Category Archives: Photography Tips

Things I’ve learned along the way from others or by trial and error.

Food Photography

I’m not really one to photograph food. I’m not sure why…it’s probably because I eat it before I even have a chance to think about taking a photograph. Before the honeymoon, I was reading a travel photography blog (I’ll see if I can dig up the link) and one thing they mentioned was photographing food. Food is an integral part of most cultures and what better way to remember a town/city/country/people than photographing the food. I made sure to keep this in the front of my mind on our honeymoon as we would be traveling to places with some pretty amazing food.

The shot below was taken at a small restaurant that had outdoor seating in the area of Athens called Plaka. It was a BEAUTIFUL day and the food was absolutely amazing. We didn’t get anything fancy, just a Greek salad, spinach pie, and a Kabop. That’s right, Kabop…not Kabob. Easily the best $30 I’ve ever spent on a meal. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about taking a picture until after I started stuffing my face. Oh well, I still enjoy the shot. Actually, I think I may like it even better because it doesn’t look like its fake/staged.

Anyway, the next time you travel or even if you are a foodie, try taking pictures of your grub!

Greek Lunch

This was taken with a Panasonic GF-1 equipped with the 20mm f/1.7 “pancake” lens. The only adjustment made was a tweak to the noise level in Lightroom 3.

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Book/Author Recommendation: Within The Frame, The Journey of Photographic Vision

This is slightly embarrassing to admit, but I’m not much of a reader. I enjoy reading blogs, magazines, websites, etc. but I’m not a big book reader. It’s pretty amazing if an author can get me to sit down and actually read a book. Only two people have been able to get me to do this since college, Dan Brown and David DuChimen. Both authors write about drastically different subjects, but I think they are both extremely gifted writers.

I think I can safely assume you all know who Dan Brown is, but David DuChimen may not be on your radar unless you are up on your photography books. David has written several books on photography each with their own special purpose. To date, I’ve read Within The Frame, The Journey of Photographic Vision which is easily the best photography book I’ve read. You can find a million photography books that break down the “How” of photography, this type of book is nothing new. Within The Frame focuses on developing and honing your vision. Vision goes beyond just seeing something and saying “Wow, that’s cool. I should take a picture of that.” This book breaks down the elements that go into making an engaging photo that captures the eye and invokes some kind of reaction from the viewer. I can’t recommend this book enough to photographers.

Mr. DuChimen, along with other photographers/authors, have created an online resource for photographers call “Craft and Vision”. At Craft and Vision, users can download several eBooks from world class photographers and authors, like David DuChimen. The best part is each and every eBook is only $5!! Most of the eBooks are under 100 pages but the content and imagery is well worth the money. Also, when new eBooks are released, you can usually pick them up for as little as $4 a pop! I’ve gone through five of these eBooks and I’ve loved every one.

Check out David’s Website at www.pixelatedImage.com for more information about his books and photography. Also, be sure to check out the Craft and Vision website for some excellent eBooks.

Feel free to leave a comment about your favorite photographer/author!

Help Keep the Reviews Coming!
If you’re thinking about purchasing Within the Frame, check out Amazon.com…this is my go-to store for pretty much everything. If you click through to Amazon using the link below, I get small kickback which I use to invest in more books and equipment to review for you!

Amazon:
Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision

My Favorite Photography Sites

One thing I’m constantly in search of is information. I spend hours each week reading about photography. Anything from technique to postproduction tricks, it’s all gold to me. I spend a good deal of time just finding sites that are worth reading so I thought to myself, why not make a nice little list for everyone. So, that’s exactly what I did! Below you will find a list of my favorite photography websites. I visit all of these sites several times a week. There is so much good information at these sites that I keep coming back for more! I hope you find these links helpful and informative.

Gear Reviews and Information
the-digital-picture.com – This is really the only place you need to go if you shoot Canon. This site is absolutely amazing. I mean, they have ISO 12233 resolution chart sample crop comparisons for hundreds of lenses. Brilliant!

fredmiranda.com – A great place to find user reviews for most of the popular gear on the market. This is also a great place to buy used gear.

Photography Communities
digital-photography-school.com – If you are just starting out in photography or if you have basic photographic needs/questions, this is a great site. I personally feel that most of the posts are geared towards the beginner level photographer, there is still a good deal of useful info to be found and the community is very friendly.

opensourcephoto.net – Unlike the site listed above, OSP is geared towards serious/pro photographers. While the site isn’t exactly pretty to look at, the available information is endless.

photo.net – This is a huge community of photographers that come together and talk ALL things photography. If you can’t find the answer to a photography related question on this site, the answer doesn’t exist. I’ve met several extremely kind and generous photographers through this site. Well worth a look.

