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Photography is an amazing way to express yourself and see the world around you. It’s therefore not surprising that photography is a favorite pass time for young people. Recently I was asked to give my tips for aspiring young photographers (and those of any age!).

It’s such a great subject that sharing it with the dPS community seemed like a great idea. Even if you’re an old hand at photography, it’s always worth remembering the path you took to becoming a great photographer. We were all young and aspiring once!

Let’s look at some tips that will help you succeed whether you’re new to photography or not.

Learning to use off-camera flash is a key lesson for aspiring young photographers who want to take portraits. 1 – Be patient

In today’s world, we all want everything at once. To quote the lyrics from a song “How soon is now?”

As with anything that’s new to you, you’ll need to show patience. Learning a new vocation is a marathon, not a sprint. While it’s true some people will have a natural eye for photography, they also won’t succeed without patience and application.

You also need to figure out what success means to you. There are many who will see that as a large following through social media....

If you’re anything like me, your love for photography is matched only by your love for travel. Your days consist of dreaming of epic landscapes, amazing cities, and unlimited air miles. Unfortunately, my friend, you have the travel photography bug, and I’m sorry to tell you that it’s incurable.

It’s easy to get down about your inability to see and photograph everything right now. There just aren’t enough hours in the day, and for most of us, not enough money in the bank. The thing that keeps me from getting down is planning my next trip.

Planning is the easy part, the hard part is choosing where to go. You might get overwhelmed by the options, so here are a few things to consider which may help you choose your next travel photography destination.

Look in Your Own Backyard

First up, your next trip doesn’t need to be an epic destination across oceans to places like Iceland or Patagonia. I’m always trying to find ways to get to big bucket-list locations that I know I would love, but sometimes looking closer to home may be a better option.

Unless you live on an island in the middle of the ocean, there’s likely somewhere nearby that you’ll be able to get to sooner to satisfy your wanderlust.

Is there anywhere...

Aquariums are amazing places to take your family. But it can be really hard to take good photos as aquariums.

Naturally, you want some really cool pictures. But you find out very quickly that aquariums are dark. Really dark! And that your photos turn out blurry. Really blurry!

Low light photography is one of my favorite challenges. So, in this article, I’ll show you how to get clear and creative photos at aquariums and how to apply some simple edits in Lightroom.

I’ve always been amazed by people who go diving with sharks. I knew that I wanted my aquarium photos to seem like they were taken from in the water. So as much as possible, I got right up close to the glass, blocking everything out except the creatures in the water. 1. Getting Clear Photos at Aquariums Turn off your flash

If you set your camera to Automatic Mode, it’ll likely trigger the flash when you take a photo. The flash will make a huge reflection on the glass which will ruin your photo. So before you even enter the aquarium, make sure to disable your flash.

If you turn your flash off you’ve eliminated the biggest problem with glare. But there still might be some...

Today let’s talk about one of the final processes of creating an artful image. Let’s talk about THE LOOK. This refers to the overall feeling your images projects to a viewer. This look is often created during post-production here in the digital age, or it can be created in camera. Either way, the final look and feel of your image are just as important as all the technical requirements that went into the initial exposure.

In this case, a soft focus was added in post-processing to help lighten the image.

There are lots of different looks that you can create with your images, everything from a bleached look to something with super rich colors. There’s also the hyper-realistic style where you process your work to create a gritty look. Today though we’re going to focus on the luminous look.

Defining the Luminous Look

To fully understand the luminous look lets start with a full understanding of the characteristics of a photograph that looks and feels luminous. defines the word luminous in the following way:


  1. Radiating or reflecting light; shining; bright.
  2. Lighted up or illuminated; well-lighted: the luminous ballroom.
  3. Brilliant intellectually; enlightened or enlightening, as a writer or a writer’s works: a luminous concept; luminous prose.

This means one of the main focuses when creating a luminous photograph...

One of the great things about being a travel photographer is that you are almost always working outside. Sometimes this might be in a city and sometimes in the wilderness. Either way, one of the main attributes you will need is to be organized. This involves everything from research and planning, to your shot list and efficiency. It also includes being organized with your equipment and what you will need on a day to day basis.

There is a fine balance between carrying too much unnecessary equipment and what you actually will need. A vital part of carrying your equipment is choosing the right bag for the scenario you are going to be photographing. Not only are camera bags important in keeping your equipment safe and dry, but a good bag will also make it easier to carry equipment.

Especially when you will potentially be walking around all day. There are so many bags to choose from, so here are the five types of bags that you may need at some point.

