Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

6 Helpful Tips for Doing Interior Architecture Photography

28 Jul

Shooting interior architecture photography can be challenging to get just right. Here are six tips to help you have more success with this type of photography.

Interior architecture tips 01

21mm focal length, f/11, ISO 100, 1/200th. One off-camera flash used.

1) Always use a tripod

There are two main reasons why you always want to use a tripod for architecture photography.

First, a tripod will perfectly stabilize your camera/lens setup, which fully mitigates any possibility of motion blur from hand-holding the camera. Additionally, if you’re on a tripod, it’s much easier to make sure your camera is level (I’ll discuss the importance of a level camera later in this article).

Secondly, there’s no good reason NOT to use a tripod (I follow the general rule that, unless there’s a good reason not to have a tripod, I always use one). If you were tracking subjects which required quick movement and recomposition, then a tripod would be a hindrance. But, for architecture photography, your composition will always sit nice and still for you, giving you all the time in the world to set the shot up right. The ideal situation for a tripod.

Interior architecture tips 02

21mm focal length, f/11, ISO 100, 1/120th. One off-camera flash used.

2) Whenever possible, use a flash

If you shoot a room indoors without a flash, you will typically get shadows scattered around the room. Using a flash for interior architecture will help balance the exposure across the entire frame.

This is how I typically use a flash. Put the flash on a tripod or a stand, and place it a few feet away from the camera (on each side of the camera if you use two flashes for larger rooms), and a foot or so behind the camera. Aim the flashes so they are pointing up at the ceiling, but also slightly away from the room you’re shooting. At this angle, the light from the flashes will illuminate the room indirectly (i.e. bouncing off the ceiling and walls), creating a soft, even, fill-in light for the room you’re shooting. Set the flashes manually at half power (one stop below full power) and fire away!

Interior architecture tips 03

This was a tricky shot because my flash was reflecting off the windows no matter where I positioned it. So I took two shots (one with flash and one without) and masked them together in Photoshop. The windows you see in this image are from the shot without a flash, while the rest of the room is from the shot with the flash.

3) When shooting whole rooms, don’t get too wide

When I first started taking practice photos of architectural photography, I used the widest angle lens I could get my hands on to shoot entire rooms. My thinking was that with an ultra-wide lens, I could get more of the room in the frame. But more isn’t always better. I quickly noticed the high level of distortion towards the edges of the frame, especially in smaller rooms where the edges of the frame were at wide angles to the camera.

So, I experimented with different focal lengths and came to the conclusion that between 21mm and 28mm gives you the most practical balance between limited distortion and a wide enough frame to capture the character and presence of the scene. Ultra-wide lenses (i.e. 14 or 15mm) will make the sides of the frame look oddly stretched and off the horizontal plane, even when corrected in post-production.

If you’re in a situation where 21mm won’t capture enough of the scene, a panorama is always an option – which segues nicely into the next tip:

Interior architecture tips 04

This was an extremely dark room, even with all the lights on. So, like the previous image, I stacked two shots: one exposed for the room, and one exposed for the windows, and combined them in Photoshop.

4) Try panoramas for ultra-wide shots

Set up your camera vertically on the tripod (which creates a taller pano). Then, making sure you adequately overlap the scene in each shot, do your best to make the camera rotate on a perfectly level, horizontal plane, with the pivot point being roughly where the lens meets the camera.

If the pivot point is too far forward (i.e. somewhere on the lens), or too far backward (i.e. on the body of the camera), the panorama will appear distorted. For example, in the picture below, the pivot point was on the body of the camera (behind the ideal spot where the lens meets the camera). As a result, the panorama has a weird sort of convex distortion.

Interior architecture tips 05

This is a seven image panorama. See how artificially “rounded” the walls are? This will happen when shooting a panorama if your camera/lens are not properly situated on the tripod.

5) Whenever possible, try to shoot only one or two walls

Two wall shots typically give the viewer the most geometrically pleasant image to view. When three (or more) walls are introduced, the photograph can have a tendency to appear somewhat awkward-looking if you aren’t careful with the composition.

Interior architecture tips 06

21mm focal length, f/11, ISO 100, 1/120th. One off-camera flash used.

