Image size vs Image quality: how much should you compromise?

Image size vs image quality is one of the great debates in the age of digital photography. In our latest cheat sheet we’ll illustrate the effects on your images at different settings to show you just how size matters!

On most DSLRs, you get at least three levels of compression to choose from – the highest quality is ‘Fine’, the next-best is ‘Normal’, and ‘Basic’ is the lowest quality, and best reserved for emergencies.

Your camera also gives you a choice as to how many pixels you want your picture to have. To choose the maximum number your sensor allows, select Large (L). Medium (M) produces images 75 per cent of the width or height, while Small (S) produces images half the width or height of the full-size version.

We’ve illustrated the effects of this process in the infographic below. Simply click on the cheat sheet to see the full size version, or drag and drop it to your desktop to download.

Image size vs Image quality: how much should you compromise?

How to set image size and quality

The process is pretty similar on most cameras. For the purposes of this tutorial we used a Nikon D3100

How to set image size and quality: step 1

Info screen
On a smaller Nikon D-SLR like the D3100, you need to press the ‘i’ button to display the Info screen, then use the multi-selector to highlight the quality (‘QUAL’) settings, top right.


How to set image size and quality: step 2

Raw or JPEG?
If you choose raw from the Image quality menu, you’ll see that the Image size menu below is greyed out (RAW files are always shot at full size). To shoot JPEGs, choose Fine, Norm or Basic.


How to set image size and quality: step 3

Image size
If you choose one of these JPEG options, you can then use the Image size menu to choose the Large (L), Medium (M) or Small (S) image size, but see the box at the top of this page before deciding.


Full frame sensor size explained: how to exploit its advantages for pro-quality pictures
Depth of field: what you need to know for successful images
Dynamic Range: what you need to know about capturing all the tones in a scene
Expose to the right: the camera technique every landscape photographer must know
Common mistakes at every shutter speed (and the best settings to use)

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How to Reduce Camera Shake – 6 Techniques

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In this classic DPS post (now updated) photographer Natalie explores 6 ways you can hand hold lenses at low apertures and low shutter speeds and still avoid blurry images caused by camera shake.

6 Simple Techniques to Help Avoid Camera Shake

I’m a mover and a shaker in general, and this is particularly true when I’m on a shoot. I’m twistin’ and turnin’, climbin’ and jumpin’ and to top it all off, I DO NOT have a steady hand, plain and simple.

As often as possible I opt for lenses with VR (Vibration Reduction) or IS (Image Stabilization). You pay a pretty penny for this feature. For me, it’s worth the extra cost, and for the point I’m at in my photography it’s a reasonable expense. But that wasn’t always the case, and what about uber slow shutter speeds with no tripod. No IS or VR can hold up under pressure like that. . .no matter how magical they may be. . . and magical they are, trust you me.

6 Techniques to Reduce Camera Shake

Here are 6 options for avoiding camera shake and achieving crisp, delicious images no matter the length of the lens, no matter the shutter speed.

Shooting wide open? NO PROBLEM; I’ve got your back!! Enjoy!

1. Elbows In

As often as possible pull your elbows in to your body and exhale completely before depressing the shutter. When you’re working with a wide aperture or low shutter speed (or both), even a breath can introduce shake. Pulling your elbows tight to your body can really help keep you steady. I also press my elbows firmly into my chest for even greater stability.


2. Raise Your Left Shoulder….

I am definitely a right eyed photographer, but this tip that I learned from “The Moment It Clicks” by Joe McNally, requires that I shift for a moment to my left eye. What I’m doing here is raising my left shoulder, and bracing my left elbow into my rib-cage (no arrow for this one). For further stability, you can pull your right elbow in to your chest. As always, exhale completely before depressing the shutter to avoid introducing shake.


3. Create a Tripod With Your Knee

You can create your own tripod by resting your elbow on your knee while in a seated position. Again, bring that other elbow in for greater support.


4. Lay Down

These two images illustrate perhaps the most obvious way to avoid shake without a tripod. Lie flat and let the lens sit directly on the ground. The problem with this is that you’re likely to have quite a downward tilt to the lens and unless you’re aiming to photograph the pavement, you probably won’t end up with the shot you’re hoping for. In the first image you’ll notice that I placed my hand flat against the cement and balanced the lens on top of it to give myself some height. In the second image you’ll see that I created a fist with my hand to give myself even greater height.

