

If you’re not a fan of the kiss or almost kiss, but love epic romantic poses nonetheless, try an epic gaze shot.

These are exactly what the name implies – you and your partner looking into each other’s eyes with admiration.

You have a plethora of ways you can accomplish this look. You can stand face to face with your foreheads pressed together or have one partner in front of the other – like our idea for kissing poses.

Sometimes these types of poses will happen on their own, especially when you’re going in for an epic kiss or almost kiss pose. Photographers should keep their eyes out for natural moments like these.

And don’t be afraid to make each other laugh during the gaze. Sometimes laughter can make the photo appear more genuine and reflective of the couple.

3. Walk with Me

couple holding hands

The ‘walk with me’ pose is another very popular engagement photo pose. It can be done anywhere and can have any mood to it.

You can laugh and joke while you walk side by side along a beach. Or one partner can lead the other up an epic hiking trail.

Photographers can also take pictures of the couple from the front or behind. They can also zoom in on the couple’s clasped hands. Not all engagement photos have to include the couple’s faces or full bodies.

4. Hanging Out

couple watching sunset at the rooftop

Sometimes the best poses don’t have to be done on our feet.

Sitting engagement photo poses can be just as intimate or fun as the others we listed.

They can also incorporate the epic gaze or kiss.

One partner can sit next to the other and lean their heads on each other’s shoulders.

Or for a more casual feel, you can sit on a couch and have your feet on your partner's lap while you laugh over a shared joke.

Some couples like to include things like sitting in front of a campfire or fireplace for some added adventure or romance.

You can even sit on your bed with your partner and do things you would normally do like chat over some morning coffee or read together. These things may not sound very romantic to you, but they may not appear as mundane in photos as they seem in theory.

Small moments like those can be very intimate and representative of you as a couple.

5. Laying Around

couple laying on the floor

There are a few movie posters that incorporate a couple lying down together that work really well for engagement photos.

One very romantic example is the ‘Fault in Our Stars’ poster. You can recreate this in a number of ways, such as incorporating an epic gaze or a kiss.

You could also add some more humor by sharing a laugh.

Sometimes just cuddling different ways can work for great engagement photo poses as well.

You can also lie on a beach or poolside beside each other as you hold hands while sunbathing.

The possibilities are only as limited as your creativity.

5 Great Ideas for Engagement Photo Poses

With so many ideas and images out there, finding some ideal poses for an engagement photo shoot can be rather daunting.

Great Ideas for Engagement Photo Poses

You can turn to guides like this© one or look at photo collections online for ideas.                             

But you’re not limited to engagement photo poses you see on the internet. Get creative with it. Make your own poses up. 

You could also hire a photographer to follow you and your partner on a date or excursion.

Remember that your engagement photos are about you and your partner – do whatever feels right for the two of you.

Have fun and happy photo-taking.

man holding a camera while fixing the settings

5 Best Tutorials for Understanding Camera Settings

Have you found that you really enjoy taking photos on your phone and want to try something more professional? Are you a photography enthusiast looking to take your images to the next level?

You’ve purchased your new camera, but you just don’t get the camera’s settings. There’s just so many to set and reset.

And of course, you really need to know which settings are for what type of situation, like taking pictures in low light conditions for example.

What about camera types? Do you know the difference between DSLR settings and compact camera settings?

Of course, you might already be familiar with camera settings and types and just want a refresher.

Whatever your background, you’ve probably tried looking online for some guidance – especially if you misplaced your camera’s instruction manual like many of us tend to do.

There are a ton of online tutorials out there toting being the best for understanding camera settings. You’ve got step by step articles and YouTube How-To videos.

The search for truly good guides can be frustrating and tedious.

But it doesn’t have to be.

How We Chose Our Ratings


Choosing the best camera settings tutorials involves a lot of thought.

Firstly, we wanted to make sure we have guides that both beginners and experienced photographers could access. This means tutorials with little technical jargon or jargon that is well explained. There’s no sense in reading or watching a tutorial if you can’t understand what they’re trying to explain.

