Category Archives: Photography

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.

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.

Camera

A Complete Guide On Buying Lens Filters

You’ve picked up your camera, and you’re familiar with its settings. You may have even bought some fancy lenses for it. You have a great editing software program that you know how to use inside and out.

You’ve practiced with everything, and you’re very confident in your photographic abilities. You’re ready to take your photography to the next level.

But how?

The answer is rather simple – it’s time to practice with lens filters.

But what are lens filters? What are they used for? Are there different kinds? And where can you buy them?

We’re sure you’ve got questions, and we most certainly have answers.

Lens Filters Part 1 – What You Need to Know

There are many kinds of lens filters on the market today. They come in many shapes and sizes. Each serves a different function.

Before you dive headfirst into a purchase, it’s important to know the basics about what they are, the various types, and how they’ll affect your photos.

The first part of our guide will help you understand exactly what lens filters are, the main shape types they come in, and what primary purposes they serve.

1. What Lens Filters Are and What They Do

The definition of a lens filter, as written by Atilla Kun of Exposure Guide, is “a transparent or translucent glass or gelatin elements that attach to the front of a lens.”

Essentially, lens filters function for your camera much like sunglasses do for your eyes. They provide protection and improve sight in bright conditions. They can also be problematic if used incorrectly, just like how sunglasses limit your vision in darker conditions.

The primary uses for lens filters are protection for your lenses, to alter light that enters your camera, enhance colors, reduce reflections and glares, and add various special effects.

There is no universal lens filter that does it all, unfortunately. Because of this, it can become rather expensive to purchase the various types if you want to cover all of your bases. It’s a good idea to decide which functions and effects you’d like to have right away so you can space out your purchases based on usefulness and need.

Also, keep in mind that your lenses come in different sizes, and so do your lens filters. You’ll want to make sure your sizes are all compatible before purchase.

2. The Shapes of Lens Filters

There are 4 main shapes that lens filters come in – screw-on, square, rectangular, and drop-in.

Screw-on, also called circular, are the most common lens filters. These attach directly to your lens. They come in various thicknesses, some of which add vignettes to your photos. The most common types of this lens shape are UV, polarizers, Neutral Density (ND), and color filters.

Square filters are your next most popular shape, particularly among landscape photographers. These need a filter holder attachment for your lens, so be aware that you’ll need to purchase one of those when you buy a square filter if you don’t have one already.

The third shape is rectangular, another one very popular with landscape photographers. These also require a lens filter holder. They come in various sizes. The most common type is the Graduated Neutral Density filter.

Finally, you have the drop-in lens filter. These are primarily used in telephoto lenses and only come in clear and polarizing types.

For a more detailed look at lens filters, their main purposes, and their shapes, Adorama offers a great beginner’s guide to lens filters online.

Lens Filters Part 2 – Filters and Functions

lens filters

Now that you know the different shapes a lens filter can come in, you’re ready for a part 2 of our guide – lens filter function types.

Lens filters come in a wide variety of types. Each type has one primary function. We’ve already mentioned some of these function types in our section about lens filter shapes – UV, Neutral Density, and polarizers to name a few.

As we said, there is no universal, Swiss Army Knife of lens filters. But this part of our guide will help you identify the biggest function types of filters. Armed with this knowledge, you can save yourself some money by determining which functions serve you photography needs the most.

We’ll even include one or two filters we recommend for initial purchase. We tried to keep them inexpensive – under $200. Professional grade equipment, including something as seemingly small as a lens filter, can get extremely costly. We don’t want you to break your bank trying to get what you need.

But wait, before we move on to the function types, there is one more thing to keep in mind – filter factor. Filter factor is just a term to remind you that certain filter types will require you to adjust the exposure settings on your camera for the best results.

Familiarity with the exposure triangle and the 3 main settings associated with it is critical to knowing when filter factor may come into play. If you need a refresher, we recommend Mark Wallace’s video on Adorama TV.

3. Ultra Violet (UV)

UV lens filters are clear filters that block out UV rays from the sun that can alter the way your photos turn out. You don’t need to adjust your exposure settings with this filter.

You’ll primarily use this filter to reduce the haziness that can overtake your photos shot in bright daylight conditions. They’re also ideal for any type of photography, making them an obvious choice to purchase first for any photographer.

We have two UV filters for you to take a peek at. The first is the inexpensive Tiffen 52mm UV Protection Filter. Listed on Amazon for just $7, this lens filter comes in a large variety of sizes. It is also rated very highly with over 5,000 customer reviews and has made it onto some professional best filters lists.

Our second choice is also under $10 on Amazon with thousands of reviews and a very positive rating – the AmazonBasics UV Protection Lens Filter.