How To Avoid Camera Shake-1

5. The Machine Gun Hold

This next technique is sometimes referred to as the machine gun hold. I rarely use this technique as I find it awkward and difficult to maintain for more than a second or two. Just because it doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t for you. . . give it a try.


6. Cradle It

In this next image you’ll see that I created a sort of cradle for the lens between my shoulder and my wrist. I also stabilized the hold by balancing my elbow on my knee.


Well there you have it. That’s how I avoid “The Shake” (I’ve named him that because he’s like an evil monster who comes in and ruins my otherwise perfectly delicious images). Please share YOUR tricks and techniques in the comment section below, and as always. . .

Happy Shooting! – Get more daily tips like this one by subscribing to Digital Photography School

Further Reading on Camera Shake

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

How to Reduce Camera Shake – 6 Techniques

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Hyperlapse Tutorial: How to do it from Start to Finish

Creating timelapse videos can be expensive. To make a moving timelapse, many photographers use a motorized dolly system, which can set you back hundreds of dollars. Luckily, clever photographers have devised creative ways of making timelapse videos on a budget. In this tutorial, RustadMedia shows how to create a hyperlapse sequence with a camera and tripod:

Hyperlapse Shooting Tips

  • Place your camera and tripod on a flat surface. Man-made surfaces, like asphalt, are ideal for moving timelapse photography, because they keep the camera on an even plane.
  • Use live view, if possible. When you set your camera to manual focus, a small rectangle shows up on the LCD. Move this rectangle around to mark a reference point in your frame. This helps with aligning your camera between shots.
  • Use a timer remote to set consistent intervals.
  • A Canon EF 17-44mm f/4 L lens was used in this tutorial. Use a focal length of 25mm to 30mm to get a relatively wide angle view without distorting your images.
  • Shoot RAW. You’ll want to manipulate the image sequence after shooting.
  • Keep shutter speed to one second or longer to create motion blur in pictures. This blurring effect makes the final video look much smoother.
  • When shooting during the day, use an ND filter to achieve long exposures. An ND 3.0 works well.
  • Allow time to move the camera between each shot. Ten seconds is usually enough time to set up for each shot. Add these 10 seconds to the shutter speed to figure out your interval time. For example, if you’re using a 2 second shutter speed, set your interval remote to 12 seconds.
  • To get 5 seconds of video, you need to take about 120 shots if you’re using 24 frames per second. Calculate the number of minutes you need to shoot by multiplying your number of shots by your interval time and dividing by 60.


Hyperlapse Post-Production


The photographer in this tutorial prefers to start his post-production work by importing all of the photos into Lightroom. Choose one photo and adjust it in the Develop module before applying the settings to the rest of the sequence with the synchronization command. Next, exports all of the photos at full size.

Once the photos are adjusted and exported from Lightroom, they can be imported into AfterEffects as a JPEG sequence.Use the warp stabilizer to quickly correct for any shakiness or imprecise alignment in the photo sequence.


The last step in creating the timelapse video is to open the files in FinalCut Pro or a similar program for rendering. You may choose to crop your files to fit with the HD 16:9 aspect ratio, add music, etc. The final hyperlapse movie can then be saved and uploaded.

Using a tripod, camera, and interval remote to create a hyperlapse takes a bit of practice to get right, but it’s a much cheaper alternative to making a timelapse video with expensive hardware.

For Further Training on Timelapse Photography:

There is a COMPLETE guide (146 pages) to shooting, processing and rendering time-lapses using a dslr camera. It can be found here: The Timelapse Photography Guide

Go to full article: Hyperlapse Tutorial: How to do it from Start to Finish

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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Faking an ND Filter for Long Exposure Photography

So, I’ve had this idea bouncing around in my head for a bit, and figured it might help me to get off my ass and actually try it out if I described my thought process.

Long Exposure - Shanklin
Long Exposure – Shanklin by Richard ‘Tenspeed’ Heaven, (cc-by), 5 sec  f/32 ISO 100

I’ve been wanting to get some ND filters to experiment with daytime long exposures for a while now. The problem is that I’m lazy. So when I say “for a while now”, I really mean that it’s been like 3 years.