#1 – Day Bag

A day bag is usually the first bag that most people would purchase. It will also be the bag that gets the most usage. So it’s vital that you take into account the different options...

In this third installment of articles on ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2018, we look at some of the Cool Tools – either new features or ones that are particularly useful. Read my first two articles here:

New Features 1. ACTIONS

Newly implemented in the latest release of the software, Actions are a range of predefined edits that you can apply to your image to achieve a specific look or effect. To assist you with this, there is an Actions Browser that lets you see the effect applied in advance, which is extremely useful.

Image with the Actions Browser open.

There are 16 different categories covering color, black and white, workflow, editing, special effects, portrait and landscape options, and more. Once you decide on the desired Action, click PLAY and it is applied.

All you need is love – and the know-how to capture affection in your photos.

One of the big challenges in portrait photography is capturing the elusive aspects of life: feelings, smells, and experiences. It’s difficult because a photograph is limited to two dimensions and a single point in time. It only captures what we can see, but we often want it to do more than that.

To make a good photograph, we want to be able to share a sensation or an experience. Fortunately for us, it’s not completely impossible.

One of the great things about humans is that we have a pretty amazing imagination. We can feel the texture of fur just by seeing a photo of it, we can almost smell the sea when we see an evocative picture of it. The challenge is to take a photograph that’s good enough to make the viewer feel what you want them to.

In this article, I want to share some tips that can help you capture one of those elusive things – affection. I hope you enjoy the ride!

What is...

Even though I focus on weddings, I still do family sessions. Most of these are clients from when I started as a family photographer and I have built a relationship with over the years as well friends that they send my way. I find it a great privilege to see their children grow up and capture moments with them year after year.

But let’s face it, this doesn’t happen every month or every six months even. I am not there often enough to capture milestones or fleeting moments. Most of these are annual sessions where the family wants to document a point in their lives once a year. For this reason, I love and encourage lifestyle photo sessions so it feels like a series of snapshots of their daily lives are captured in a relaxed vibe.

What is a lifestyle photo session?

When I first mentioned this to my husband, he said he didn’t have a clue about what that even meant. A lifestyle photo session is one that is relaxed and focused on capturing moments and expressions, day-to-day activities and normal life scenarios, and nothing is too posed. Relaxed, candid shots, fun shots. Think less looking (at the camera) and more doing (action).

The portrait and headshot industry in photography is likely the craft’s most popular niche. As such, it isn’t a stretch to say that there is a multitude of headshot and portrait photographers in every state and country. So, you need to find a way to stand out from the herd. The Westcott Eyelighter is one such way to differentiate from the masses, a unique reflector unlike any other I’ve seen before.

What is the Westcott Eyelighter?

Much like the name implies, the Westcott Eyelighter is curved to mimic the shape of the human eye and illuminate the bottom part of the iris (something that many photographers tend to add in post-production). The eyes are the windows to the soul, and often the very first thing most viewers notice about an image. This highlight creates an eye-catching image (no pun intended).

As all working photographers understand, the more time you spend in front of a computer screen is less time out there shooting. So taking advantage of a tool that creates a commonly edited effect is grand. This product certainly diminishes the time spent at the computer.

Nighttime photography offers the opportunity to observe and photograph some great astronomical subjects including the moon (as a whole or during different phases), stars, the Milky Way and even celestial events such as the Northern Lights. If you are new to night photography or want to improve your shots, here are 5 tips to help you on your way:

1. Decide on a subject

Capturing beautiful images at night is not as easy as you might think and camera techniques and settings differ greatly to photographing during the day. Turning up to a location in darkness and hoping to shoot as you would in the daytime can lead to disappointment. You won’t be able to see much by nightfall and finding a scene to shoot will be extremely challenging.

Whether your dream night shoot is to photograph the stars, the moon, meteors or the Milky Way, for example, decide on a subject first and then where you would like to shoot it.

It may seem obvious, but if you want to photograph the moon, there are different phases of the moon to consider.

You also need to be aware of the changes in light that can occur with a full...

Whether you are an amateur taking photos with your smartphone or a pro using a DSLR, if you make digital photographs, you do chimping. It doesn’t matter if you’ve heard the term or not it could be hurting your photographic practice so keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of chimping and how to use it (or stop using it) to your advantage.

What is chimping?

There’s no doubt that digital photography has many advantages. One of them is being able to see the result of your shot immediately instead of having to wait until you got your film developed. This practice is commonly known as chimping, since Bryan Peterson coined the term and it became popular.

