How to Shoot a Professional Wine Photo with Speedlights and a Kit Lens

This simple step-by-step tutorial comes to us from Dustin Dolby of Workphlo, who’s got a knack for shooting high-end product photography with minimal gear. This time, he’s showing us how to quickly and easily capture a professional wine photograph using just two speedlights and a kit lens. Just like he did last time, Dustin breaks it down for us in discrete steps you can replicate at home. First, he set his wine and wine glass on a piece of black plexiglass and lights it from camera-left using a strip box an a diffuser. That gets him here: Then he
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Quick Tip: How to Balance Strobe and Sun for Dramatic Mid-Day Portraits

The best time to shoot portraits (or almost anything) is golden hour, but it’s not the only time. Grab an ND filter, a strobe, and this tutorial by Portland-based photographer Levy Moroshan, and you can capture dramatic portraits in the mid-day sun. Moroshan’s technique is very straight forward, and a great intro to daylight strobe shooting for beginners. It consists of just two steps. Step 1: After positioning himself, his model, and his light the way he wants, he takes a strobe-less photo with the ND filter on and adjusts the ISO to expose for the background the
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5 Homebrew Camera Hacks in 1 Minute

Got a minute? That’s all you’ll need. Take a break from infinite scrolling through Instagram and listen up, because South African photographer Sheldon Evans can teach you 5 fun homebrew camera hacks in the same amount of time it takes you to read this post. Videos like this typically rehash a lot of older hacks we’ve seen or shared before, which is why you don’t seem them on PetaPixel as much anymore, but a few of Evans hacks actually caught us by surprise. Check out the video above to see how to:
  1. Turn a plastic bag into a ‘softbox’
  2. Use
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3 Simple Tips for Posing Non-Models

Many (if not most) of us will spend at least some time photographing non-models—whether we’re talking about a bride, a high school senior, or just a good friend or sibling. Here are 3 simple tips that will help you help them look their best. This quick video comes to us from Rachel and Daniel of Mango Street Lab, who created it as a sort-of followup to their popular Couples Posing video we shared with you last month. After that video, many of their subscribers asked for a solo-posing tutorial, so they roped in Rachel’s not-a-model sister to demonstrate three
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3 Simple Tips for Posing Non-Models

Many (if not most) of us will spend at least some time photographing non-models—whether we’re talking about a bride, a high school senior, or just a good friend or sibling. Here are 3 simple tips that will help you help them look their best. This quick video comes to us from Rachel and Daniel of Mango Street Lab, who created it as a sort-of followup to their popular Couples Posing video we shared with you last month. After that video, many of their subscribers asked for a solo-posing tutorial, so they roped in Rachel’s not-a-model sister to demonstrate three
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How to Shoot Minimalist Photos, or: Stop Ripping Off Michael Kenna

The aesthetic of minimalism is very hard to achieve in a world that is full of content and never ending clutter. As photographers, how do we capture a scene in a minimalistic style without blatantly copying artists like Michael Kenna or Hiroshi Sugimoto? First, know the difference between copying, plagiarism, remixing, and inspiration. Take from the artists you like and make it your own. Personally, I think making a photographic style that is minimalistic your own is very hard without someone else saying that looks like so and so. Over time, however, your own voice, views and ideas will shine
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Photographer Uses ‘Science’ to Find the ‘Perfect’ Portrait Angle

Is there such a thing as the ‘perfect’ portrait and headshot angle? When you’re dealing with something as subjective as photography, probably not. But that didn’t stop Ed Gregory from YouTube channel Photos in Color from applying some ‘science’ to try and find that perfect shot. Gregory decided to try and find this ‘perfect’ portrait angle by applying—in broad terms—the scientific method to a photo shoot. So he lined up a model under clam shell lighting, got out his Nikon D800 and an 85mm f/1.8 lens (set at f/8), and established some basic parameters for shooting 16 portraits from
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Take Better Photos by Breaking the World Down Into Elements

Today I want to share a super-simple idea that, if you can grasp it and put it into practice, I guarantee will really help your photography.

Break the scene down into elements

What we are basically doing as photographers is looking at the world, identifying interesting subjects, and organizing them accordingly. I think the best way to approach this is by breaking the world down into elements. If you think about the traditional rules of composition (leading lines, natural framing, etc.) what they all have in common is that they are encouraging you to break the world down into
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Why Zooming with Your Feet is NOT the Same as Zooming with a Lens

You’ve probably heard it a million times: “zoom with your feet!” This advice comes up almost any time the prime vs zoom lens debate resurfaces, but as anyone with even basic lens knowledge will tell you, zooming with your feet is NOT the same as zooming with your lens. “Zoom with your feet” has become photographer shorthand for “don’t be lazy,” implying that only lazy people buy a 24-105mm lens when you could just buy a shaper and faster prime lens and either get closer or further away—in other words: zoom with your feet. But as JP Morgan points
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7 Useful Camera Tricks for Nikon Shooters

If you’re a Nikon shooter, listen up. Wildlife photographer and knowledgeable Nikon shooter Steve Perry has some really useful tips and tricks that will make your life much easier. Perry has spent a lifetime shooting Nikon, and this video covers the 7 favorite camera customizations and tricks he’s discovered over the years. It’s worth noting (and he does) that these tricks do not apply to the D3XXX or D5XXX series, but anything above those entry-level options will have these settings buried in the menus… you just have to know where to look. You can check out the video above for
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The 5 Best Film Scanners Under $200