Pro Photographer’s Personal Websites/Blogs
pixelatedimage.com – This is David deChemin’s blog and this has to be my favorite site. His posts are always insightful and engaging. If you are in the market for books or eBooks, you MUST check out David’s work; he is hands down my favorite author on all things photography.

chasejarvis.com – Chase is one of the most popular photographers at the moment and he is very passionate about giving back to the photographic community. He has worked with other photographers to setup creativelive.com which shoots live photo classes for free. I’ve attended a few and they are definitely worth checking out.

Educational/Informational Sites
thelightroomlab.com – I love Adobe Lightroom. This program has replaced about 90% of my need to go into Photoshop. Thelightroomlab.com has made me love this program even more because they not only explain how to use it, but they explain how to use it properly.

x-equals.com – I stumbled upon this site last week and I’ve been hooked ever since. The people that run Thelightroomlab.com actually mentioned this site in one of their posts about .dng files and I’m sure glad they did. X-Equals has a little bit of everything including tutorials on Lightroom, Photoshop, workflows, and much more. Between Thelightroomlab.com and this site, I think I’ll be set for awhile.

picturecorrect.com – This site has a new post just about everyday. They are usually short and sweet but they are helpful nonetheless.

craftandvision.com – Craft and Vision is home to eBooks from David deChemin along with other photographers. These eBooks are usually under 100 pages (some are more) but they are wonderfully written and the imagery is amazing. The best part is they are all just $5!

strobist.blogspot.com – If you want to know anything about flash photography, go to this site. PERIOD.

photofocus.com – This is another good blog that I visit several times a day as Scott is a very active blogger. His post are usually short and sweet but he has years of experience to pass along to the masses.

I’ll be sure to update this post as I find more sites so make sure to check back for new additions!

Light Painting

Hi all,

As promised yesterday, below are just a few of the results from my first light painting experience. The setup is EASY! All you need is a dark room (I used the garage), a flashlight, and a rope.

Setup
To support my camera, I used my Joby Gorillapod for DSLRs with the ball head and it worked great. I had my mini Maglite flashlight dangling from the ceiling about 6′ from the ground and my 5D was positioned on the ground looking up at the flashlight. I kept the lights on in the garage and focused the camera on the light so I would be focusing in the general area of the light.

Camera Settings
I tried a bunch of different lenses but I think the best results came from my 17-40L. ISO was set at 100 the entire time to reduce noise in the black areas. I kept the aperture around f8-f10 but my shutter speed varied from 5″ to 20″. If you are just swinging the light around, the longer shutter speeds work better (15″-20″). If you are going to twist up the rope and let it spin like a top, you are better off with shorter shutter speeds (5″-10″).

Two big important settings that most people forget when shooting night or long exposures are mirror lockup and a timed delay. These GREATLY reduce any blurring that could occur from camera shake. If you don’t know how to set your camera for mirror lockup, check your manual…it’s usually under a custom function setting. Another not so vital setting but I like using is switching my dedicated exposure lock button to a dedicated focus button. This allows you to focus and meter at two different places but it also allows you to focus then fire the shutter at a later time. If you focus and fire the shutter with the shutter button when trying this, you may end up having your lens search around for something to focus on which defeats the purpose of you “pre-focusing”. If you want to keep your shutter button as the focus, exposure, and shutter trigger, then I suggest using manual focusing for this type of project.

Results

Below are a few of the images from this experiment. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results.

Be sure to check back tomorrow as I will post my favorites from this shoot.

Light Painting #2

Light Painting #3

Light Painting #5

Light Painting #7

What Were You Thinking?

One thing that I’ve always wondered when looking at other people’s photography is “What were they thinking?” I don’t mean what were you thinking in a bad way…I REALLY want to know what the photographer was thinking when they took that shot. What was the photographer’s vision BEFORE they took the shot? Where they intending on capturing X, Y, and Z? If it’s black and white, did they always plan on converting the shot to black and white? Was this a spur of the moment shot or were they sitting there for hours waiting for the perfect moment? These are the types of questions that run through my head when I see a photograph that catches my eye.

Sooo, from now on I’m going to provide as much info as I can on the shots that I post on this blog. Hopefully this well help anyone that is just starting out or anyone that is curious about a particular shot. And, as always, feel free to comment or post a question.

EDIT

So after doing this for one picture, I’m not sure this is the best idea to do for EVERY photo I post. I think breaking down each photo takes away from what each person may precevie on their own from my photographs…and that’s bad. One of the great things about photography is a photo could mean something different to every and by ME tell YOU why I took the shot and basically why I like the photograph may take away from some other emotion or thought that would have occoured organically when you first took in and processed the image. Wow, that was deep…I was on a roll there. Anyway, let me know what you think about this because I’d like to know your thoughts on the subject.