However, it’s not all good. If used without much thought you may not be taking full advantage of it or even worse, it could be working against you.

So, chimping is simply the act of checking your images on your camera’s LCD screen. It doesn’t necessarily imply what you do after that. You may delete some photos, you may do some adjustments to your settings for the following shots or you may even stop taking any more photos because you’re satisfied with what you’ve got. That’s where it gets tricky.

Pros and Cons of Chimping Pro #1

If you change the conditions dramatically and need to...

In this article, you’ll learn how to use tone curves in Lightroom to make color adjustments to your images and bring your visions to life.

Color and RAW format

If you photograph in RAW file format, you know that the images straight out of the camera are often a bit flat compared to photographing in JPEG format. Most RAW images require some sort of editing to make them look close to how you envision the scene when you took the shot.

Adjusting color in an image is a very powerful component in editing and can really make an image go from okay to wow when done correctly. Of course, it goes without saying that too much color and the image will appear unreal.

Lightroom color adjustment options

Whether you photograph in RAW or JPEG, Lightroom is one of the many editing software you can use to bring out the color in your images. Even within Lightroom, there are multiple ways to edit your image based on the look you want to create.

To understand how to edit the color, you need to first understand color in an image and how it is affected. One of the main things that impacts color in an image is the quality of the exposure. Apart from the exposure,...

It’s time to dig out your widest lens. If you don’t have a super wide-angle maybe you can rent or borrow one from a friend or go out shooting with a group and share one. Or buy one for your mobile phone even! Think outside the box about how you can shoot super-wide.

Canon 5D Classic, ISO 100, 15mm fisheye lens, f/22, 1/8th second.

Need some tips or ideas – here are some for you:

Weekly Photography Challenge – Super-Wide

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge. Sometimes it takes a while for an image to appear so be patient and try not to post the same image twice.

Share in the dPS Facebook Group

You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as...

Are you making these 7 mistakes with your camera? Let’s find out.

7 Ways You’re Using Your Camera Wrong

Here’s a recap and links to some dPS articles to help you avoid making these mistakes with your camera.

  1. Holding your camera the wrong way – Cheat Sheet: How to Hold a Camera
  2. Not cleaning your lens – Step by Step How to Clean Camera Gear so it Stays in Good Shape
  3. Not having enough batteries or memory cards – Packing your Bags for a Photo Shoot and How to Select the Right Camera Memory Card
  4.  Not adjusting your focus point – Understanding the Focus and Recompose Technique and Getting Sharper Images – an Understanding of Focus Modes
  5. Shooting in full Automatic or the wrong mode – Getting off Auto – Manual, Aperture, and Shutter Priority modes explained
  6. Don’t use Auto White Balance – How Auto White Balance Can Hinder Your Photography
  7. Not shooting in RAW – Tips for Choosing Between RAW Versus JPEG File Format and Is Shooting RAW+JPEG the Best of Both Worlds? and finally, RAW Versus JPG – Why You Might Want to Shoot in RAW Format

Are you guilty of making any of those camera errors?

Can you think of any other common camera mistakes that beginners need to avoid? If so, please join in the discussion and post them in the comments area below.

The post Are You Using Your Camera Wrong? 7 Errors You Need to Avoid appeared first on Digital Photography School.

A short drive from my home north of Fairbanks, Alaska lies a small wetland. It’s a bog-like mosaic of ponds and water-filled inlets lined with cattails and thickly growing willows. Though much of the year, here in the sub-arctic, the ponds are frozen with a thick layer of ice, during our brief summers the wetland comes alive with birds.

From mid-May until late June, I try to stop by for an hour or so each morning, camera in hand. In reality, an hour is not enough for photographing birds and wildlife, but I know the place well, and can quickly move into the most promising locations. Knowing a place is actually one of the best tools a wildlife photographer can have at their disposal. But there is more to it.

This is one of my most-published bird photos. Rusty Blackbirds are a species of conservation concern, and they are common breeders at my local wetland. Images of them in their breeding plumage are relatively rare, so this photo has been in demand. Know your area and the species that live there! Photographing birds and wildlife

Bird photography has exploded in popularity in recent years. As high-quality, super telephoto lenses have become more affordable, wildlife photography has grown approachable. No...

Are you someone who shies away from photographing people?

I this article, I want to share with you some of my journey and four tips to help you become more confident photographing people. I went from being fearful of photographing people to absolutely loving it.