The above shot is a generic two-wall scene, with the walls meeting at a standard 90 degree angle. The image below is the same room, except I backed up several feet to purposely include the third wall on the left edge of the frame.

Interior architecture tips 07

The “third wall” on the left side of this shot creates an unnatural and visually-displeasing scene.

I don’t know about you, but to me, the photo above looks compositionally awkward and disorienting because of the third wall on the left. All of that said, just like the Rule of Thirds can occasionally be broken to make a photo work, sometimes getting three walls in the shot is okay – provided everything is geometrically aligned.

Interior architecture tips 08

A properly-aligned three-wall shot. 21mm focal length, f/11, ISO 100, 1/200th.

6) Make sure your camera is perfectly level

Last, but definitely not least, you will want to make sure your camera isn’t tilted up or down, or tilted to the left or right. Doing so, even slightly, will require post-production cleanup. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Interior architecture tips 09

In this shot, the camera/lens were not level on the tripod. They were slightly slanted down towards the ground, creating the artificially slanted walls.

See how slanted the windows are? Clearly, this is not an accurate depiction of the room, it’s the result of the camera being tilted ever-so-slightly down. Now, see what a difference makes if we get the camera nice and level.

Interior architecture tips 10

Camera/lens properly level on the tripod. 21mm focal length, f/8, ISO 100, 1/120th. No flash (this room had plenty of sunlight to illuminate it without artificial help).

Being level makes a HUGE difference. There are several ways to help you get the camera perfectly level when you compose your shot. Most cameras these days have a built-in level, so when you look into the viewfinder, there are lines across the focusing screen that will tilt when the camera tilts. When these lines are level, you know the camera is level.

You can also use a bubble level that slides onto the camera’s hot shoe. When the little bubble is centered, the camera is level. You can buy a hot shoe bubble level at any photography store for just a few bucks. I use a bubble level because they tend to be more accurate than the lines inside the viewfinder.


Interior architecture tips 11

In this shot, I used Photoshop to remove the camera, lens, and tripod, which were all reflected in the mirror. Sometimes shooting into a mirror is inevitable, and when you do, cloning in Photoshop is a requirement.


As is the case with any type of photography, the most important aspect of getting the shot right is to take your time, and make sure your composition and exposure are exactly what you want. One good thing about architectural photography is that the composition and subject will never move (unless you move it), so there’s no need to rush the photograph.

The post 6 Helpful Tips for Doing Interior Architecture Photography by Jeb Buchman appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Three Good Reasons To Learn More About Photography

28 Jul

Photography has become so popular, mainly because of the inclusion of cameras on mobile phones, so it’s more difficult for your photos to be noticed. But, if you learn a little more about photography your photos will be more likely to stand out from the crowd.

Your life is full of gadgets and equipment that can be challenging to learn to use really well. Learning to use your camera will make your photography so much more enjoyable. Photography is therapy. Picking up your camera, making time to take photos, can be a wonderful break from the busy pace of your daily life.

Three Good Reasons To Learn More About Photography - Thai ladies

Committing even a small amount of time regularly to learn more about photography will help you enjoy the creative process of image making. It will help overcome frustrations you may have because you don’t understand your camera well enough. As you study you will find that your creative ideas and expression will come more naturally. And, as you know and understand more and begin to relax when you have your camera in your hands, you will find a personal groove and means of expression that will be unique to you.

So here are three really good reasons for you to learn more about photography.

#1. Create outstanding photos

Most of us love to share our photos and see the response or family and friends have to them. Even more exciting is when strangers begin to show appreciation for our photographs. The desire to have your photos seen and enjoyed by others can be a real motivation for you to enjoy photography. But getting your photographs noticed is not so easy.

Three Good Reasons To Learn More About Photography - girl with elephant

This has become more of a challenge in recent years because pretty much everybody has a some form of a camera these days. Social media has made it extremely easy to share photos and have them seen by a potentially global audience. But how do you get your photos noticed when everyone else is sharing their photos in the same way?

Take some time to learn more. Learning about light, exposure, color, tone, composition and timing will help you produce more creative, more interesting, more noticeable photographs. And, if you think about it, you probably something about these things already, because you see them all the time, but are not necessarily thinking about them.