4. Polarizing

These fit our sunglass analogy very well. Polarizing lens filters saturate the colors within an image and reduce glares and reflections. You use it by rotating it while looking into your camera’s viewfinder or live view. Once you’ve locked onto the perfect image, you can take your photo.

Polarizing lens filters are best used for landscape images.

For our polarizing filter recommendations, we’ll start with a familiar name – the Tiffen 77mm Circular Polarizer. Positively reviewed by over 1000 customers on Amazon, you can purchase one confidently for $32. You also have several size options to choose from.

Our second choice for polarizing lens purchase is rather expensive – $135 on Amazon. The Nikon 77mm Wide Circular Polarizer II Filter carries the weight of a very well-known and trusted professional photography product powerhouse.

5. Natural Density (ND)

Natural density, or ND, lens filters look like one side of sunglasses with their darker colors. Like polarizers, these are ideal for landscape photography, especially when it comes to moving bodies of water like waterfalls and rivers. They also work well for flash photography and street photography.

ND filters reduce the amount and intensity of light that enters your camera’s lens and sensor without impacting the color of your image. They also create the ideal blur for moving water while still maintaining a sharp focus on the stationary objects around the water.

Our first purchase recommendation for ND filters is the B&W 77mm ND 3.0-1000x MRC 110m Lens Filter. This highly rated lens filter comes in at $100 on Amazon.

If the B&W filter is a bit out of your price range, take a look at the Firecrest ND 77mm 1.2 Filter. It’s just under $64 on Amazon, but no less positively reviewed. It also has some size variety options available as well.

6. Graduated Neutral Density (GND)

GND lens filters are mostly used for landscape photographers due to their vertical transitions from darkened to clear coloration. This creates an optimal balance between the sky and the ground in landscape photographs, especially those taking place just before sunset and after sunrise.

There are 3 subtypes of GND lens filters – hard-edge, soft-edge, and reverse.

Hard-edge GND filters have a hard transition from a neutral grey half to the clear center.

Soft-edge GND filters, which are the most commonly used of the bunch, have a smooth dark to clear gradient.

And finally, the reverse GND filters are specialty lens filters designed to shoot sunrises and sunsets. They go from dark to darker on top with a completely clear lower half.

We have one suggestion for GND lens filter purchase – the Neewer Complete ND Filter Kit. Don’t be deceived by the name – this kit comes with both ND and GND filters, so it’s a one-stop shot if you’re a landscape photographer. It’s only $21 on Amazon with overall good reviews, making it quite the bargain.

7. Color Filters

Color filters have a few other names, the most common of them being warming/cooling. Color filters enhance the colors in the scenes you capture. They can also correct them. These are ideal for all sorts of photography.

We should note that some professionals find them to be obsolete with the white balance settings in modern digital cameras as well as the editing capabilities of photo editing software programs.

If you’d still like to give color filters a try, we advise looking into the Neewer 58mm Complete Full Color Lens Set. This 9 piece set should fulfill all of your color filter needs. It’s Amazon’s choice with positive receptions and the low price of $26.

8. Close Up

Close Up lens filters are for exactly what their name implies – taking close-ups and zoomed-in shots. Also called macros or diopters, they allow for better focus while zoomed in. Close Up filters are basically like magnifying glasses for your camera.

They’re also good for still life photographs.

If these sound like something you want to experiment with, we agree with Amazon’s choice for purchase – the 58mm Close-Up Filter set. It comes with 4 different diopters for only $12, but still have overall positive reviews.

9. Special Effects Filters

There are actually numerous special effects filters out there, each one focused on a particular effect. The two most popular special effect filters out there are star effect and soft focus.

Star effect adds a starburst effect over light sources, especially in nighttime photographs. You can purchase star effect lens filters that create 4, 6, or 8 pointed starbursts.

We found the Neewer 58mm Rotated Star Filter Set ideal for those seeking this awesome lighting trick. Available on Amazon for $14, it comes with all 3 point amounts. You can also buy the set in various sizes.

Soft focus lens filters slightly reduce the sharpness of a photograph for a relaxed, dreamy feel.

Another special effects lens filter set to look into comes from the well-known brand Polaroid. The Polaroid Optics 52mm 3 Piece Filter Kit is listed on Amazon for only $13 and comes in a variety of sizes. You get 3 different special effects filters in this kit – soft focus, warming, and a 4 point star effect filter.

Major Guide for Buying Lens Filters

camera with different lenses

We know we’ve thrown a lot of information your way. But no proper lens filter guide would be complete without the facts we’ve provided.

You see, we don’t just want to toss random purchase options at you – we want you to be able to go out there and confidently buy your own lens filters.

As such, we have a few more tips for you before you start buying.