I had previously written about using median stacks to remove noise from an image, as an easy way to remove non-static objects from a scene, and to create interesting artwork. It’s those last two things that got me thinking…

Home Studio Photography

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How to Professionally Retouch Portraits in Lightroom

The Following is an excerpt from the SLR Lounge Lightroom Preset System v5 and accompanying workshop from the Lightroom Workshop Collection v5.  The Lightroom Preset System is designed to take you from Ordinary to Extraordinary photos in just a few seconds and clicks.

In this article we’re going to do a headshot retouch to show how capable Lightroom is. Of course for a professional headshot retouch Photoshop is necessary, but Lightroom is also surprisingly capable. We’re going to utilize one of our “Soft Portrait” presets, similar to the one we used in our Color Portraiture with Retouch and Enhancement Tutorial, and then we’re going to utilize our brush presets to make our retouches. The complete written tutorial is below, and you can also watched the video tutorial at the end of this article.

Here’s a sneak peak at what our image will look like before and after the retouch.



Read the Written Tutorial

The first thing we’re going to do is select our “01-10 BASE – SOFT: 11a. Extra Soft – Skin Desat” which will soften the skin by decreasing the Clarity and adjusting the Noise Reduction settings. The preset also adjusted the Red and Orange in our HSL, lowering them slightly so we get desaturated skin tones. We also added a little bit of contrast using the  “03-40 ADJUST – SHADOW BLACKS: 43 Darken – Light (+10,-20)” preset. The Tone Curve is set in s subtle “S” shape, giving us a slight contrast boost, and we have our standard amount of Sharpening applied to this photo. We’re going to set our Color Temperature to 4900 and add +0.40 to the Exposure to give the skin a nice bright look. For those that don’t have the Preset System, here are what our Develop Settings look like after our presets and adjustments are applied.


The first brush adjustment we’re going to be making is for her skin. We’re using our “21 Skin Softener” preset, and you can see settings of our brush in the photo below. These settings will smooth skin without destroying skin texture. We want to make sure we’re only applying this brush to the skin, and you can press “O” to bring up the overlay so you can see exactly where the brush is being applied as shown below. You can also delete  areas of brush application by holding down “alt on a PC or “opt” on a MAC to erase the adjustments.


Moving on, we’re going to hit “New” to  make new brush adjustments, and we’re going to select our “23 Line Diminisher” preset. We want to diminish some of the smile lines and lines under the eyes. This part of the retouch should be subtle, diminishing the lines and not removing them completely. Once again, you can see the brush preset settings and the area of affect in the image below.


Now we’re going to hit “New” and select the  ”24 Eye Brightener” preset. We’re going to brighten up the eyes and we want it to be subtle because if the eyes are too bright it will have an abnormal look. The best way to check if eyes are too bright is to simply zoom out to a thumbnail view and check to see if the eyes look like they are glowing or unusually bright based on the surrounding tones.


Furthering our edit on the eyes, we want to brighten up the iris’ to add nice colors to them and to exaggerate some of the nice catch light. We’re using our “25 Iris Enhancer” and we want to make sure we’re only making adjustments on the iris’ and nothing else.


Now we’re going to move onto our lips. Our “26 Lip Enhancer” preset adds nice color and contrast to the lips.


The last brush we’re going to use is for the hair. With our “15 Hair | Lashes” preset, we’re going to pull out some nice color and texture from her hair.


At this point we’re done with our retouches. If you like you can do some additional blemish removal. When doing blemish removal we recommend keeping blemishes that are apart of their look. The last thing we’re going to do is add a Radial Filter with the Exposure set to -0.50.


And now we are left with our final image. Here’s a before and after of our portrait.





Watch the Video Tutorial


If you would like to see exactly how all of the settings and adjustments were applied, please watch the video below from the SLR Lounge YouTube Channel.