You can’t see anything if there’s no light. Light is the essence of photography. With no light, you can have no photo. Learning to appreciate different types of light and when some light is better for making photos than others, will help you create more outstanding photographs. You see light all the time and if you can begin to understand it and appreciate how to expose your photographs well, you will create more compelling images. Knowing something of the limitations of your camera and how it captures tone and color will also help greatly in the creative process.

Three Good Reasons To Learn More About Photography - flower

Compose and time your photos better

Learning composition rules and developing a real feel for them will also help your photographs be more impactful. Like with any creative expression, learning the rules will allow you to eventually implement them without really thinking about them. This is when I believe you will become most creative.

Certainly timing your photographs well takes research and practice. Learning to anticipate action and choose precisely the best time to make a photograph, the decisive moment, is a skill that will certainly enhance your photography and make it stand out.

2. Become intimate with your equipment

Learning how to use your camera well and becoming confident will result in a more enjoyable and more creative photography experience. I have met (and taught) many people who own very nice cameras but are not confident in using them. If you don’t have a good understanding of your camera you will most likely become somewhat frustrated when you pick it up to use it, or later when you are looking at disappointing photos.

Three Good Reasons To Learn More About Photography

Becoming familiar with your camera and how to use it well takes time and commitment to study. Because each camera model is different, with the controls in different places, it means you need to do some research and hands on practice to know how to use your cameras with confidence.

Essentially all cameras are the same. They function the same way, with light hitting the sensor (or film) to create photographs. Whether you use a camera in any of the automatic modes, or prefer to use it in Manual Mode, the process of creating photos is the same, but the amount of creative control differs greatly.

Setting your exposure manually gives you far more control over the end result. Learning to do this takes a bit more dedication but will ultimately result in you making more unique, creative photographs. If your camera is always set to one of the automatic modes then the camera is making some (or all) of the most creative choices. Cameras are smart, but they are not creative – you are.

Three Good Reasons To Learn More About Photography

Learning to take control of the camera will help you enjoy the creative process of photography far more than if you have to stop and think about the basics of what to do each time you pick up your camera.

3. Photography can be therapeutic

Having creative drive, wanting to make good photos and have others enjoy them, will hopefully lead you to want to learn more about using your camera well. Doing that will free you up to enjoy your whole photography experience and you can then experience photography as a therapy.

Three Good Reasons To Learn More About Photography

Expressing your creativity with a camera you understand and love is very therapeutic. Taking time out from your busy day, even just for 10 or 15 minutes, to take a few photographs can be enjoyable and relaxing. Indulging in longer photography sessions on weekends or during vacations can be terrifically therapeutic.

I find when I pick my camera up to shoot for pleasure, (it’s different shooting for work if I have a client to please,) I can easily become absorbed only in making photographs, and nothing else matters! Being able to really zone in on what I am doing helps me forget all the worries and stresses I may be experiencing in life and just enjoy the process of being creative.

Narrowing the attention of your thoughts to the creative processes of photography, meditating on photography, brings a whole other dimension to the experience. Being aware of and intentionally seeking opportunities where you can use your camera creatively can help you relax differently than other activities you may enjoy. Watching the news on TV, checking social media, or going to a movie are all things that add a change of pace to your daily life. But a lot of what you do to relax does not involve being creative. Being creative with your camera adds a whole new dimension to life and can be most therapeutic.

Three Good Reasons To Learn More About Photography


Having the desire and drive to want your photos to be noticed when you share them is a good reason to learn more about photography. Overcoming the frustration you may feel because you haven’t taken the time to learn how to use your camera is another good solid reason to invest some time, and maybe even some money, in learning how your camera functions and how you can control it better (preferably in manual mode.)

Once you are on the path to learn more about your camera and about photography, knowing that it can be wonderfully therapeutic, should be most encouraging for you to follow some course of study to make the most of your camera – even your phone camera! Here’s a video for you to watch more on this topic as well.

What other good reasons do you have for learning more about photography? Please share in the comments below.

