Subject Isolation: Finding Innovative Ways to Draw Attention to Subjects

I have no idea where I first heard this, but it’s extremely true: “the main difference between painting and photography is that the painters need to work hard to put things into their images, whereas photographers have to work hard to take things out of their images.” Painters start with a blank canvas, and every single thing that ends up in the final piece of art is a result of careful craftsmanship, years of hard-earned skill, and raw intention. The photographer’s canvas, on the other hand, is all of the world’s visual chaos, and he or she must deploy
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How to Overpower the Sun to Shoot Stunning Outdoor Portraits

Taking portraits in bright sunlight has been a bit of a no-no for a long time, but the truth is that you can actually get stunning results if you use a fill flash. The results look awesome and give a high-end feel to any outdoor portrait, and the best thing is that it’s really not too difficult. You just need to understand how to use a fill flash. Warning: The video above contains some portraits that may not be work-friendly. Check out the image below showing why we use a filll flash in photography and the best way to
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Tricks for Shooting Better Outdoor Macro Photos

Want to improve your macro photography game? Here’s a great 12-minute DPReview TV episode in which master macro shooter Don Komarechka demonstrates some simple techniques and setups you can use to capture better outdoor shots. Komarechka’s tricks include examples of setting up backdrops and lighting for shooting things like ice, water drops, flowers, and rocks. Previous articles Komarechka has written here on PetaPixel include shooting high-res photos of snowflakes: A snowflake photo that took 2,500 hours to create: Using UV light to make nature fluoresce: And capturing vibrant colors inside snowflakes: You can find more of Komarechka’s
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Underwater Photos: A Deep Dive Into Prep, Gear, Shooting, and Editing

This article is not about my advice on how to run your photography business with regard to legalities, releases (prop, model, and liability), safety, price, and style, etc. However, it is about what I do, how I prep, and how I take photos underwater. That’s it. Read it and if you get some good ideas and want to try, then go explore and do it safely and legally.

A Little About Me

I’ve always been interested in photography and was hooked with my first camera long ago – a Minolta X700. If there is a photo opportunity, I’m all in
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4 Simple Tips for Better Landscape Photography Trips

Due to circumstances that are generally out of our control, not all landscape photography trips are a success, but with a bit of planning you can increase the likelihood of having a productive outdoor photo shoot. The soft morning or late afternoon light that all landscape photographers are after is generally a short-lived event and being as prepared as possible will enable you to capture it when the moment is right.

1. Virtual Scouting

A great way to determine if a location is photogenic is to hop over to 500px and run a search for your location. This will also
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This is Why Lighting Height and Angle Matter in Portraits

How you light your subject is one of the key decisions you’ll need to make when shooting portraits. The Koldunov Brothers published this 9-minute tutorial showing the impact the height of a light source makes and some typical mistakes photographers make in placing and angling lights. The video examines the problem areas on a face that are introduced when the primary light source is too high or too low. While these issues may be less obvious when additional light sources are present, they’re still unappealing looks that are difficult to hide in the resulting photos. The tutorial also provides various
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Where to Focus in Landscape Photos and How to Shoot Sharper Shots

Ever wonder where you should be focusing when shooting a landscape? Here’s a 9-minute video by Nature TTL featuring renowned photographer and Nikon Ambassador Ross Hoddinott. In it, Hoddinott discusses both focusing and advice for shooting sharper photos. Hoddinott sheds light on one of the main things to trip up a number of photographers: where do you actually focus in a landscape photo? A rough and ready approach of a third way into the image might seem “good enough,” but there are other methods to try too. Hoddinott doesn’t rely on the hyperfocal distance calculation either, finding that it leaves
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Long Exposure Photography from the Cockpit of a 747

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how I shoot long-exposure photos from the cockpit of an airliner and how they end up sharp, despite flying at roughly 950kmh/590mph/500kts through the air. I will try to answer that question in more detail, going through the process and challenges step by step. Hopefully it sheds some light (pun intended) on the techniques I use and for the pilot-photographers among us some valuable and easy-to-use tips for your next night-flight.

How it Began

Back in 2006, when I started flying the Boeing 737 all over Europe for Transavia, I
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7 ‘Most Important’ Lessons Learned by a Landscape Photographer

Here’s an inspiring 16-minute video by Lisbon, Portugal-based landscape photographer Andy Mumford, who shares the 7 most important lessons he has learned over the years. “There are certain tips and pieces of advice that I find myself giving more than anything else during workshops or in response to email inquiries, and in this video I’ve tried to put them all together,” Mumford writes. Here’s an index of the 7 things Mumford covers (watch the video to hear him discuss each one): 1. Tripod (00:47). “You need a really good carbon fiber tripod.” 2. Embrace Failure (02:03). “Failure is
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Lessons from Losing a Week of Photos to Memory Card Failure