You do not have to buy all of your lens filters online. If you have more questions or just want to verify you’re getting exactly what you need, you can always venture into brick and mortar stores. Chances are if they sell digital cameras, they’ll sell lenses and lens filters.

Also, keep in mind that not all lens filters will fit every camera lens. Some brands are not compatible with others. You have to make sure that not only the sizes match up, but that the brands of camera, lens, and lens filters will all work.

Luckily, a lot of major camera brands will make their own lenses and lens filters. Check out their websites for accessories.

But be advised – some brands will make you pay more to buy directly from them. To avoid spending too much, we recommend looking at other websites like Amazon and comparing prices. A quick Google search may also help you compare price listings for the same lens filter across many different websites.

Some of the top brands to look into are Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and Canon.

We also can’t stress enough how important it is to know the functions of lens filters before buying them. Higher end filters are going to be very expensive, so if you’re on a budget, pace yourself on purchasing the different kinds.

Also, pay attention to what materials they’re made of and overall durability. Check customer reviews – they’ll give you a better idea on the actual quality of the lens filters you’re looking to purchase. You don’t want to find out the hard way while in the middle of a photo shoot that the bargain-priced lens filter you bought online was as durable as an unprotected iPhone screen.

And finally, practice with your lens filters often. As with learning any new camera trick or feature, your skills are best honed through a ton of practice. Don’t jump right into a professional photo shoot with a lens you’ve never used before.

Final Thoughts and Additional Resources

camera with a beautiful lens

We’ve given you quite a few additional resources and tips already, but we thought it best to offer up just a few more to fill in any gaps we may have missed.

Remember when we mentioned camera brands? If you haven’t purchased a camera or are looking into a new one, check out Adorama’s list of the best camera brands. Not only do they provide highlights for each brand’s strengths, but they also provide links to more in-depth reviews to help you buy the best one for your needs and price limit.

We can’t take full credit for the lens filter sunglasses analogy. Credit goes to Nasim Mansurov of Photography Life. His article “Lens Filters Explained” offers a lot of great information on lens filters and their various uses.

For those new to lens filters, we offer up Adorama’s “A Beginner’s Guide to Camera Lens Filters.” This article is the perfect companion to ours and should clarify any concepts you might still be unclear about.

And that’s all. We hope we’ve covered all of your lens filter questions. Remember that the most important part about photography is enjoying yourself while you capture various moments and objects in images. Lens filters can certainly help you with this.

Have fun and happy photo-taking.

Woman In Spotlight

Understanding Exposure And Color Balance

Everyone takes photographs at some point in their lives. Photography isn’t limited by things like age or where you come from. It’s so easy to snap a photo nowadays with our built-in cameras on our phones.


But maybe you want to take your photographs to the next level. Maybe you want to understand how a professional camera works rather than just sticking to your phone camera.


A great way to start learning is by understanding exposure, a key element of photography. Without proper exposure, our photographs can turn out blurry, dark, or noisy.


Another important and connected starting point for learning to use a professional camera is color balance.


In order to help you snap photographs perfect for framing or sending out as cards to loved ones on the holidays, we have a brief guide to understanding exposure and color balance basics.

A Quick Note for New Photographers


For this article, we are covering principles which are best applied to professional cameras – also called DSLRs. While cameras like the one built into your phone may have some features in common with a standard DSLR, it won’t have all of the gadgets and moving pieces.


If you don’t have your own a DSLR camera but are interested in purchasing one, we recommend starting by looking up Nikon or Canon. These two are a pair of the biggest names in the photography world.


Don’t let prices on the official sites scare you – these cameras can be purchased at many major retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy. You’ll be able to find deals when you shop around rather than just purchasing the first camera that you find and like.


And of course, Nikon and Canon are not the only great camera brands out there. Their popularity makes them a great starting point in your search for the best camera, but you certainly can find just as good cameras from other brands.

The Basics for Understanding Exposure and Color Balance


You don’t have to be an expert with a camera to capture life’s most precious and memorable moments. All you need is a willingness to learn, a good DSLR camera, and a photo editing program on your computer – like Photoshop.


Whether you’re completely new to the world of professional photography or a seasoned photographer looking for a refresher on some basic principles, we’ve got you covered.

1. Shedding Some Light on Exposure

Mountain And Lake With House

If you’re new to photography terms, you might be wondering what we mean when we use the term “exposure.”

According to Kelly on the Photography Hero website, exposure is “the amount of light that enters the camera hitting the camera sensor.”

Exposure is the foundation of photography and is made up of three aspects, all of which have to do with light entering the camera – ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. These three aspects make up what’s known as the exposure triangle.