Conclusion and Learn More

We hope you all enjoyed this tutorial. If you are interested in learning more or purchasing the SLR Lounge Lightroom Preset System v5 or the newly released Lightroom Workshop Collection v5, please click any of the links in this article.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

How to Professionally Retouch Portraits in Lightroom

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How to Take Great HDR Photography

HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is one of the more exciting techniques in the world of digital photography. HDR is essentially a number of different exposures of the same composition merged in specialty software to one single, high dynamic range image. In simple terms, the camera will see what you or I can see, rather than making the best of a poorly lit scene within a single exposure. One of the most appealing aspects of HDR is the ability to take images that instantly stand out from the crowd, be it through stunning contrast, eye-popping colours, or the capturing of tiny details within the image.

great hdr

“Golden Hour” captured by Gagan Dhiman (Click Image to See More From Gagan Dhiman)

However, HDR is a technique which is not without its critics. It can make an average shot look like a great one, including those that were poorly conceived in the first place. This is why it has detractors; it is too often akin to hitting the easy button to create a great image.

This, though, is not necessarily fair. Most professional photographers can tell great HDR shots from poor HDR shots. The key difference is that, very often, great HDR does not look like HDR at all! Rather, it will very often look like an extremely well exposed image. Like any image, creating good HDR is not an easy process and is not something that can be created with a few simple clicks in Photoshop. It is something that must be well grounded in the camera itself.

Generating great HDR is as much of an art form as any other form of digital photography. Reducing noise, ghosting, and unnecessary highlights requires a skill that rivals other forms of post-processing. Be aware, though, that HDR is not a genre within itself. It is a means to an end, and it should not necessarily be the basis of a great image. That said, follow the steps below and you will begin to be able to compose the scenes you previously felt you did not have the ability to capture.

black and white hdr boat

“Boat” captured by Gagan Dhiman (Click image to see more from Dhiman.)

To begin with, you need a digital camera (probably a DSLR) that can bracket images and has a reasonable frames per second rating. The first thing you are going to do (other than compose the scene, of course) is to decide how many images you need to bracket (i.e. how many differently exposed images you need of the scene). This is how to do it:

  • Set your camera to Aperture-Priority or Manual mode. Without taking this first step, your HDR image will be trash from the outset. All images must use the same aperture, or f-stop. This ensures that all bracketed images have the same depth of focus, an essential aspect of generating HDR.
  • Set the aperture to between f/9 and f/11. Too large an aperture and the out of focus areas will be very noticeable. Too small an aperture and the limitations of your DSLR will become obvious. Contrary to logical thought, a very small aperture does not necessarily take sharp images–even if they are essentially in focus.
  • Meter for the highlights. This will require the spot-meter technique to focus on the highlights (e.g., the sky) and stop the shutter speed up or down to ensure the meter reading is in the centre hash mark. Take note of the shutter speed, as this will become important in the next step.
  • Meter for the shadows in the same way as you metered for the highlights, and again note the shutter speed. Now compare the shutter speeds for the highlights and the shadows. The number of “stops” between the two values is the number of bracketed images you need.
  • Next, focus the scene and disable the auto focus: you don’t want the camera refocusing for you between shots.
  • One of the most important points to remember: Use a tripod with a cable shutter release. Any movement within the camera will be accentuated by the HDR process. It is possible to take good hand-held HDR shots, but in low light, it will be next to impossible. Use every tool you have to ensure the camera remains utterly motionless during the shooting.

The results should be a great set of RAW images that will form the essential ingredients to creating great HDR. However, the work is not over yet. You’ve got to put those ingredients together to come up with the final product.

hdr fall landscape

“Gold Tips HDR” captured by Mitch Johanson (Click image to see more from Johanson.)

Without a doubt, the best post-processing tool is Photomatix. The noise and ghosting controls (compensation for subject movement) are second to none, and unfortunately that includes Photoshop. Photomatix is relatively inexpensive, though, and you will be able to get a copy for approximately $150. There is a place for Photoshop though–Adobe Camera Raw, in particular. This is where you should perform all of your post-processing touch ups, sharpening, colour balance corrections, etc.

About the Author:
Ray Devlin is from “Photography has become a passion for me, which remains funded by my day job – a day job which takes up a vast amount of my time! I don’t necessarily want to share only my best images. Some of the images in my galleries represent shots that have more of a personal meaning to me; images that I simply couldn’t resist sharing.”