Our chosen tutorials also needed to be informative without being overwhelming. Too much information at once can completely negate any facts that you’re trying to comprehend. We found some very lengthy guides but tried to search for specific chapters that benefitted you the most.

And finally, we took entertainment into small consideration. Reading about camera settings isn’t the most exciting endeavor, so this mostly applies to the video tutorials we found. We wanted to speakers to have some charisma – no monotones here.

5 Great Online Tutorials for Understanding Camera Settings


Now that you know how we chose our ratings for camera settings tutorials, you’re ready to see our actual list.

We tried to include both video and article tutorials. Some people prefer reading over the steps to adjusting their camera settings. Others may prefer watching a fellow photographer explain and following along on their own cameras.

Our chosen guides also provide information applicable to both DSLR and compact cameras.

We broke our top 5 list down by guide and included chapters or videos we found to be the most crucial to understanding camera setting basics.

1. LifeHacker Guide by Adam Dachis

Adam Dachis

Image by Adam Dachis via Unsplash

The “Basics of Photography: The Complete Guide” by Adam Dachis of the LifeHacker website is a great, easy to understand guide for both photography newbies and experts. Dachis explains everything you need to know about the basics of cameras, editing, and camera settings.

Plus, his guide includes images, and the formatting is easy on the eyes. It is very accessible and organized as well.

Dachis also includes some additional resources you can look into, including resources for purchasing your own digital camera if you haven’t done so already.

If you want to cut directly to the chase and focus only on what he has to say about camera settings, we have two chapters for you to check out.

The chapter of his guide entitled "Part II: Your Camera’s Automatic and Assisted Settings" goes over shooting modes, flash modes, image enhancement settings, as well as some video settings. If you’re already familiar with basic camera features, you can skip to this chapter without losing out on vital information.

Once you’ve read Part II, move right on to “Part III: Your Camera’s Manual Settings.” This will cover the foundation of all photography and the camera settings associated with it – the exposure triangle.

The exposure triangle consists of three parts – ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. If you’re a beginning photographer, familiarize yourself with those terms – they’ll come up a lot, including in this guide.

Overall, we found Adam Dachis’ LifeHacker photography guide to be helpful and very accessible even for beginners. We grant it and the associated chapters 5 out of 5 stars.

But before we move on, we’d also like to include one more tutorial by Adam Dachis. If you have questions about low light photography, consult his answer to a reader’s question regarding this topic. It has both video and written explanations, including camera settings to adjust.

2. Peter McKinnon Vlogs

Peter McKinnon is a YouTube vlogger and photographer. Although not all of his videos are guides, he does offer some tutorials to teach his viewers the camera basics, including camera settings.

What sets McKinnon apart from others offering guidance is his easy manner and entertaining presence on camera. He is informative and helpful without using a lot of photography jargon, perfect for the beginner.

On his YouTube page, we recommend checking out his Tutorials Playlist and his Two Second Tuesday playlist. These contain his photography guides as well as other content, including video tricks.

For those looking strictly for camera settings guides, you’ll first want to watch McKinnon’s “Camera Basics” video. This initial video takes an amusing look into the exposure triangle. While he explains the terms and settings, you’ll see images appear on the screen that correspond with the symbols on your camera. This will allow you to easily follow along with him to get you familiar with your individual camera’s settings.

Next, check out McKinnon’s “Camera Basics 2” vlog. In this video, he explains focus settings, white balance, and the camera settings associated with them. He also gives you advice based on his own experiences about which settings are going to be the most useful to you.

With his charismatic delivery and simple explanations on somewhat complex ideas, we give Peter McKinnon’s vlog tutorials 4.5 out of 5 stars.

3. Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace Video Series

The “Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace” video series on Adorama TV offers a ton of helpful videos exploring all sorts of photography concepts, tricks, and tips.

While not quite as humorous as Peter McKinnon, Mark Wallace is like that college professor you enjoyed listening to – calm, but passionate about what he discusses.

