This Guy Made His Own 90mm f/2.8 Lens from Scratch

Plenty of photographers these days try their hands at making their own cameras, but Swedish photographer, inventor, and camera maker Mats Wernersson recently did something a little more unusual: he made his own 90mm f/2.8 lens from scratch. You can watch his build process in the 4-minute video above. The lens is based on a Petzval design that produces swirly bokeh in photos. Every single part of the lens was homemade except for the lens mount, aperture blades, and helicoid. One thing that Wernersson does have that most photographers don’t, however, is access to industrial equipment for making the
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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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‘Collision Course’: The Making of a Storm Photograph

July 2nd, 2015. The weather forecast is dreadful. Warm and sweaty and with a chance of tornadoes. European Storm Forecast Experiment (Estofex for short) issued a level 2 warning, which means that there’s a 15% chance of severe weather.
A chase usually starts out with checking the storm forecast. Here in Europe, we use Estofex for to get a quick update for the day ahead during storm season. The red area with the number 2 inside it borders my stomping ground (The Netherlands). Image courtesy Estofex.org 2015-07-02 CC by-nc-sa
There was lightning, downbursts, and even something that may have
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3 Levels of Sharpening You Should Be Applying in Photoshop

My name is Jake Hicks, and I’m an editorial and fashion photographer based in the UK. In this article, I’ll share a look at some of the sharpening techniques I use in Photoshop to give my images a little visual-pop before I publish them.

What is Image Sharpening?

This is Lightroom’s default sharpening settings as soon as you import your files. You can see that even the default setting adds a little sharpening to our shots immediately upon import.
Sharpening is one of those odd processes that we all do with our images even if we’re not aware of
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I Got a Free Haircut Using My Camera

My name is Trey Cockrum, I am a wedding and portrait photographer based in Indiana. This is the story of how I recently traded my photography for a haircut. I was out in Laguna Beach, California, for a conference I was shooting and attending, and I ended up seeing a barber shop just down the street from where the conference was being held. At some point, the group of people I was with made a bet to see if I could get a free haircut from the barber using my photography services — no one in the group thought
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A Floating Cab, or: The Joy of Getting the Unexpected in Photography

There’s just something about shooting New York City at night. While the city is intriguing and beautiful in the day, there’s something about it when it’s lit up at night. The assortment of lights truly jolt the city into existence. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the gratifying feeling of capturing a 30-second exposure of electrified traffic beams streaking between a wall of skyscrapers. I rarely find myself shooting under daylight anymore, as the darkness has much more to offer me (maybe it’s just the relative lack of tourists). When shooting Gotham in the darkness, you never know what
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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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How to Shoot Sunset Silhouettes in a Water Drop… Without Leaving Home

Photographer Mithun M Das captured this creative and romantic photo of a kissing couple’s silhouette in a drop of water hanging off the end of a leaf. What’s not obvious from the photo, however, is how it was shot: Das made it from the comfort of his own home. In fact, he didn’t even leave his computer. The 24-year-old photographer and engineering student from Kerala, India, has been experimenting with creative water drop macro photos. For this specific project, titled “Love in a Drop,” Das used a Nikon D5200 and 18-55mm kit lens, a laptop for the sunset, a
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This Video Explains All 27 Photoshop Blending Modes in Detail

There are 27 different blending modes in Photoshop, and unless you’re a real retouching junkie, chances are good you haven’t explored each and every one of them in detail. But have no fear, to paraphrase an old Apple ad, “there’s a [YouTube tutorial] for that.” Jesus Ramirez of the Photoshop Training Channel has put together a comprehensive video walkthrough of all 27 blending modes in Photoshop. This is an indispensable resource for retouching beginners, and will probably come in very useful for almost anybody who uses Photoshop. Ramirez isn’t shy about how comprehensive this guide is: he calls it
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I Spent Two Years Botting on Instagram — Here’s What I Learned

In the world of Instagram, there is a practice known as botting — and I hate it. For the uninitiated, botting is the process of tying your Instagram account to a wide variety of automation software, which charge users small sums of money to juice their profile. At the heart of it, it’s a pay-to-play relationship where you’re paying money to grow your following on Instagram. For this experiment, I used a popular bot called Instagress, which I’ll explain in more detail soon. This is how the folks at Instagress pitch their services:
If you’ve ever wondered how certain
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How to Make a Timelapse Video: A Beginner’s Guide