Photomatix Coupon for PictureCorrect Readers:

Photomatix was nice enough to provide a discount to PictureCorrect readers on any version of their software. For 15% off, remember to use the photomatix coupon code picturecorrect at checkout. The software can be acquired Here on the Photomatix Site

For Further Training on HDR Photography:

If you are interested in furthering your skills in HDR photography, this course can definitely help. Trey Ratcliff, arguably the most popular and successful HDR photographer ever, has released an extensive HDR Photography training course which has received very good reviews. If you are unfamiliar with his work, Trey created the first HDR photo to ever be hung in the Smithsonian Museum and he has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, NPR, and the BBC. For 15% off, remember to use the discount code picturecorrect at checkout. The Training Course He Offers Can Be Found Here

Go to full article: How to Take Great HDR Photography

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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5 Ways to Take Better Smartphone Photos

When you think about smartphone photography what comes to mind? My guess is you probably think about Instagram, photo filters, bad selfies and any number of other keywords that describe this new wave of photography.


Today, I’m going to share a few tips on how you can improve your smartphone photography and start capturing interesting photographs wherever you are with whatever you have in your pocket. If you like this post you might also want to check out this DPS eBook specifically written for improving your iPhone photography.

Oh and no just because Apple improved their camera in the 5s doesn’t mean that they’ve created a device that will make you a better photographer – you’ll just get the same boring images – unless you learn how to become a better photographer.

Take Your Time and Treat it Like a DSLR

Smartphone photos on Flickr, Facebook and Instagram get a bad reputation for being terrible because well, 95% of them are terrible. One of the biggest reasons that this is the case is because 95% of the photos on these sites are taken not as photographs, but as a way of sharing moments – they’re snapshots.


People aren’t thinking about capturing a photograph – they’re thinking about how cool that thing that happened in front of them is. If you want to truly impress people with your smartphone photographs you have to first and foremost start treating your smartphone more like a camera and less like a phone.

In the photo above I noticed that the sun setting behind me was reflecting off the mirror at the other end of the bar. I positioned my beer and spent a few minutes taking different shots, both in portrait and landscape orientation, as the sun quickly passed its way below the horizon.

Think With Filters in Mind

The great thing about smartphone photography is the ease of which you have to process your captured image. While it might not be true that every photograph looks “better” with a filter, it is certainly true that filters can add interest to an otherwise boring photo. That said you shouldn’t simply think “oh well I’ll just add a filter to it to make it awesome” instead think “that would look really cool with this filter!” and then shoot your photo accordingly.


When I saw these two hikers sit down in front of me on a recent hike I knew right away that it’d make for a great “old time” family portrait style photo. I framed the shot and instantly went in that direction when I process the image – there was no doubt in my mind as to how I wanted the image to look from the moment I captured it.

Get Into Strange & Uncomfortable Positions

Smartphones are light, easy to maneuver and have a large screen making it possible to compose your image in awkward positions. Use this to your advantage and don’t be afraid of looking like someone who’s had a few too many hallucinogenic drugs in public. If you’re taking a photo people will understand won’t they?

So get down on your knees, on your back or hang upside down and have fun capturing photos that you would otherwise be unlikely to get with a larger heavier device.

Use Third Party Lenses

In most cases the third party lenses are best used for specialty situations like fisheye or macro photography that the built in cameras just aren’t capable of doing. With the iPhone I use the Olloclip 3 in 1 attachment and absolutely love the macro lens (read my full review here).

Dragonfly Macro

The above photograph was captured using an iPhone 4S with the Olloclip Macro attachment and to be honest the quality of this photograph even stunned me when I finally got it onto my computer. One of the key points to keep in mind here is that when you are using this lens you are required to be about 10-15 millimeters away from your subject to achieve focus – that’s incredibly close to a an insect that typically is fairly skittish.

Use Third Party Camera Apps

Yes the smartphones come with built in functionality, but in most cases they are fairly basic and while they will work well enough if you’re looking to capture a snapshot to go beyond that there are certainly better options out there. Many of the good quality camera apps on the market offer improved stability control, better filter options, and the ability to pick a focus and exposure point separately allowing for better control over the final image. Seeing as there are so many good apps out there rather than listing one that I recommend how about you leave your favorites in the comments below!

