Monday, January 26, 2015

Top 10 Photography Ideas

Today's Top Post is double-your-money with a Top 10 of Most-Viewed Photography Ideas Posts. Previous top posts have covered camera settingsaperture, exposurephone photography, DIY photography hackscomposition, and lenses and accessories.

Top 10 Photography Ideas

  • Puddle Reflection Photography. This top-viewed post shares a simple trick for creating amazing photographs using a simple puddle. You will never look at even tiny puddles the same way again after seeing the 'behind the scenes' versions of these incredible images.


  • All about Bokeh. Bokeh or out-of-focus background lights is a highly coveted photography technique. This post explains exactly how to capture bokeh shots using natural light and everyday situations.




  • Yes, Go Chasing Waterfalls. Waterfalls are an incredibly fun photography subject. Find out how to capture incredible "silky" waterfall shots with this advice.



  • Fun with Fizzy Fruit Photography. Looking for a creative, indoor photography idea? Minimal and inexpensive supplies are all you need to capture fresh, bubbly, and bright fruit photographs.

Want more great ideas? Follow Boost Your Photography on Pinterest: Boost Your Photography





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, January 24, 2015

Round Up of Off-Camera Flash Advice

For the month of January, the 2014 version of Boost Your Photography: 52 Weeks Challenge will be focusing on light and lighting. (Interested in joining the 52 Weeks Challenge? We are also starting a re-boot version kicking off from the beginning: click here to join in for 2015!)

So far, we have looked at natural light and the influence of directional lighting, and tips for mastering on-camera flash. This final lighting post of the month is a round up of resources about off-camera flash.

Off-Camera Flash Basics

Last week's post, tips for mastering on-camera flash, laid out some of the basic limitations of flash photography, including the impact of the inverse square law and the influence of the location of your flash. The inverse square law still applies when shooting with off-camera flash, but you are now more in control of the location and direction of where your flash and other lighting is located.



The post pinned above, How to Soften the Light When Using Flash, has great tips for both on-camera and off-camera flash photography. The reason I am recommending it this week is that it provides a few basic diagrams for how to set-up your off-camera flash, with particular attention paid to the angle and direction of the light.

Tips for Better Shooting with Off-Camera Flash




This post pinned above, A Beginner's Guide to Working with Flash Off-Camera, provides a great overview of the different pieces of equipment that you need for working with off-camera flash, including recommendations for flash units, remote triggers, light stands, and light shapers or modifiers. The second half of the post shows how to set-up a basic off-camera flash shoot, including a comparison of the different power values of the flash itself. This is a great place to start for getting comfortable with setting up and using your off-camera flash unit.



This next post, titled Off-Camera Flash for Your Travel Photography, is a great resource for any type of flash photography. This post also provides an overview of the equipment needed for flash photography, with a focus on portability and usability for the traveling photographer.

The author then goes into detail about two different strategies for using your off-camera flash: to balance the ambient light and to underexpose for dramatic effect. Both are explained in detail with diagrams of the lighting set-up, a discussion of settings, and inclusion of the final portrait. A great resource to study!

Try Using Your Off-Camera Flash

This is the week to break out your off-camera flash unit and give it a try! If you do not own an off-camera flash unit, try using lamps or other continuous lighting sources to see how changing lighting position and strength can impact your photography.

Share a link or a photograph in the comments below, or consider joining the BYP 52 Weeks Google+ Community (or the new 52 Weeks 2015) to share your weekly photograph and see what others are capturing.





Boost Your Photography: Learn Your DSLR is 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, January 21, 2015

Top Posts on Lenses and Accessories

Today's post highlights top posts covering lenses and accessories. Previous top posts have covered camera settingsaperture, exposurephone photography, DIY photography hacks, and composition.

Top Posts on Lenses

  • Yes, You Need a 50 mm Lens. The most-viewed lens post on Boost Your Photography features the "nifty fifty" or 50 mm lens. This versatile and inexpensive lens gives you incredible bokeh, a fast aperture, and tack-sharp image quality. Find out why a 50 mm lens should be on your must-have list.

  • Camera Lenses: what's in a name? You can learn a lot about a camera lens from its name. This post answers all of your questions about camera names, abbreviations, and what you will want to use that information for when choosing and evaluating camera lenses.



Top Posts on Accessories 


  • Must Have Accessories for Your (New) Camera. The top-rated post in accessories provides a quick overview of all the must-have accessories that you need for your DSLR camera. Whether you are just starting out or have had your camera for awhile, make sure you are prepared with these essentials.

