The Opposite Photography Challenge: Shoot Outside Your Comfort Zone

One way to stretch yourself as a photographer is to shoot outside your comfort zone, and the Opposite Photography Challenge is one way to do so. In this 7-minute video, photographer Irene Rudnyk shows how she carried out the challenge with a recent portrait shoot. The challenge involves shooting exactly the opposite of things you usually do. Rudnyk usually shoots professional female models outdoors with natural light, so for this challenge, she photographed a male non-model (commercial photographer Nathan Elson) indoors with studio lighting. Here are some of the portraits Rudnyk ended up with: “I challenge all of you
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How I Got My Photos Published from a Free Trip to Paradise

February 2017. For a midwesterner like my father, this was prime time to get away. So Jon decided to acquire two tickets aboard a cruise from San José, Costa Rica to the Panama Canal. His original plan was to treat my mother to a bit of mid-winter warmth and sunshine. When she wasn’t able to go, he offered the spare to me. I’d never been on a cruise prior to this, so when presented with the opportunity to get some all-expense paid shots of Central America, I obliged.
Yes, Jon and I packed the same shirts. No I was not
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Shooting Portraits of Sonoma County Wildfire Victims

About six months ago, I created a portrait series titled Ashes Fell Like Snow, photographing people affected by the Northern California wildfires and gathering their stories to share with the world. Creating this collection of portraits required much effort in a short span of time. The evening of October 8th, 2017, a blaze started in the city of Calistoga in Napa, CA. It headed towards the city of Santa Rosa, fanned by strong Diablo winds. By the time the last of the flames were extinguished, the Tubbs fire, as it came to be known, burned down over 5600 structures,
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How to Light Paint a Product Photo Background Using a Smartphone

Here’s a fantastic 16-minute tutorial by photographer Dustin Dolby of workphlo (he’s like the Bob Ross of product photography) on adding a creative background to a product photo by light painting with a smartphone. After walking through his lighting setup and individual shots (to composite later) in the first 6 minutes, Dolby jumps into how he revisits the set in complete darkness and shoots long exposure light paintings with colored backgrounds displayed on his phone screen. Once everything is post-processed and then combined in Photoshop, the results look like they’re ready for use in a magazine advertisement. You can find
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Photographer Cuts His Own Wet Plates on a 75-Year-Old Machine

Photographer Markus Hofstaetter often gets asked about how he acquires the plates he uses for wet plate collodion photography. To answer that question, Hofstaetter made this 7-minute video showing how he has them custom cut on a 75-year-old machine. The sheet metal sheer machine he uses was manufactured in 1942 and is owned by an old family business that makes and repairs electrical transformers. After unboxing his aluminum sheets, Hofstaetter and photographer Christian Rusa carefully measure out the cuts and resulting plates to ensure that there isn’t too much wasted material in the end. After 1.5 hours of work,
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How to Shoot a NASA Rocket Launch with a Remote Camera

When NASA launched its Insight rocket in the pre-dawn hours of May 5th, 2018, photographer Norman Chan of Tested was on hand with a remote camera setup to shoot his first launch. The 15-minute video above is his record of everything that goes into capturing a NASA rocket launch. Several hours before the launch, Chan visits the site, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, to set up his remote camera equipment. Unsure of what exactly he’ll need prior to getting on site, Chan brings an arsenal of different cameras and lenses to make sure he’s ready with the right combo.
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Photog POV: Shooting a Wedding Day from Start to Finish

Wedding photographer Taylor Jackson made this inspiring 23-minute video showing how he shot a wedding day from start to finish, as seen from his point of view. Starting from the bridal party’s preparations to shooting portraits of the newly-married couple after the reception, Jackson shares behind-the-scenes footage, his resulting photos, and his commentary throughout. You can find more of Jackson’s work and teaching through his YouTube, course website, and Instagram. (via Taylor Jackson via Fstoppers)

I Fell Into the Ocean While Shooting a Wedding

This is the story of how I fell into the ocean while shooting a wedding. I was contracted to shoot a wedding for a couple named Erin and Ben. It was poised to be a beautiful day: we had great weather and everyone involved was super excited as the wedding ceremony was to be out on a small island just off the coast of Pender Harbour, North of Vancouver, Canada. After shooting the wedding preparations in the morning, the wedding party hopped on boats and headed over to the island. There were about 100 guests that were ferried over prior
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How I Built a Star Tracker for DSLRs

My name is Gerald Gattringer, and I’m a photographer based in Austria. I recently built myself a custom star tracker for DSLRs, and it works pretty well! In this article, I’ll share how I did it. The photo above is the finished product. You are looking at an Arduino-powered self-made device that tracks the stars as they move across the sky. This is necessary because otherwise you can only expose for a limited amount of time and still have spot stars (in my case around 20 seconds). The concept I used is called a “barn door tracker”. I am
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I Let Hundreds of Mosquitos Bite Me to Get the Perfect Photo

Like most good stories, this one is made of blood, sweat, and tears. Well, maybe just blood and sweat. And clicks — lots of them. Blood, sweat, and clicks… If you have a fear of blood or find mosquitos disgusting, read on at your own risk. As a macro photographer, I am always on the lookout for new spots to explore. One day in October 2017, I took a day off from my day job and went out with my macro gear to explore a new location in hopes of finding some tiny creatures I had not encountered before. As
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24hr Challenge: Shooting 7 Creative Travel Photos with a Compact Camera