Have Fun and Share

Okay so ultimately the best part of smartphone photography is how easy it is to share your creations with the world. So now that you’ve learned how to take better smartphone photos how about sharing some of your favorites below – let us know which phone and apps you’re using to capture the images!

Learn more about taking photos with iPhones with our iPhone PHotography eBook.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

5 Ways to Take Better Smartphone Photos

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Photographing Fall Foliage

Fall colours can be very different from place to place. Some areas will have a very short colour-changing season of a week or less, while elsewhere it can last nearly a month. Every location will produce different colours, depending on the type of flora and other factors such as climate and soil.

The hillsides of New England, which attract thousands of photographers every year, are famous for their dappled assortment of species producing different shades, ranging between reds and greens.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, by Anne McKinnell

The Sierra Mountains of California and Nevada, on the other hand, are known for their vast yellow forests of Aspen and Birch.

Do some research into your area to find out when the leaves are expected to change so you can make the most of this opportunity. A quick Google search will help you find the best areas for autumn foliage in your vicinity.

If you’re planning a photo expedition, you can use services such as Flickr and Panoramio to see what different areas look like at different times of the season, simply by searching tags for the time and place you’re considering.

Whatever the Weather

No matter how the weather behaves when you go out shooting, you can get great shots in any type of light. If it’s sunny, you have plenty of light to work with, but you may get harsh shadows and glare that can diminish the colours. To conquer this, try using a polarizing filter, changing your angle of view, or shooting when the sun is low in the sky.

If the sky is white, simply leave it out of the composition. The soft light of a white sky day is perfect for photographing the smaller details which will be free of bright areas and harsh shadows.

Fall in New Hampshire by Anne McKinnell

A rainy day might seem like a wash-out, but water actually brings out colour like nothing else. The best time to shoot is right after it stops raining, especially as the sun peaks through the clouds to illuminate the saturated landscape.

If there’s a sudden cold snap, you might find some frost forming on your foliage. If you brave the cold, you can capture some amazing textures, particularly in the early morning when the air is crisp.



If you position a leaf between your camera and the sun, the back lighting will illuminate it all the way through making it appear to glow and revealing the details of the veins. If the sky is visible between the leaves, try it on the blue sky day for a beautiful colour contrast.

Backlit Maple by Anne McKinnell


Photographing leaves can be especially difficult on a windy day. On these occasions I try to find reflections of the fall colours and create a more abstract image.

Fall Reflections by Anne McKinnell


Leaves that have fallen on the ground are excellent subjects. Try getting a squirrel’s point of view for a unique perspective.

Mushroom and Maple Leaf by Anne McKinnell

Try looking straight up into the trees to emphasize their tallness and magnificence.

Fall Trees by Anne McKinnell


Combining the beautiful colours of the fall leaves with a silky smooth waterfall can be magical. Try using a long exposure to blur the water as it cascades past the fallen leaves.

Fallingwater Cascades, Virginia, by Anne McKinnell


A simple, minimalist composition can be just as evocative of the season as a complex scene. Try getting close to a single leaf and using a wide aperture, like f/2.8 or f/4 to achieve a shallow depth of field that isolates fine details.

Autumn Oak Leaves by Anne McKinnell

Camera Settings

  • Depth of Field: Decide how much of the picture you want to be in focus, and use your aperture to control the depth of field.
  • Underexpose: To deepen the tones and make the colours stand out more, underexpose your image slightly. The easiest way to do this is to locate your exposure compensation (+/-) button and dial it down somewhere between -0.5EV and -1.0EV.
  • White balance: If you’re photographing during the golden hours (just before sunset or just after sunrise), you probably don’t want your camera’s auto white balance to eliminate the light’s yellow-orange tone, which is exactly what it will try to do. However, if you set your white balance to “daylight”, your pictures will retain the sun’s warm glow. Try different settings in any given lighting situation to find the best colour balance. It is particularly important to get this right if you’re shooting JPEG files, but if you use RAW format, the white balance can be perfected in post-production.

Fall Umbrellas by Anne McKinnell


When we find a great autumn location full of dramatic colours, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the colour and forget everything else. Fall colours don’t create a good landscape photo on their own, they simply add an element of colour. The composition should be strong even when turned black and white, so remember your basic rules of landscape composition: create a focal point, and use lines, shapes, and forms to create balance and harmony.