  • An Introduction to Filters in Photography. There are several main types of filters commonly used in digital photography. Find out about UV filters, circular polarizers, and neutral density filters, faders, and split NDs and when to use them.

  • Product Review: Square Perfect Light Tent. A light tent is an incredible photography tool. This post provides an in-depth review of the Square Perfect Light Tent kit, including example shots taken with this light tent.

  • Travel Photography Must Haves. Ready to travel with your camera? With these must-have accessories, you will be sure to come home with all the great photographs that you wanted.

  • Top Tips for Camera Memory and Storage. Memory is critical to digital photography. Find out how to keep your photographs safe with these important tips and advice for camera memory and safe storage.


Want more great ideas? Follow Boost Your Photography on Pinterest: Boost Your Photography





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.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Top 5 Posts on Photography Composition

In honor of the New Year, Boost Your Photography is spending the month of January featuring collections of top posts across a variety of topics. Today's post highlights top 5 posts about composition. Previous top posts have covered camera settingsaperture, exposurephone photography, and DIY photography hacks.

Top Posts on Composition


  • Composition: Rule of Thirds. The rule of thirds is a great beginning guideline for composition. This post looks at how to use the rule of thirds - and how to break the rule when necessary. 

  • Top Tips for Photography Portraits and Posing. This excellent collection of posts focuses on issues and advice for photography portraits and posing. Get great ideas for posing individuals, children, groups, and more, as well as don't-miss tips on photography mistakes to avoid.

  • Composition: Fill the Frame. Fill the frame is a great composition technique for many situations. Learn how and why to use fill the frame to create interesting and memorable photographs.

  • Aspect Ratio: think of the crop before you shoot. You need to understand aspect ratio if you are planning to print your photographs at various print sizes. Do you know the aspect ratio of your camera? This post will show you everything you need to know, including a handy infographic with a range of final print sizes.

  • Zooming vs. Cropping: perspective in photography. Perspective is a huge part of photography composition. Zooming with your lens and moving your feet will create different effects than simply cropping a photography later. Find out how to use perspective to your advantage.

Want more great ideas? Follow Boost Your Photography on Pinterest: Boost Your Photography





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, January 17, 2015

Tips for Mastering On-Camera Flash

For the month of January, the 2014 version of Boost Your Photography: 52 Weeks Challenge will be focusing on light and lighting. (Interested in joining the 52 Weeks Challenge? We are also starting a re-boot version kicking off from the beginning: click here to join in for 2015!)

So far, we have looked at natural light and the influence of directional lighting. This week I have rounded up a collection of posts to help you master your on-camera flash.

Limitations of On-Camera Flash

Before we talk about what on-camera flash can do, it is useful to know the limitation. The biggest limitation of on-camera flash is its location. The built-in flash with your camera is positioned in one location and will point only in that one location. You have more options with a separate camera flash unit attached to your camera, as they are generally adjustable and can be pointed in different directions, but they are still attached to your camera at a set position.

Distance is another big limitation with any kind of flash. The power of light is inversely proportional to distance. (For those of you who are not the daughter of a math teacher, that means that the power of light fades tremendously and quickly over fairly short distances. A light strong enough to illuminate a subject well that is one foot away will only work one-quarter as well at two feet away and one-ninth as well at three feet away.) This is why it is foolish to use your on-camera flash in a darkened auditorium, for example. Your light is just never gonna get there.


On-camera flash is also often criticized for being 'harsh' lighting or for causing your subject to cast extreme shadows. Later in this post we will discuss methods for diffusing your flash - allowing the light to better spread out and more evenly illuminate your subject.

Tips for Better Shooting with Your Built-In Flash

The flash that is built into your camera is most useful for being the flash that you always have with you. These quick tips below will help you make the most of your built-in or pop-up flash.

Get in close. We discussed the inverse square law above. If you are shooting a subject with your built-in flash, you need your camera to be fairly close to that subject. (Think, less than 10 feet away.)

Balance your light. With many DSLR cameras and even some point-and-shoots, you can modify the strength of your flash unit, which allows you to better balance the light coming from your flash vs. the rest of the light in your scene.

Diffuse or redirect your flash. Diffusing your flash is covered in more detail below, but you can hack some pretty DIY solutions to diffusing your built-in flash unit. My favorite is to use a piece of tissue paper and drape it over your pop-up flash. When the flash triggers through the tissue paper, it spreads out, becoming more diffuse and more pleasing to the eye. Now it will not create that shadowed, deer-in-the-headlights look common to built-in flash portraits. Other photographers recommend using a white business card to redirect the light - aiming it up and bouncing it off the ceiling, for example. Give it a try!