The post Three Good Reasons To Learn More About Photography by Kevin Landwer-Johan appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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How to do More Creative Wildlife Photography by using Rim Lighting

27 Jul

Wildlife photography is one of the fastest growing hobbies today. With DSLR and lenses getting cheaper by the minute, it is only bound to grow faster. With more and more people taking to wildlife photography as a means to connect with nature and share its beauties, it’s become imperative that you start pushing the bar of your photography ever higher. One of the best and easiest ways to do that is to try out rim lighting shots. If you do not know what that means, you are on the right page – keep reading.

How to do More Creative Wildlife Photography by using Rim Lighting

There are many ways to get creative with your wildlife photography, but in this article I will teach you one of the most impactful. Let’s start with getting to know rim lighting a little better.

What is rim lighting?

By definition, rim lighting in photography means any image where the light at the edges of the subject seems more intense than the other areas. For example, take a look at the image below.

How to do More Creative Wildlife Photography by using Rim Lighting

Notice how the outline of the giraffes stands out? The rim of the subject looks well-lit. Quite simply, that’s what rim lighting is about.

How do you achieve rim lighting?

First and foremost, you need to position yourself such that the subject stands between your camera and the light source (more often than not, that will be the sun in nature photography). Rim lighting will happen in the natural world only if you can see the rim, lit up with your eyes. Some of the easiest subjects for this are animals that have a lot of fur and are not too smooth coated, for example, bears, giraffes, lions, or deer with antlers.

Take a look at the visual below for a quick understanding on positioning yourself.



There are a few guidelines that you need to adhere to while trying to obtain a rim-lit image:

  • Rim lighting happens best when the sun is low in the sky, so try to look for a subject around that time.
  • A dark background is necessary (check all the images in this article) so make sure that you try this in an area where your background is conducive to good results.

Speaking about the camera now, composition aside, rim-lit photography can be done using one of two approaches.

Approach #1 – Exposure Compensation

Using exposure compensation is the easiest way to execute rim-lit shots. Once you have ensured that you are able to see a rim-lit subject just go ahead and try a test shot with a little underexposure. Take a look at the sequence of images below.

How to do More Creative Wildlife Photography by using Rim Lighting

Make note, by default when using the built-in metering system in your camera, more often than not the image in such scenarios (a lot of black and little bit of white) will turn out to be a bit washed out. It is just that the camera does not know what is the most important part of the image and makes an error in judgement (it tries to average the exposure).

Knowing where to stop with regards to exposure compensation is a subjective call. You could be happy with the second or the third image above. Just know that the more you underexpose the darker the surroundings will get.

This is a perfectly valid way of getting a rim-lit shot, but I generally recommend the second approach. The simple reason being that exposure compensation doesn’t reset itself. If you forget your camera is set at an EV of -2, it would mean disaster for the next few shots where you may not be trying to create a rim lighting shot.

How to do More Creative Wildlife Photography by using Rim Lighting

Approach #2 – Exposure Lock (AE-L)

This approach is slightly more advanced in terms of understanding. Imagine yourself standing in front of a monkey with the sun setting behind him and the immediate background being dark trees. Now, do the following:

  • Point your camera toward the sky. Half press your shutter-release button to activate metering.
  • Next, press the Exposure Lock Button (AE-L or * button) which often resides right where your right-hand thumb would rest.
  • Now, recompose your image with the subject as needed and click.

What happens is that when you point your camera towards the sky and ask it to meter from there, it takes a light reading from the bright sky and sets up a shutter/aperture combination accordingly. Let’s assume for a minute that the value came out to be 1/2000th at f/4.

Now, if you press the Exposure Lock button, the camera will lock on to these readings and will not change them for your next set of clicks. So when you recompose and photograph the monkey, the camera uses the locked in settings thus rendering only the areas in the frame that are as bright as the sky correctly. In this recomposed image, the only area that is as bright as the sky is the outline of the monkey, giving you a nice, well exposed rim-lit image.

How to do More Creative Wildlife Photography by using Rim Lighting

Practice around home first

Go ahead, practice the AE-L at home and then get out there and try a couple of rim-lit shots. Here is what you can do at home, before heading out to the wild.

Catch hold of a friend or family member and make them stand in front of a car at night. They should be covering the headlight of the car completely. If you stand at the other end with your friend in between yourself and the light source, you should be able to see his entire body with rim lighting.