To create images that stand out from the rest, compose them with thought and purpose, and never be afraid to try a different angle.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

Photographing Fall Foliage

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Autumn Photography: 24 tips on how to take awesome pictures of Fall

If you’re like us, autumn photography is something you eagerly await all year. Say goodbye to the bland, bleached colours and hazy, washed-out skies of summer and welcome in the russets, reds and golds that dominate the countryside.

Autumn Photography: 24 tips on how to take awesome pictures of Fall

Autumn is a period of transition, when life slowly drains from the land, but instead of fading quietly it goes out in a blaze of glory, creating some of the most spectacular photo opportunities you’ll see all year. Over the next month in our Shoot Like A Pro series we’ll explore the techniques you need to shoot stunning pictures of Fall, and tantalise you with a mouthwatering selection of autumnal shots.

Each week we’ll update this post with a new batch of autumn photography tips for you to put in practice as the summer hues turn into Fall colours. We’ll begin with composition, and how to make sure you get the best views possible for your autumn photography.

Autumn Photography Tips: 01 Work yourself harder

Autumn Photography Tips: 01 Work yourself harder

Next time you head out with a camera, push yourself harder. Walk a little further and see if the scenery gets better, climb that hill for a bird’s eye view of the world, hike to that distant headland where the view along the coast will be clearer.

There’s an old saying, ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get’ and this definitely applies to landscape photography.

So the next time you head out with a camera, instead of settling for the first viewpoint you find, push yourself harder.

Walk a little further and see if the scenery gets better, climb that hill ahead for a bird’s eye view of the world, hike to that distant headland where the view along the coast will be clearer.

There’s an old saying, ‘The harder you work the luckier you get’ and this definitely applies to landscape photography.

Autumn Photography Tips: 02 Just add water

Autumn Photography Tips: 02 Just add water

Tracy Kahn/

Water in its many forms is a great ally when shooting landscapes – which is just as well, since 70% of the earth’s surface is covered in it and, as we head towards autumn, rainfall levels rise dramatically.

Still water in lakes and lochs is ideal for capturing reflections. If you get down to the water’s edge you can create sublime, symmetrical compositions, with the landscape occupying the top half of the shot and its reflection filling the foreground.

Use a polariser to increase colour saturation on sunny days, but make sure it doesn’t spoil the reflections. A neutral density (ND) grad filter can also be useful for balancing the landscape and its reflection.

Reflections always come out darker due to the laws of physics, and a grad over the top half of the shot will let you give more exposure to the reflection so the final image is more balanced.

Autumn is a great time of year to shoot abstract reflections of vivid colours. Overhanging trees clothed in autumnal foliage will reflect in rivers and streams, and the gentle flowing of the water ripples and distorts them.

Use a telezoom lens to home in on these eye-catching patterns of colour.

Autumn Photography Tips: 03 Get down and dirty

Autumn Photography Tips: 03 Get down and dirty

If you want to bag the best shots, you have to get down there in the thick of it all and not worry about muddy knees or a soggy bum.

So don’t be afraid to lie on your back in the middle of woodland to get a great view of the autumnal canopy, or scramble up a slippery bank for a clearer view of the landscape.

Similarly, while you need to protect your gear, sometimes you need to take risks in pursuit of a great picture – like holding your camera at knee-level to capture waves breaking on a beach or resting it on the ground for an unusual viewpoint.

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53 essential photo ideas for winter
Dull day photography: what (and how) to shoot when the sun isn’t shining
Fall color: how to photograph autumn leaves and seasonal textures
10 common landscape photography mistakes every photographer makes

[syndicated from Digital Camera World] Read more →

Window Light Portrait Photography Tips

Final Reminder: Only a little time left! in the launch sale on: Portraits – Lighting the Shot

Have you ever tried to create a lovely portrait but not known how? It’s not a hard thing to create a beautiful portrait. The secret is the lighting. You don’t always need thousands of dollars in photographic lighting equipment to create a good portrait. In fact, all you need is a window.

portrait using window light

“Untitled” captured by Jheuz Marcoh (Click image to see more from Marcoh)

If window light is so good, why doesn’t everyone use it? Well, the answer is that they do not know how. Many enthusiast photographers don’t work with the light properly.