Tips for Mastering Your On-Camera Flash Unit

Upgrading from the built-in flash to an additional on-camera flash unit can make a big impact in your flash photography options. While many brand-name flash photography units exist, there are also many highly-rated flash units that can be had for much cheaper.

The Yongnuo brand of flashes from China are highly regarded by photographers on a budget. They do not offer TTL (through the lens). TTL allows you to operate and control your flash directly through the camera. With the Yongnuo flashes, you have to choose the settings on the flash directly and adjust your camera's settings accordingly, which means a lot of manual shooting. Popular flash units that include the TTL feature include Canon Speedlites and Nikon Speedlites, which are much more user friendly.

The biggest improvement with on-camera flash units is your ability to adjust the direction of the flash and to bounce your flash, rather than aiming it directly at your subject. You may have noticed that many wedding photographs aim their flash nearly directly up when shooting indoors. This allows them to bounce the flash off the ceiling, creating a less-directional and more even light. (Remember the inverse square law however - the higher the ceiling, the less light coming back to your subject.)


The video above from Adorama TV shares a hands-on look at using your on-camera flash and bouncing it off of different locations and pieces of equipment. This is a great introductory video if you are looking to get the most out of your on-camera flash unit.



This post pinned above, 8 On-Camera Flash Tips, is chock-full of super simple ways to hack your on-camera flash to improve your photographs, from adding a flag, smoothing out the light, and using different settings. These quick tricks can make a biggest difference in the quality, direction, and style of light coming from your flash.

Try Using Your On-Camera Flash

Flash photography is a whole different ball game from using natural light, and learning how to use and manipulate your flash will help you make the most of any photography situation. Whether you have the built-in flash on your camera or an additional on-camera flash unit, spend some time this weekend experimenting with what they can do for you! (If you want to really get fancy with your flash, try something like Slow Sync photography - read the how-to here.)

Share a link or a photograph in the comments below, or consider joining the BYP 52 Weeks Google+ Community (or the new 52 Weeks 2015) to share your weekly photograph and see what others are capturing.





Boost Your Photography: Learn Your DSLR is 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.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Year Ago on Boost Your Photography

2014:
  • Boost Your Photography in the New Year. This inaugural post of 2014 highlighted some great ideas for photography projects and resolutions to keep you shooting all year long. Find out about 365 projects, 52 weeks projects, the 100 strangers project, and more!
  • How to Freeze and Photograph Frozen Bubbles. This how to post walks you through the basics (and the difficulties!) of freezing and photographing bubbles. This is a great way to put a positive spin on your winter weather.
  • Series of Top 5 Posts of 2014. Check out these great collections of the "Top 5 Posts of 2014" across a range of photography styles and topics. Click on the images below to go to the full articles. 





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    Wednesday, January 14, 2015

    Top 5 DIY Photography Hacks

    This latest instillation of top posts focuses on do-it-yourself photography hacks and tricks that you can do with a minimum investment of time and supplies. Previous top posts have covered camera settingsapertureexposure, and phone photography.

    Top 5 DIY Photography Hacks


    • Foldable DIY Photography Light Tent. This hugely popular post contains step-by-step directions on how to create your own light tent for product photography. All you need is a cardboard box, some tissue paper, and two desk lamps to create amazing, evenly lit photographs! 

    • Easy Photography Upgrade: the tri-fold board. Take your old tri-fold board from your Science Fair project and turn it into a useful photography tool. A tri-fold board makes an easy backdrop for small subjects or a useful reflector for portraits. Find out everything this simple purchase can do for your photography.

    • Spinning Fire with Steel Wool Photography. Create incredible and dangerous-looking spirals, orbs, and other patterns with fire created by spinning steel wool. This post lays out all you need to know to create spinning steel wool photographs quickly and safely. You can pick up all the basic supplies inexpensively at your grocery or hardware story.

    • Light Painting: how to spin an orb. Orbs are an incredibly fun photography subject and are easy to recreate, with just a little practice - and the tips in this post. An LED light, a string, and your camera on a tripod, and you will be ready to go!

    • 5-Minute Heart-Shaped Bokeh Photography. Shaped bokeh makes for unique photographs, and all you need to create this look is less than five minutes plus some black cardstock or construction paper. This easy step-by-step post has all the details you need for success.


    Want more great ideas? Follow Boost Your Photography on Pinterest: Boost Your Photography





    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.