She’s holding the same camera and lens I used to take the next photo in this article. The fear is real

Many photographers who join our workshops tell us they find it a real challenge to photograph people. Whether it’s people they know or complete strangers, so many people struggle to photograph others. I think this my be one reason selfies have become so popular.

When I bought my first camera I was 19 years old and very shy. I had a small group of friends and a few places I enjoyed socializing. But beyond that, I preferred not to interact with others. I loved taking photos – landscapes, flowers, still life, but not people. I could not bring myself to do it.

My sister encouraged me. She said she loved my photos, but they would be better if there were people in them. So I started photographing her.

Abstract photography, otherwise known as non-objective, conceptual, or experimental photography, is a tricky subject. According to Wikipedia, abstract photography is “a means of depicting a visual image that does not have an immediate association with the object world and has been crafted through the use of photographic equipment processes or materials”.

So basically, abstract photography is image-making that doesn’t aim to represent reality but rather visually explores the components that construct conventional subject matter.

To seek out abstract photography in any opportunity, you must shift your focus away from describing the world in a literal way, focusing on line, shape, form, space, color, contrast, pattern and texture instead. These elements come together to create an image that explores the way you appreciate your visual environment.

Here are a few tips to finding opportunities for abstract photography, wherever you are!


Previsualization in photography is a skill where a photographer “sees” the outcome of an image before it is taken. By breaking down a potential image in your mind’s eye, you can dissect a scene, prioritizing the best possible visual results.

This is especially useful in abstract photography, where the outcome of a photograph sometimes isn’t immediately obvious.

Previsualizing will help you make the most of any potential photographic opportunity. Imagine encountering a fence for example. You could easily photograph the fence line and move on,...

Don’t make these 5 crucial mistakes when photographing clients!

Over the years I have read dozens of articles explaining tips, tricks, and things to keep in mind for successful photo sessions. As I was wrapping up a family shoot recently I started to think about the situation from the opposite end of the spectrum. Kind of as a way of giving some advice to my younger self or other photographers who might still be honing their craft.

So instead of five tips to try here, are five things you should never do if you want your photo sessions with clients to run smoothly.

Mistake #1 – Not showing up on time

This one is a bit of a carryover from my childhood and is based on a lesson my dad taught me at a very young age. Whether my siblings and I were going to church, to school, or even just to a friend’s house he would repeatedly stress that we ought to arrive at our destination at least 10 minutes early. If we show up on time, he reminded us over and over again, we’re already late.

That might have been a bit of an oversimplification but the lesson still sticks with me to this day. It’s also one that is especially true when it comes to photographing clients.

If you...

Micro four-thirds (MFT) cameras have been on the market for 10 years now and have grown to be a preferred option for professionals and amateurs alike. The small camera bodies (you might even say tiny) house high-quality features including high dynamic range, high ISO sensitivity, and 16mp (or greater) sensors.

As the MFT format has gained popularity a range of professional-quality lenses has also been developed. I have been shooting the Olympus Em5 and Em5II since they came on the market in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Throughout my travels shooting wildlife across the U.S., I have been shooting this system with great results.

There are many aspects that micro four-thirds cameras great for wildlife as well as a few drawbacks. I will walk you through my impressions of this system for wildlife photography, both the pros and the cons.

I took this image of bubble-net feeding Humpback Whales with an Olympus OMD E-M5. All of the images featured in this article were captured using the MFT system. Intrinsic Advantages (Pros)

The micro four-thirds system has some advantages for wildlife photographers due to the nature of its sensor and technology. These “intrinsic advantages” as I’m calling them are inherent to the system and can assist in your wildlife photography. In the next few sections, I...

A well-processed photograph should be just like a good haircut. That’s one of my favorite analogies when it comes to explaining my approach to editing my own photographs. Not only does it confuse people and make them think I’m weird but it is also incredibly accurate when it comes to processing realistic landscape photographs.

What I mean is that when an image is well-processed the viewer will know something has been changed while not being overly apparent and in the end, they like what they see. Just like a good haircut.

Before we get further into this, I want to go on record and say that in my opinion there is no “correct” way to process any photograph. So the tips you’re about to learn here come from my own creative tastes and style for landscapes which lean towards an “enhanced” realism but solidly anchored in reality nonetheless.

Now, let’s talk about some ways you can give your landscapes a good haircut and push your processing right up to the boundaries of realism without tipping over the edge.

#1 – Directional Light

Photography is all about light and in landscape photography, 99% of the time the only light source in your compositions will be the sun, or in some cases the moon, which is just reflected sunlight (science).

Sunlight comes...