Choosing Where to Take Photos in a Family Home

Family homes provide a multitude of possible backgrounds and framing opportunities for wonderful photographs. But it’s easy to end up with cluttered-looking shots if you get the background wrong. Choosing your location carefully can make all the difference. Here are my top tips for different shooting scenarios.

Posed group portrait

For a formal studio feel, look for a wall near a window for the family to stand against. Bear in mind that families will usually be happy to take pictures down to create a blank canvas, and you can easily Photoshop out picture hooks. Consider showing more of the family
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A Beginner’s Guide to Using Lens Flare Creatively in Photos

Lens flare can either be an annoyance or an interesting creative tool. In this 6-minute video, Jay P. Morgan of Slanted Lens demonstrates how to master lens flare for your photography. It’s pretty easy to add lens flare to an image in post, but intentionally introducing it while you are on location can result in a much more natural appearance. The effect occurs when the sun or a light hits the camera lens, creating streaks of light across the image. The first step of course is to remove your lens hood, which is designed to block lens flare. You can
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How to Use the Auto Mask Feature in Lightroom to Target Your Edits

Did you know that Lightroom has powerful smart masking features that can help you target your adjustments to specific parts of your photo? The feature is called Auto Mask, and here’s a 5-minute tutorial by Photonerds University that introduces how it’s used. The Auto Mask checkbox can be found when you’re using the Graduated Filter, Radial Filter, and Adjustment Brush tools. After using one of those tools to make an adjustment to a photo, you can switch to a brush and the Auto Mask feature can help you include or exclude certain parts of the scene simply by painting the
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How to Make a ‘2.5D’ Wedding Video: Bringing Photos to Life with Motion

My name is José Ignacio, and I’m a commercial and wedding photographer from Spain. I read a lot of blogs and magazines in search of inspiration — in this job there is a constant search for new ways of telling stories. The ‘2.5D’ technique always attracted me. I’ve seen it applied in other genres, but I wanted to use it in wedding photography. 2.5D is when motion is added to still photos. There are 6 steps to follow to create your own 2.5D video:

1. Select the pictures

Not all photos can be used for 2.
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A Massive 30-Part Guide to Retouching Photos in Photoshop

Want a crash course in retouching photos in Photoshop? Here’s a 4-part video series that clocks in at 4.5 hours in total, making it a very comprehensive guide. There’s something here for everyone — even the most experienced photographers are sure to learn something from the series. Nathaniel Dodson from tutvid goes over a total of 30 techniques from healing skin blemishes to creating skin texture, replacing skies, puppet warping, and even swapping out faces. Photoshop is a very powerful piece of software, and it seems that no matter how long you’ve been using it for there’s always something
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How to Use Extended Low ISO for Cleaner Photos

Does your camera have an Extended ISO function? Using it can help you produce less noisy images than the base native ISO of your camera. Here’s a 4-minute video tutorial explaining this. Many photographers ignore the extended ISO range on their cameras, or don’t fully understand how it works. In this quick tip, Tony Northrup explains how the low extended ISO setting can result in less noise than the base ISO your camera offers. The extended ISO setting on your camera may appear as 50, L, or something similar. This is different from normal ISO settings in that
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A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Black & White Photos in Lightroom

Here’s a 15-minute video tutorial from photographer Nathaniel Dodson that’ll help you learn how to create the perfect black and white image using only Lightroom. Although titled as “3 great ways to create black and white photos,” this tutorial demonstrates 2 different methods for converting the images in Lightroom, with a third segment showing the effect applied to a dramatic HDR photo. At 1:35, Dodson begins with the first method: using the HSL panel. This panel has a B&W tab, which converts the image to black and white when selected. Because the color detail still exists in the image,
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These Simple Animations Are an Intro to Film Photography

Back in February, we shared a simple animation made by the film brand Ilford that shows how a film SLR works. It turns out that video was the first in a series of many animations in a playlist titled “Introduction to film photography.” Here’s the complete series so far for your enjoyment:

#1. How a Film SLR Camera Works

#2. Introduction to Film Formats

#3. Film ISO

#4. Aperture

#5. Shutter Speed

#6. Processing Your First Film

#7. Darkroom Essentials Checklist

#8. How a Photographic Enlarger Works

#9. Working Safely in a Darkroom

#10. Making a Photogram

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How to Build a Dirt Cheap DIY Ring Light