His series’ page on Adorama has a lot of videos to choose from, but we highly recommend his “Understanding the Exposure Triangle” series.

Even just the first of the six videos offers a lot of information useful to both novices and experts looking for a refresher course on aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. By the end of the series, you’ll have a full understanding of the exposure triangle and how to best use each setting for it on your camera.

“Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace” on Adorama TV earns 4.5 out of 5 stars. You can also check the videos out on YouTube.

4. Curtin’s Guide to Digital Cameras

“Curtin’s Guide to Digital Cameras and Other Photographic Equipment” on the Short Courses website is very much like an online textbook. It offers a lot of information on digital cameras, settings, and accessories all in one place.

Looking at the index page might prove intimidating, but we found three specific chapters for you to take a peek at right away to help better your understanding of camera settings.

The first chapter you’ll want to read is Exposure Modes. It discusses what each part of the exposure triangle is, the modes for each on a camera, and which is best for what types of photography.

Next, take a look at the Focus chapter. It goes over the importance of focus, the three main focus settings, and each of the focus modes.

And finally, read the White Balance section of the guide. This will get you familiar with what white balance is, all of the camera settings involved with it, and what each of those settings does.

Once you’ve read those three chapters, we feel you should be ready to get out there and experimenting with those settings yourself.

The “Curtin’s Guide” is definitely designed for those with some reading time on their hands. It’s still accessible enough for beginners while also offering enough information to satisfy experts as well. While a bit intimidating when you first find yourself on the guide index, the information offered is still invaluable. It gets 4 out of 5 stars.

5. Geoff Lawrence Photography Tutorials

A little more user-friendly than our fourth pick for best camera settings tutorials, the “Geoff Lawrence Photography Tutorials” offer slightly less information while still being highly useful to all photographers.

Each section provides information about various aspects of photography. Each article has tips and links to other articles in case you need an explanation or a refresher on certain items mentioned.

There are two places to start for understanding camera settings.

For the basics of exposure along with some tips and helpful links, read the Camera Exposure page.

If you want to know how to set up your camera’s white balance manual settings, the White Balance page is where to go.

There are a lot of helpful articles on the “Geoff Lawrence Photography Tutorials” page. If you’ve got the time, browse through the various sections. Or you can focus on aspects specific to your needs, like Exposure or Color.

We give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Newbie’s Guide

Okay so maybe you enjoyed out 5 top tutorial picks, but you’d like to delve further into it on your own. You want to know how to find your own guides online. And maybe you want some photography advice.

laptop showing its sunflower background and applications

Image by Mikaela Shannon via Unsplash

If either is the case, we’ve got some wisdom to share.

Google and YouTube are your best friends. You can use keyword searches on either platform to find specific articles and videos on topics you want to learn about.

For example, if you wanted to find out more about camera settings for white balance, you could type “white balance settings tutorials” into the search bar. You can also enter in variations of that phrase to find more results.

Shorter articles are nice, but not always the best for learning new concepts. Try to find guides with images as well, especially for longer pieces. Images often help clarify what is being discussed.

Once you’ve found and studied all the guides you feel you need, you’re ready to practice. This is important to learning anything, but especially photography.

Don’t be afraid to play with your camera settings. Take it out and experiment taking pictures of various things while switching up the settings. Take pictures of the same thing multiple times using different settings at different times of the day.

The only thing limiting your photography is your own creativity and fear. Even when you feel you’ve mastered a setting, keep practicing. There is always room for improvement on technique.

If you do take some pictures that you don’t find frame-worthy, try editing them with some editing software. We’ve found that Adobe makes two of the most discussed editing software programs – Lightroom and Photoshop.

Find the Best Tutorials for Understanding Camera Settings

There you have our top 5 picks for tutorials helping you to understand camera settings. These guides all have a lot of great information and will easily answer any questions you might have.

With these 5 guides in one place, you have quick access to a ton of photography information.

Remember that practice makes perfect. Don’t just read or watch tutorials – get out there and put the advice to work.

Happy picture taking!