Monday, August 24, 2015

A Year Ago on Boost Your Photography


Consider joining in the Boost Your Photography: 52 Weeks Challenge! Our focus for August was shooting modes. For September, we will be exploring light and lighting. Join the Google+ Community to share your weekly photographs and receive feedback.

2014:

  • Blue Hour Photography. The blue hour, right after sunset or right before sunrise, is an incredible time for photography. Find out how to make the most of the blue hour with these tips and examples.


  • Summer Round Up. A quick summary of all the posts from the summer of 2014. A great resource for great photography.


2013:
  • Zooming vs. Cropping: Perspective in Photography. Zooming with your lens is not the same as cropping a photograph. This post discusses the important role of perspective in photography and lays out exactly how "zooming with your feet" differs from simply cropping an image. (This post was written in honor of my beloved 15-year-old Mazda who was retired shortly after this photoshoot.)
  • Panning in Photography. Panning is a fun photographic technique for rendering a moving subject. The trick to panning is moving your camera at the same relative speed as your subject. Read the full article for all the details.
  • Window on the World. Windows are a fascinating photography subject, but one that need careful consideration when shooting. This post provides tips for shooting through windows, as well as a series of examples that will make you start thinking more about windows, especially when you are traveling.

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Year Ago on Boost Your Photography

2014:

  • Top Tips for Better Back to School Photos. Don't wait until the morning of the first day of school to think about how to capture a shot of your child's big day! With a little planning and the tips in this post, you can get incredible, personal shots of that back to school excitement.


  • Analyze to Improve Your Landscape Photographs. Knowing what to look for in a landscape photograph can greatly improve your images. Find out how to look back at your own shots and find ways to make them even better your next time shooting.


2013:


A group of photographers, via Flickr and 365Project, joined together to do a month-long Book Club of Freeman Patterson's Photography and the Art of Seeing.
  • Summer Roundup. A quick look back to all the posts from last summer on Boost Your Photography, all in one place!

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Year Ago on Boost Your Photography


Consider joining in the Boost Your Photography: 52 Weeks Challenge! Our focus for July was on the elements of visual design in photography. In August we will be looking at shooting modes. Join the Google+ Community to share your weekly photographs and receive feedback.

2014:

  • Demystifying the Histogram. Learn how to use your histogram to adjust your shooting in the field and get exactly the image you want. This post also presents examples of specific types of histograms and the images that produce them.




2013:
  • Long Exposure Photography at the Fair(e). A fair or carnival is an incredible opportunity to practice your long exposure photography. Bring along a tripod, and entire world of light and photographs awaits you! Read the full article for detailed suggestions and "how to" instructions.
  • Keeping Your Camera and Sensor Clean. The post lays out everything you need to do (and have) to keep your camera and especially your camera sensor clean, from basic day-to-day maintenance and prevention to what happens when you end up with a whole mess of dust and grime on your sensor (like in the photo above). Read on for the full details.
  • Spring Roundup. The very first round up, this one covered all of the posts from the first quarter of Boost Your Photography, all in one place!

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Newborn Photography Roundup

In addition to the recent posts about newborn photography here on BYP, I also wanted to draw your attention to several related posts that I have written over at Craftsy. This post provides a quick summary and roundup of both the Craftsy and BYP newborn photography posts.

Newborn Photography Posts at Craftsy




Quick and Simple Backdrops for Newborn Photography. Everything you wanted to know about backdrops for newborn photography - and maybe then some. Want my recommendation? I shoot with a backdrop stand made by Square Perfect that is featured in the article. Or, get inventive and make your own - here's DIY plans from Digital Photography School.



Tips for Easy Newborn Photography Props. Inexpensive and creative ideas for how to find props suitable for newborn photography. Also includes important advice about other newborn photography must-haves.



Newborn Photography Safety Tips. Important advice about safety and simple practical steps to ensure a smooth newborn photography session.


Craftsy Ultimate Guide to Newborn Photography. This ultimate guide is a roundup of all the other newborn photography-related posts on Craftsy. More than a half-dozen great articles on how to shoot newborns, families, and even maternity shots.

Newborn Photography Posts at BYP


Easy Setup for Formal Newborn Photography. Find out how to use that backdrop to setup and capture incredible newborn photographs. Detailed behind-the-scenes included.


3 Month Baby Portrait Ideas. Collection of shots from a recent photo shoot with this adorable 3-month old and her parents. Ideas and inspiration for posing and types of shots.

More posts coming soon! Have questions about newborn photography? Leave your thoughts in the comments - they just might inspire a new post.





Boost Your Photography: Learn Your DSLR is now available from Amazon. Get the most out of your camera with practical advice about the technical and creative aspects of DSLR photography that will have you taking beautiful pictures right away.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Best Options for Printing Your Photographs


This post provides the results of a head-to-head comparison of six online photography retailers. The previous post in this series provided details about each of the companies. The next post will explore different media for printing your photographs (types and styles of paper and finishes).