Ring lights are a great piece of kit for illuminating your subject evenly and creating a distinctive catch light in the eyes. Unfortunately, these lights are typically expensive, but this short tutorial by Instructables user gravityisweak will show you how to building your own for next to nothing. This project makes use of a 12v halo ring lamp, typically used in cars and found on Amazon for $12. If you have a 3D printer lying around (and who doesn’t?) it will come in handy so you can create a threaded ring; otherwise, you can use velcro to attach the light
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How to Blend Exposures in Photoshop to Create a Dramatic Seascape

Long exposures are a great way to capture the movement of roiling ocean waves, but you can take that effect to the next level by combining multiple exposures, as shown in this 15-minute tutorial from photographer Greg Benz. As Benz demonstrates at the 3:40 mark, the most difficult part of this process is aligning your images. When you’re shooting on sand, and especially with the tripod legs in the water, you may not have the stability to guarantee that your images will be perfectly aligned. So Benz spends some time showing you how to align your images precisely using the
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How to Shoot Professional Portraits Using 3-Point Lighting

This handy 7-minute lighting guide from Aussie music photographer PJ Pantelis shows how you can use 2 lights and a reflector to create a professionally-lit headshot. Even if you’re not shooting portraits, the video is a great tutorial on working with light. The basic 3PL setup involves a key, a rim light, and a fill. The key is placed in front and to the right of the subject, acting as the main lighting for the portrait; the rim is positioned to the left and back, helping to add some dimension to the image; and the fill is a silver reflector
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Quick Tip: Composition for Beginners

Improving your composition can bring balance and personality to your photography, simultaneously enabling you to produce more appealing images. And as quick tips go, this 90-second video from Mango Street Lab is absolutely packed full of key compositional advice. It’s important to remember that all of these rules can (and often should) be broken to create added interest and tension in your photos, drawing your viewer in to the image in a unique way. But you can’t break rules you don’t know. The video kicks off with a compositional rule that most of you will know: the rule of thirds.
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5 Handy Lighting Techniques using Foam Board

In this short-but-useful tutorial from DSLR Video Shooter, Caleb Pike runs you through 5 video and photography uses for simple foam board. Get out a pen and a pad, this photo DIY 101. Foam board (or Foamcore) can be found online or in dollar stores on the cheap. Caleb recommends picking up the 20X30 sheets in black and white to get the most use from them. Speaking of which, he then goes on to explain 5 handy uses for the material:

1. Fill Light

White foam board can be used as a reflector to bounce light back on to
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How to Build a LED Wand Light for $30

In this 8-minute video by Macroscope Pictures, learn how to build a color changing wand light with your own two hands for only $30 in materials. For an extra 15 bucks, you can add a Wi-Fi controller and control the finished product with your phone. Wand lights are a cheaper alternative to the Westcott Ice Light, which sells for around $500 at retail. They can be hand-held as a portable direct light source on a shoot, without needing heavy light stands or mounting systems. This DIY wand light could also be used for light painting or other special
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Apple Just Launched a Site for iPhone Photography Tips and Tricks

Apple wants to train you to be a master of iPhone photography. The company just launched a new microsite called “How to Shoot on iPhone 7” that contains 16 videos with mobile photography tips and tricks. Topics range from shooting action, to the horizon line, to golden hour, and more. Here’s a screenshot of the webpage showing the different lessons: Here are 5 of the short videos to give you a taste of what they offer:

How to shoot action

How to shoot without a flash

How to shoot a vertical Pano

How to shoot a close-up

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This Guide Teaches You How to Use ND Filters for Stunning Long Exposures

Neutral Density (ND) filters are a great tool for producing unique photos in lighting conditions where a long exposure would otherwise not be possible. This 7-minute video tutorial goes in to detail about which filter to select for your scene, with before and after photos showing the effects possible. Craig Roberts is a travel and landscape photographer who runs workshops, city walks, and posts tips and great advice on his YouTube channel. In his video he begins by talking about a filter that many photographers already have in their kit bag: the polarizer. This filter is often used for reducing
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