Many inexperienced photographers stand in front of the window. They position their subjects with their backs to the window. What they should be doing is using the window light to light the subject’s face. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? So why don’t more photographers light portraits this way?

The simple answer is they do not understand light. The difference between a photography enthusiast and a professional photographer is a solid and very deep understanding of light. If you are an enthusiast, and you probably are, don’t feel bad. I will help increase your understanding.

First, in order to create beautiful portraits, you need to examine the qualities of light.

Think about the quality of the light coming through the window. Is it hard or soft? Usually the light is soft. A portrait looks fantastic when the light is soft. Blemishes are reduced, skin tone evens out, and there are no harsh shadows under noses or eyes. It’s really an ideal kind of light for portraits.

Think about the temperature of the light. Changing the white balance to suit your portrait is essential if you want to create beautifully warm and fresh skin tones. It’s easy to create unsuitable colour tone through a lack of understanding about white balance and how it affects your model’s skin tone. In this case, do a custom white balance before you shoot.

window light portrait

“Face Lift” captured by Shovona Karmakar (Click image to see more from Karmakar)

The way to do a custom white balance is as follows: Take your light meter and place it on the person’s face. Face the light meter toward the window light with the invercone extended. Now take a reading. Make sure the light meter and the camera have the same settings. For example if the light meter tells you that f1.4 and 1/60th of a second is ideal, and your lens is unable to go to f1.4 then you may not use the setting. Move your light meter’s dial to the aperture you want to shoot at. It will then give you a reading you will able to set on your camera.

Now that you have the ideal exposure, take a grey card and place it in front of the lens. Set your camera to the settings of the light meter. Take a photo. Set the photo of the grey card to the correct white balance on your camera. Now your white balance should be OK. It’s been set for the conditions you are shooting in.

The direction of light is very important, too. It’s good to get a window that is quite long so the majority of light comes from the person’s top and side, not directly from above. If you have too much light from above, shadows under the nose and the eyes may occur. To avoid this, try and find a window that is quite large. This will help disperse the light evenly.

If you find that you still have too much shadow on the opposite side to the window, then try using a reflector. A reflector can bounce the light back onto the person’s face to fill in the shadows. This works very well in some situations.

If you place your subject too close to the window you may see more contrast on his or her face. If you want softer light and less shadows, move your model away from the window. This will even out the light across the face, but darken the overall exposure of the image. Simply adjust this by increasing your ISO.

When shooting a portrait using window light, it’s important to keep the emotive effects of that light clear in your mind. A soft light cast across someone’s face can often be endearing. This is ideal for weddings, young people, and children. If you want to create something theatrical and moody, try a different direction and quality of light. However, for windows, you will find that creating an endearing effect is easier than you think.

portrait with children

“Keep Calm” captured by Pirjo-Leena Bauer (Click image to see more from Bauer)

Consider window light as a wonderfully accessible way to shoot portraits. Always make sure you have plenty of light, and use a tripod. Window light is soft and subdued and ideal for portraits. Face your model toward the light, not away from it. The light needs to caress the person’s face to help create a gentle and soft look and feel. If you use window light in this way, you will be better equipped to handle many lighting situations.

natural light portrait

“Her Usual Celery Juice” captured by by Olga Filonova (Click image to see more from Filonova)

Amy is a photographer who teaches photo enthusiasts how to get stunning images with the press of a shutter button using professional lighting and artistic techniques.

About the Author:
Amy Renfrey writes for She’s photographed many things from famous musicians (Drummers for Prince and Anastasia) to weddings and portraits of babies. Amy also teaches photography online to her students.

For Further Training on Portrait Lighting:

There are three elements to a great portrait: light, subject and location. When it comes to shooting stunning portraits, lighting can be the X factor in making your pictures pop. This new eBook is designed to help you better harness the potential of light in your photos, communicate emotion more powerfully through every portrait, learn the techniques pros use to capture stunning portrait photography, and understand the right gear you’ll need to light up your shots.

Launch sale ending soon: Portraits – Lighting the Shot

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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