Comparison of Online Printing Labs


I ordered a comparison set of 10 images from 6 different retailers in several different finishes. I was honestly a bit surprised at how widely some of the print results differed. (Apologies for the vertical and horizontal lines across the comparison images. These were a result of the scanner used. All similar images were scanned at the same time, however, to eliminate differences resulting from the scanner.)


I choose this photograph of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park for its vivid colors and dramatic sky. I was curious to see how the different prints would handle both the range of colors as well as the range of tones in the sky.

As you can see from the comparisons, Pro DPI and Nations rendered a similar blue in the sky and contrasts in the clouds, while Mpix and Shutterfly lightened and brightened both the sky and clouds slightly. Target added an almost greenish hue to the sky, while Walgreens is the lightest, with a portion of the clouds blown out to white.


This comparison focuses in on the various orange terraces. All prints differed in their interpretation of both the colors and clarity of details in this section of the image. Pro DPI softened the contrast, while Mpix has a more accurate representation. The Nations print is extremely soft and nearly muddled, while Shutterfly is overly contrasty and has too much white. The Target print is washed out and dull, and Walgreens is overly shadowed and dark.


Photographs of people, and especially tiny people, are some of the nearest and dearest to our hearts. Thus, it was a bit shocking to see how poorly some of these baby prints came out. The Mpix print, while still a little brighter and oranger, came the closest. The Pro DPI and Nations prints came out darker and a bit more gray. The backgrounds for Shutterfly, Target, and Walgreens turned gray and lost the warm tones, while the face became varying degrees of dark and shadowy.

Comparison of Print Size and Cropping


A final consideration is print size and cropping. One might intuitively think that if you are ordering a 4 x 6" print, then you will receive a print that measures four by six inches, but that is not always the case. Both Pro DPI and Nations provided prints that measured exactly 4 x 6 inches. The prints from Mpix were slightly larger at 4 x 6 1/16 inches. Target and Walgreens provided slightly smaller prints at 4 x 5 31/32 inches and 3 15/16 x 6 inches, respectively. Shutterfly's prints were the smallest at 4 x 5 7/8 inches.


In addition to changing the size of the print slightly, each photo lab cropped the provided image. In the graphic above, the gray square represents one-half inch. The Nations prints contained the least amount of cropping from the original image, followed closely by Mpix and Pro DPI. Shutterfly, Target, and Walgreens all lost substantially more of the edges of the original image. (Keep in mind that this cropping also occurs along the other edges of the image as well, as demonstrated by the Walgreens crop, relative to the submitted image.)


And the winner is ...


Given all the various factors, in my book Mpix is the winner. Pro DPI had very good results, but at two to three times the cost of the other retailers, the higher prices do not seem worth it, especially if you are planning to print a large quantity of 4x6s for an album or scrapbook.

Nations was a close runner up. Because I do not have a color-corrected monitor, I appreciate that Mpix includes color correction as part of the cost of the prints. If you have already color-corrected your prints, then you may prefer Nations, though I do felt like many of the prints from them lacked clarity and were less crisp than others.

If I was in a hurry and need photographs printed immediately, I would go with Target, but be warned. Their online ordering applet is buggy, and if their machine goes down, it will likely be down for days or a week, as they do not have in-store (or even in-town, it seems) technicians. With both Mpix and Nations, prints arrived extremely quickly, within 4-5 days of ordering even without paying for expedited shipping, so you really do not need to plan that far in advance.

Want the specific details about each of the retailers, including print options and current pricing? Check out the first post in this series, Comparing Online Photo-Printing Companies. The next post in this series will discuss some of the different photo finishes available.





Boost Your Photography: Learn Your DSLR is now available from Amazon. Get the most out of your camera with practical advice about the technical and creative aspects of DSLR photography that will have you taking beautiful pictures right away.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Year Ago on Boost Your Photography

2014:

  • An Introduction to Aperture. To get the shot you want, you need to understand what aperture is and what it can do for you. This post lays out a quick overview of aperture, including a description of the graphic above, and provides links to more detailed posts.

  • An Introduction to Filters in Photography. Filters serve many purposes, from protecting your lens to making skies pop to creating incredible effects. Find out how and why to use the most common types of filters, including UV, circular polarizers, and a variety of neutral density filters.

  • Strategic White Balance. White balance is so much more than a "set it and forget it" camera setting. Find out how to use white balance strategically to capture incredible photographs!

2013:
  • Stacking Photographs: Star Trails and Beyond. An overview of the technique of "stacking" multiple photographs to create extremely long exposures. This technique is commonly used with star trails, as pictured above, but has other applications. All you need is your camera, a tripod, a remote, and a free piece of software to create amazing results!
  • How Long Does Your Camera's Battery Last? Do you know the answer to this simple but important question? Read on for an easy technique for tracking your camera's battery life. Never get stuck with a surprise dead battery again!

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