Scanning film is probably the least attractive part of shooting film, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect this stage. Nowadays, we all want to share our analog images online, and the only way to do that is by digitizing our negatives one way or another. If you want to get the most out of your negative, then you should choose your scanner carefully, as it’s probably THE most important link in the chain after capturing the image. But picking the right scanner can be tricky. Scanners can be as cheap as a dinner for 2 or as expensive as
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Are You Shadowbanned on Instagram? This Website Can Tell You

Last month, we reported on how Instagram has apparently been “shadow banning” certain posts, preventing a photographer’s content from being discovered by others without the photographer knowing. If you’re curious about whether any of your photos have been shadowbanned, there’s a new web app that can check for you. The app is called Instagram Shadowban Tester, and it’s super simple: simply provide an Instagram username or a direct URL to a photo on Instagram, and it’ll check to see whether the content is still publicly visible. The app revealed that all of the photos on the inactive @petapixel
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Great Tips and Advice for Photography ‘Noobs’

Former DigitalRev host and photo industry personality (do we have those?) Kai Wong is setting aside the gear reviews for a minute to help out the photography “noobs.” If you’re a beginner, he’s got some great tips, advice, and inspiration for you. Kai squeezes a whole lot of advice into just 6 minutes for this video. In all, he covers about 10 tips, from the most basic (shoot at sunrise and sunset) to more nuanced advice (copy other photographers to learn faster). We picked our favorites below, but definitely check out the full video up top for even
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What You Learn from Shooting the Same Product for 7 Years

What can you learn from shooting the same product over and over (and over) again for many years? That’s what photographer Peter McKinnon had to do for work the last 7 years, and in this video he explains how those years taught him to shoot and think more creatively than his competition. The idea of creativity from limitation is not a new one. One of the most common tips you’ll find for getting out of a creative rut is to eliminate options—shoot with only one lens, or iPhone only, or a single subject for a month… or a year. In
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Advice: Stop Worrying About Breaking Your Gear and Just Shoot

UK-based landscape photographer and beloved vlogger Thomas Heaton has an important message for fellow photogs: never let worrying about your gear keep you from going out and shooting. Heaton’s most recent inspirational soliloquy was inspired by a recent trip to the beach to shoot during some truly horrible weather. He says he considered not going for the sake of his kit, but in the end wouldn’t allow that to be an excuse to stay home… and so he went out and started shooting. By the time he got back, his entire kit was covered in sand, one of his smaller
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I Smashed My Nikon D4 — Here’s What I Learned

My name is Brandie Sunley, and I’ve been working full-time as a portrait and event photographer for nearly eight years. It’s been a massive learning curve getting into this industry, and a lot of things had to be learned the hard way. The following story is one of those hard lessons… I’m hoping that as I share my experience, there are photographers who can learn from it and possibly prevent their own heartache and headaches. This is the story of how I smashed my camera…

The Accident

Last month, I was working a wedding with my business mentor and
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The 7 Ways of Zen Landscape Photography

Zen photography comes naturally with an empty mind. It’s both waiting for a moment where light, shape, and dynamics fall into place, and being devoid of planning in advance. Instead of checking the weather online before a shoot, you just venture out and essentially wing it. It’s all about being in the moment. As a landscape photographer, I want to share the ways of this minimalist sub-genre.

1. Negative Space

Although some might disagree, photography is much like painting. I really like the following analogy to help understand a primary difference between the two: A painter stops adding paint strokes to an otherwise
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How to Direct Your Subject Indirectly in Travel Photography

When shooting travel photos, it’s very tempting to direct your subject and stage your composition. A lot of people are very happy to be photographed and even happier to be able to make a few bucks being your subject. But for me, directing is a big “no.” I do not stage photos and I’m actually against this practice. As staging photos is way too easy to do, it doesn’t help one become a better photographer. Secondly, it is the best way you can spoil people everywhere you travel. Locals are very quick to understand that a tourist with a
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3 Reasons Why You Aren’t Taking Better Photos

No matter your current skill level, you could (and should) always be getting better. And if you ever find yourself in a creative rut—as we all do from time to time—watch this video. Photographer and filmmaker Peter McKinnon thinks he knows why you’re struggling, and how to get out. McKinnon’s latest video might ruffle some feathers if you just read the title (Why You Aren’t Taking Better Photos) and don’t actually hear him out. But if you do give him 10 minutes of your time, you’ll realize the video is simply about three speed bumps many of us struggle with
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Why Retouchers Don’t Get Paid (and What They Can Do About It)

I recently saw yet another story on Facebook where a retoucher got screwed by a client. It’s always sad to see this happen. Over the years, I have managed to build a ripping-off-proof on-boarding and payment workflow to make sure I never end up in that kind of situation.

The Story

It usually goes something like this. A retoucher finds a new client. “New” is key here, since it rarely happens with clients you’ve successfully worked for at least once before. The retoucher gets in touch and takes on a project. When they deliver the project, the client either disappears
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