In order to understand how the exposure triangle works, let’s look at each of the three features individually.

2. The Exposure Triangle and Its Moving Parts

corner of a building

Understanding exposure starts with knowledge of the 3 parts that make up the exposure triangle – aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. All three aspects are adjustable and work together.

The first feature is aperture – a moving piece inside the camera lens that allows more or less light in via opening and closing. The larger the aperture number, the smaller the opening will be. A smaller opening means less light can get into the camera and vice versa.

Next is shutter speed. Have you ever seen the piece on the lens of the camera that clicks shut briefly when a picture is being taken? That’s the shutter, and much like a car, it has multiple speeds.

Shutter speed determines the duration of time light enters a camera and affects the amount of light coming in. A faster shutter speed means minimal light gets in – slow speeds allow a lot of light to pass into the camera.

Aperture and shutter speed have to be balanced rather than matched for the best results.

Our final feature of the exposure triangle is ISO. ISO controls the sensitivity of the camera to light. A low ISO number means the camera will be less light sensitive. Less light sensitivity means you’ll need to compensate with a wide aperture and slow shutter speed for the best image. A low ISO number can also be balanced out on a bright, sunny day.

Beware of high ISO – higher ISO can create noise in a photograph. According to Spencer Cox of Photography Life online, noise in a photograph is a “grainy veil that obscures details.” We absolutely don’t want noise in our pictures, just like we don’t enjoy unpleasant noises assaulting our ears.

3. Balancing the Exposure Triangle

light trails

Balance between aperture, ISO, and shutter speed is key to taking great photographs. Lucky for us, cameras have a nifty feature called the meter that helps us to maintain balance.

The meter judges and adjusts either the aperture or the shutter speed based on how we choose to set the ISO and shutter speed or the ISO and aperture.

But how do we know which to set? That depends on what type of photograph you want to take.

For scenic shots or portraits, you’ll want to set your aperture and ISO. Aperture determines what parts of a picture are in focus.

For pictures with motion, adjust the shutter speed and ISO. Shutter speed can either freeze motion or show it without blurring the person or object that is moving.

There are many tutorials online that can help you further determine how to adjust your exposure triangle for the type of image you’d like to snap. Check out Adorama’s YouTube video featuring professional photographer Mark Wallace for visuals and more help understanding exposure.

4. Color Balance and Temperature

couple doing yoga

Exposure isn’t the only aspect of photography that is affected by light.

Color balance – more commonly referred to as white balance – is defined by John Bosley of Photography Life as what “balances [the] color temperature of an image by adding the opposite color to it to neutralize it.”

What in the world is color temperature? Bosley says it best – it’s the color of white light from different sources such as the sun or incandescent light from certain types of bulbs.

Color temperature is measured using the Kelvin scale. A warmer light source will have more blue while a cooler source will produce an amber color. While our eyes automatically adjust to compensate for the color differences, our cameras do not. This is why certain, unbalanced images have unsightly orange, blue, or even green tints to them.

5. Adjusting Color Balance

landscape photography of a cloudy sky and rocky mountains

Never fear, most cameras allow for white balance adjustment. These steps may vary from brand to brand of camera, but they’re similar enough that a quick glance at the owner’s manual will tell you where the deviations from our article are.

Many cameras, according to Mark Wallace and his “Digital Photography 1 on 1 video, have both a white balance button and a menu adjustment option. Check out the YouTube video for visuals and follow along with our steps based on Wallace’s guidance.

When you select the white adjustment using the menu option, you’ll be presented with some choices. One of these is the auto setting, which allows your camera to automatically try and figure out what type of light you’re photographing in.

There will also be several options that list different types of light sources. Select one based on the light you’re subject is in. If you’re taking scenic photos on a sunny day, choose the direct sunlight option. If it’s cloudy, you can choose the cloud option and so on.

You might also see a “choose color temp” option, but Wallace recommends you only use this when you know exactly what temperature your lighting is set to. Usually, only professionals in studios have this kind of information.

Your final option will most likely be called preset option. This is where you can completely customize your white balance using some other tools. This takes even more additional steps, so don’t choose this one if you’re in a hurry. Wallace outlines these tools and steps in the video that was mentioned earlier.

Guide to Understanding Exposure and White Balance

There you have it – the basics of understanding exposure and color balance. We hope our article helped shine some light on these foundational photography concepts.

If you’re a beginner and this seems intimidating, don’t worry too much. Just get out there and practice. Adjust your camera’s features and take a bunch of photographs. Keep adjusting and snapping until you know your camera inside and out. Once you’re fully acquainted with how your camera operates, setting the features for exposure and fixing the white balance will come as second nature.

Remember to have fun while you capture memorable moments and stunning scenes.