Now that you know how to get a subject, go out there with your camera and start trying the exposure compensation trick to get some fabulous rim-lit images. Please share your rim-lit wildlife images below as well as any questions you may have about this technique.

How to do More Creative Wildlife Photography by using Rim Lighting

The post How to do More Creative Wildlife Photography by using Rim Lighting by Rahul Sachdev appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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How to Make Funky Colorful Images of Ordinary Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

27 Jul

A cornerstone in modern manufacturing, plastic is an amazing thing. Look around and you’ll see an abundance of plastic materials used in an endless variety of products. From pens to planes – yep, even modern commercial aircraft are cutting down on weight by introducing plastic composite components – plastic has revolutionized the way we live. And while much of the plastic we encounter is discarded after the first use – this photography tutorial will give you a good reason to hang onto those plastic knives and forks. By using a polarizing filter, some plastic materials and a computer screen, we can reveal a surprisingly beautiful side to the internal stresses of hard plastic material.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Supplies you will need:

  • Polarizing filter or polarized sunglasses
  • Computer screen
  • Camera
  • Clear sticky tape
  • Sheet of glass
  • Tripod (optional)
  • Transparent plastic objects

Setting up

In basic terms, what we’ll be doing is sandwiching a plastic object between a polarized light source and an on-camera polarizing filter. Polarizing filters that screw into the front of a camera are used by photographers to add contrast and reduce glare.

How to Make Funky Colorful Images of Ordinary Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Don’t have a polarizing filter? Use your polarized sunglasses in a pinch.

If you don’t have a polarizing filter, a pair of polarized sunglasses will do the trick. Simply position the sunglasses so that one eye sits over the front of the camera lens like a filter. Keep in mind that the shape of the eyepiece will probably prevent complete coverage of the front lens element. If this is the case, some cropping may be required in Photoshop later. You may also need to do some sticky-taping to ensure the glasses sit correctly.

Now gather some clear plastic materials to photograph. Objects like plastic bags, sticky tape dispensers, plastic food containers, clear plastic cutlery and packaging all turn out well. Basically, any cheap, transparent plastic will work to some degree, so have a good scavenge around!

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Finding good backlighting

Next, you’ll need a polarized light source to shine through the transparent plastic material. Conveniently, modern desktop and laptop computer screens emit linearly polarized light. First, you need to maximize the white light emitting from our computer screen. To do this, download a plain white background from Google Images. Once downloaded, open the file in a default image viewer and set the image to Full-Screen Mode. This will spread the white backdrop over the entirety of the functional computer screen, providing the backdrop for our polarized objects.

Once downloaded, open the file in a default image viewer and set the image to full-screen mode. This will spread the white backdrop over the entirety of the functional computer screen, providing the backdrop for your polarized objects.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Set the viewing mode of a clean white image to full-screen so that it completely covers the screen.

Arrange the subjects

Once the white background is set, you can start arranging your plastic items on the computer screen. If you have a choice between using a desktop or laptop computer, I recommend going with the laptop. Unlike a desktop computer, you can turn an open laptop upside down, so the screen lays flat on a surface. This turns your laptop into a home-made light box of sorts, perfect for sitting your plastic objects on.

Keep in mind however that laptops with touchscreen capabilities may not work as effectively. From my own experience, these laptop screens deliver far less pronounced results. Note: A large tablet or iPad may work as well.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Viewed through a polarizing filter, this transparent stencil is placed on the top of a touchscreen laptop. While the polarizing effect can still be seen, the finished image falls flat.

Workaround for desktop screens

Because the screen is upright, using a desktop computer for this project can seem a little trickier. Rather than tipping a full sized computer screen on it’s back, I’ve been fixing my plastic materials to a sheet of glass with tiny pieces of clear sticky tape. Easily recovered from old photo frames, the glass sheet means you can avoid sticking tape directly to your computer screen, without blocking out any light. For best coverage, a larger sheet of glass is preferable, just make sure that it’s dust free. Once you are finished taking your photographs, you can remove any evidence of the sticky tape with the “Clone Stamp” in Photoshop.