We recently gave photographer Nate Luebbe a challenge to test his creativity under pressure: he was tasked with shooting 7 creative travel photos that capture the spirit of Norway within 24 hours using a compact camera. The 8-minute video above shows how he fared. Luebbe was shooting and vlogging with the Sony RX100 V, a premium compact camera with a 1-inch sensor and pro-grade autofocus performance. As you’ll see in the video, Luebbe’s effort came down to the wire, but he managed to capture these 7 photos in the span of that one day:

Photo #1

Photo #2

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Shooting Infrared Photos of Barn Owls at Night

Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas was recently challenged to recreate his photos of African wildlife in the UK. This 3.5-minute video shows how he went about shooting beautiful nighttime infrared photos of barn owls. Burrard-Lucas set up a camera trap in front of a tree stump in anticipation of an owl landing there. The trap consisted of a Canon DSLR modified for infrared photography, a flash with a filter that only lets infrared light through, and a passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor by Burrard-Lucas’ Camtraptions. As with all camera traps, the camera is left in place for as long as needed
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A Film Panorama of Kodak Park with a Medium Format Camera Drone

As Eastman Kodak Company transforms its legendary manufacturing complex, once devoted exclusively to the production of photographic equipment and materials, the management of the Eastman Business Park reached out to me (Professor Frank Cost at RIT) to involve students in learning opportunities centered in a new customer-education and workforce development center planned for the Park. As plans for redevelopment of the Park into a “live, work, learn, and play” community unfold, a desire to document the site from the air throughout the process was identified as a potential area of collaboration. Kodak describes the manufacturing site northwest of downtown Rochester
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What One Photographer Learned from Failing a Photo Shoot

Late last year, photographer Irene Rudnyk reached out to a model and makeup artist for a photo concept she had in mind that featured a woman illuminated by a lantern at blue hour. Rudnyk shares in the 7-minute video above how, after putting in considerable time and effort into putting the shoot together, she failed at the actual shoot. Rudnyk says that there were a number of unforeseen issues and challenges that could have been prevented by being better prepared. First, she didn’t like how the location looked during the time of the shoot — Rudnyk recommends scouting not just
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How I Ran at a Tornado for the Photo of a Lifetime

Today marks the 10th anniversary of one of the most memorable, satisfying and career-changing days as a professional extreme-weather photographer. In early 2008, Nikon asked if I’d test-drive the D700, the company’s latest DSLR camera at the time, ahead of its launch. I accepted the challenge and my goal was to capture striking and severe weather images. I began shooting on April 3 and spent the next month in the field traveling through Texas and Oklahoma. I wasn’t, however, finding the storm I wanted: something extra picturesque over a stark landscape. May 8 marked the shoot’s 36th day and
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Cross Processing Kodak Portra 400 in E6

What do you get when you cross process the most popular negative medium format film on the market? I asked myself that question after having a crossing run-in with Fuji Pro 160, a film that I normally avoid. The photos were out of this world and I wondered what would happen to Kodak Portra 400. First up, I have to explain that basically there are two kinds of films: Color Negative and Positive. Negatives are the filmstrips that you cannot really look at, as they are inverted and orange. Positives are also called slides and you can hold them against
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Film vs Digital: Comparing Processes, Results, Pros, and Cons

Photographer Irene Rudnyk often receives questions about film photography, including from people who wonder why it’s even worth doing when you can slap a VSCO filter onto digital images these days. To answer these questions, Rudnyk made this 6.5-minute video comparing the two processes through a portrait shoot. Rudnyk photographed the same model, outfit, and location using both a Mamiya medium format camera loaded with black-and-white film and a Canon DSLR camera. One of the main differences in shooting styles is speed and attention to detail. “When I’m working with film, I tend to really pay attention to all
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What It’s Like to Shoot a 24Hr Race as a Motorsport Photographer

Here’s a new 13-minute mini-documentary by photographer Jamey Price that shows what it’s like to work as a motorsport photographer during a grueling 24-hour-long endurance race. Price shot the behind-the-scenes footage while covering one of the most prestigious endurance races on our planet: the Spa 24 Hours. “Basically the question was asked, what is it like to cover a 24 hour endurance car race?” Price tells PetaPixel. “It’s an answer I can’t really describe. So we set about trying to film it.” Price says he originally picked two other races for this documentary — the Daytona 24 and
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This is a $10,000 Canadian Selfie Stick

After watching the spread of the selfie stick over the past several years, photographer Peter McKinnon recently decided to try one himself for the first time. But then he decided he wanted something better… so he built himself a $10,000 ultra-Canadian selfie stick. The 8-minute video above documents McKinnon’s journey through selfie stickdom and his custom build. He used two hockey goalie sticks for the stick itself and mounted a Canon cinema camera worth $6,000 to the end (along with a lens, various accessories, and a selection of Canadian flags). What resulted was a one-of-a-kind selfie stick that’s extremely heavy,
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Flash vs. Natural Light: Two Pro Portrait Photographers Go Head-to-Head

Portrait photographers Manny Ortiz and Jessica Kobeissi just did a shootout that pitted flash against natural light. The two each shot portraits of the same model in a studio, except Ortiz used an off-camera flash as his main light while Kobeissi only used the sunlight bouncing around in the space. Here are the portraits that resulted for the different outfits chosen:

Outfit #1

Natural light photo by Jessica Kobeissi
Natural light photo by Jessica Kobeissi
Natural light photo by Jessica Kobeissi
Natural light photo by Jessica Kobeissi
Off-camera flash photo by Manny Ortiz
Off-camera flash photo by Manny Ortiz
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