A video is made up from 25 single photos per second, that, when placed back-to-back, trick our mind into seeing motion. But what would happen if we only took one photo every minute, and then played them back at 25 frames per second? The result is a magnificent hyper-realistic compression of time. We call this a timelapse, and I’ve created a video that will explain all the steps you need to know so you can make your very own. I started off in the beautiful Louvre courtyard in Paris, focusing on the Pyramid, and hoped to capture some engaging clouds
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This Photographer Creates Tiny Sets to Shoot ‘Outdoor’ Photos

Commercial photographer Vatsal Kataria of New Delhi, India, shoots big photos with small budgets. Instead of taking expensive cars and motorcycles into grand outdoor locations, Kataria builds detailed miniature sets in his studio. “I started miniature photography as an experiment but slowly and slowly I learned a lot in this genre,” Kataria tells PetaPixel. “My motive is to encourage everyone that you can be creative and great photographer — it’s not just expensive gear and props.” Kataria even tries to avoid spending money on his miniature props, opting instead of make whatever he can using ordinary household things. “I
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10-Step Instagram Tutorial Shows You How to Fake a Double Exposure in Photoshop

Adobe is getting creative on Instagram. Taking advantage of Instagram’s new ability to publish multiple images and video in a single post, they’ve created this simple, step-by-step tutorial that will show you how to create a ‘double exposure’ in Photoshop. The tutorial was created with help from photographer and retoucher Ted Chin, whose talent is indisputable… just take a look at his Instagram account. The tutorial is live on the Photoshop Instagram account, where you can swipe through for a step-by-step demonstration and read the full instructions in the caption. Check out the tutorial below, and then keep
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I Was Credited for an Iconic Photo Half a Century Later

Many a photographer knows from experience that getting a credit line for his or her work may often be the only compensation available. That was my situation when I was employed as a student and photographer at UCLA back — make that WAAAYY back — in 1966-68. My job consisted of photographing just about anything on campus – student government, rallies, “love-ins” and, this being UCLA, football and basketball games. I don’t recall how many games in total I covered, but it must have been in the scores. In those days, UCLA was college basketball. Anyone with even a casual
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Portrait Battle: 4 Photographers Shoot the Same Model

Photographers Jessica Kobeissi, Irene Rudnyk, and Ruby James are back again with another photo challenge. And this time they’ve invited photographer Derrick Freske to join in on the fun. As with the group’s previous competition, each photographer was tasked with picking one outfit and location for model Liberty Netuschil for everyone to shoot, resulting in 4 scenarios and 16 final photos. The time limit was 5 minutes on each shot. Here are the resulting photos from each scenario, and each one has a poll for you to select the winning photographer:

Scenario #1: Pink Skirt (Ruby’s Pick)

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How Sony Mirrorless Cameras Are Made

Want to see what goes on inside Sony’s main factory for digital cameras and lenses? Here’s a 4-minute video that shows how the Sony a7R II is assembled, tested, and boxed up at the Sony Digital Imaging factory in Chunburi, Thailand. Shutterbug shot the footage after visiting the factory, which is located about an hour away from Bangkok and “serves as the primary manufacturing and production site for ALL Sony digital cameras and lenses globally,” Sony tells PetaPixel. “While we were not permitted to shoot photos or video in most of the factory, Sony did allow us to record the
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How to Create a Simple DIY Smoke Effect for Product Shots

This short DIY tutorial by Caleb Pike over at DSLR Video Shooter shows you how to create a great smoke effect for your product shots or B-roll footage—no fancy smoke machine required. Smoke is an intriguing component of photography, but it’s difficult to produce conveniently and photograph correctly. The direction and thickness of the smoke is never fully under your control and that makes photographing it a challenge. Fortunately, this little DIY technique helps you reign that pesky smoke in. To do this at home, you’ll need a simple bulb syringe and a smoke-creating vape device made up of a
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How to Get Started Using Colored Gels in Your Portrait Lighting

There is a progression that takes place in the journey that is our lighting knowledge: ambient light > on-camera flash > bouncing that flash > off-camera strobes > gels. At first it is learning the ways of ambient light (read: I don’t want to buy a flash). As our career progresses we decide to buy our first flash and throw that sucker straight on the camera, only to question why the shadows on faces are gone… along with the artistic merit. Soon after that, we discover a site like Strobist and point the flash at the ceiling and realize our
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How to Clean Your Tripod and Give it a New Lease on Life

Dirt and grime are two of the biggest enemies of the tripod in its natural habitat, grinding the threads and turning even the best of tripods into a malfunctioning mess. That’s why photographer Troy Nikolic has put together a video showing you how to get a dirty tripod back to ship shape. I must say, Nikolic makes it sound so simple, even the mechanically challenged will be tempted to take apart their tripod for a good cleaning… an take it apart you must. As Nikolic shows, it’s crucial that you remove each and every component, brush off the dirt, lubricate
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