This article is about how a memory card failure caused a week of photographs to disappear, what I did to try to recover them via software, then physical data services, and the valuable lessons to be learned about memory cards, dual card slots, and backups to prevent such a nightmare scenario from happening. Landscape expeditions can be taxing in the long days of summer, even more so if you are also doing night photography. After flying to Seattle, I arrived at the coast of Olympic National Park around 11 PM – many view Treasured Lands as a culmination of my
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Photowalk Top Tips

#TravelTuesday sure does come around quick! That means that I, Dave Williams, have a slot for the day to spread cheer and joy. What a responsibility! Well, today is no different and I have some killer info for you right here, right now! This weekend sees the annual Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk land in a town near you, and I certainly hope you’re signed up for one! Here today I want to lay down a few top tips to help you enjoy yourself and make some great images while you’re at it. The accompanying images, by the way, are
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How to Photograph the Back of the Hollywood Sign

It seems that every visitor to Hollywood wants to photograph the mountain with the Hollywood sign on it but rarely do people want to make the effort for a Hollywood sign hike to go photograph the back of it. If you can put in some extra time, photographing the back of the Hollywood sign will provide you with an amazing photo opportunity and a stunning 360-degree view of Los Angeles. The first obstacle to overcome is figuring out just how to get up there. The Hollywood sign is located at the top of Mount Lee. An asphalt road (Mt Lee
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4 Portrait Locations You Can Find in Any Neighborhood

Don’t have the time or money to travel to picturesque portrait locations? There’s like spots for nice portraits in your own backyard. Photographers Tajreen Hedayet and Chloe V. of Tajreen&Co made this short, sweet, and informative 2-minute video on 4 portrait locations you can find in any neighborhood. “Look out for these backdrops next time you go location scouting, portrait shooting, or when you’re just out and about — you’ll be surprised to see how many you find!” the duo says. The four ideas they cover are solid colored walls, bushes and foliage, bushes and foliage, high locations, and
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The Essence of Photography: What You See Reflects Your Inner World

Here’s my favorite quote from Jay Maisel, one of the legends in the world of photography: “If you want to make more interesting pictures, become a more interesting person.” As photographers, we often get bored in the place we live and we want to travel as much as possible to get different and more interesting pictures. We think that it is all about pictures. But I’ve found that for me, it’s exactly as Jay Maisel said: the more I know about life, about people, about art, the better and more interesting my pictures become to me. If I’m in
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10 Rules You Should Break In Street Photography

I went on a photo walk the other day with a friend who mostly shoots events and does client-focused work. The majority of the time we just talked about freelance work, but every now and then we’d see an interesting scene and capture it. We both shot on zoom lenses, but when she would show me her captures, I couldn’t help but notice how zoomed in she was. Every photograph was at around 70mm… I let the first 2 attempts slide, but after attempt number 3, I said, “hey you aren’t supposed to zoom — that’s against the rules!”.
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Finding Beauty in the Mundane as a Photographer

I like who I am when I’m being creative — that’s the basic fact. I love taking photos, just like I love having a long walk through the hills near me in Spain. I have to remember that these things bring me joy. And who doesn’t want a life of maximum joy? So I am going to ask more of myself creatively this coming month. And I want to offer up a challenge to help you if, like me, you are in need of a little push. I invite you to find and photograph the beauty in the mundane. Why?
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3 Questions to Ask Before Switching Camera Brands

It’s been an active few weeks in the world of new camera announcements. Between Nikon, Canon, and Fuji, there’s a slew of state-of-the-art camera choices available to entice photographers to switch brands. As I dug into the details associated with such an important decision, I set out to determine the most responsible way of identifying if making a brand change made sense for me.

#1. What’s The Out of Pocket Expense?

Sounds like common sense, but going through the process of identifying how much I could sell my current camera and lenses helped me to quantify a
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What if All Photographers Had the Same Gear?

What if you had the same camera, lighting and subject matter as everyone else. A groundhog day for a photographer so to speak. If we all have the same gear what would make you different?
Imagine you had no way of visually showing someone any of your work, and they ask you to describe what you’re about, not your genre, but what is the essence of what you’re trying to achieve? —Katy Niker
This quote is something we should all think about and consider when pressing the shutter button. What is it that you’re trying to achieve beyond visuals?
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Do You Know Your Top 5 Photographs?

I was interviewed by street photographer Eric Kim back in 2016, and it was a huge deal for me! I remember when I first started shooting street, his blog was one of the first that I came by. It was filled with so much information, but what was more interesting to me were the interviews he did with other street photographers. These interviews helped me discover so many photographers, Brian Day, Damian Vignol, Josh White. I could name so many. I just remember thinking, my work is going to be next to theirs — again, it was
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A Key to Powerful Portraits: The Eyes

Want to shoot powerful portraits? One of the keys to doing so is focusing on your subject’s eyes. This 2.5-minute video by Light Club is an inspiring look into this critical facet of portraiture. “Leonardo Da Vinci was an early pioneer of the catchlight,” the video states. “Da Vinci realized if you capture the eyes, you capture the soul.” And as the video shows through a number of examples by famous photographers, how you include natural and artificial catchlights in your subjects’ eyes can create drastically different results.