For best coverage, a larger sheet of glass is preferable, just make sure that it’s dust free. Once you are finished taking your photographs, you can remove any evidence of the sticky tape with the “Clone Stamp” in Photoshop.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

I’ve affixed this transparent stencil to a pane of glass to keep it upright against the computer screen. The small amount of tape can be removed easily in Photoshop later.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

In this image, a small piece of the clear sticky tape can be seen.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Taking advantage of the solid black background, any trace of the sticky tape can be removed by using the paintbrush tool with a black swatch selected

Getting the shot

Once you have assembled your objects against the computer screen, it’s time to see some results!  Grab the camera you outfitted earlier with either the polarizing filter or the polarized sunglasses. While looking through the viewfinder (or LiveView Mode) point the camera at your plastic assemblage. Like magic, the boring clear plastic materials are filled with a beautiful array of colors.

Change the angle – change the background

Depending on the angle of the polarizing filter, you’ll notice that the backdrop of your image ranges from the white computer screen to jet black. The degree of polarization you see through the lens is dictated by the angle of the filter in relation to the wavelengths emitted by the computer screen. This means that by changing the angle of the polarizing medium, you can adjust the brightness of the computer screen without impacting the color of the plastic objects.

Simply hold the camera in one hand (or use a tripod) and use the other to slowly rotate the filter around. The same effect can be achieved by manually tilting the polarized sunglasses from side-to-side.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

An image of a pretty shell shaped container I had on my dresser. The polarization effect highlights the stresses in a plastic material, rendering them as beautiful arrays of color.

The same shell container, this time with the filter angled so that the white light passes through to the camera sensor, rendering a white background

Your turn!

Now that you’ve got the basics, it’s time to raid the recycling bin! Post your results below and have fun.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

The polarizing effect caused this plastic bag to take on a rugged, mountainous appearance.

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

How to Make Creative Colorful Images of Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

The post How to Make Funky Colorful Images of Ordinary Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter by Megan Kennedy appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

27 Jul

They say the lines on a person’s face can tell a thousand stories. Getting the photo that tells those many stories is the holy grail of photography. So what can you do to create standout people photography, especially if you don’t already know the person?

The approach that every people photographer takes is different, but below are five questions that all most will have asked themselves. Each photographer may answer the questions differently and yet still produce amazing results, as photography styles are all different, of course. To improve your people photography, take the time to look at these questions, and ask how they apply to you.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

This is a photo of a Shaman from Malaysian Borneo. A connection had already been formed with this man after my friend told him I’d photographed for National Geographic. So we were able to use off-camera flash as he posed for us.

1 – Long lens or short lens?

The chances are when you start photographing people you’ll use a longer focal length. This can be true of people who you know, it’s especially true of people you don’t know. Photographers who enjoy street photography will tell you that using a 50mm lens is best. But the truth is that it really depends on the situation.

The long lens

This really means any lens over 85mm on a full frame camera. The nice thing about these lenses is that you can photograph from a distance that’s non-invasive. This is great because you don’t need to interact with the person you’re photographing, and this is terrible because you don’t need to interact with the person you’re photographing.

There are good reasons for and against direct interaction with your subject, something we’ll come to later. The reason you may come to use a long lens is that it compresses the scene, and allows you to focus in on the person, without outside distracting elements.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

A longer lens was used in this photo, resulting in a simpler photo.

The short lens

This means lenses 50mm or below, with the 50mm lens being the street photographers go-to lens. Using a lens like this will force you to interact with the person you’re photographing on some level. It’s far better to build a rapport with the person than going with hit and run. Besides the advantages you will gain from building rapport, wider lenses also allow more context to be seen in the frame.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

Using a wider lens can improve your portraits. This was photographed at 50mm, and more of the story behind the scene can be seen.

Now, of course, you can get prime or zoom lenses that are both long or short in focal length. When it comes to people photography, the larger aperture that prime lenses offer is a great advantage. Photographing people with prime lenses is, therefore, best and will to improve your portraits.

2 – What technique works best?

There are many different approaches to people photography to improve your portraits. As discussed above, choosing your lens will help. Applying techniques like bokeh can also get you better results. A few ideas that might help you are described here.

Shoot from the hip photography

This means leaving your camera at your hip and photographing without lifting your camera to your eye. How can this be good photography you may ask? Those experienced at this technique know how to use their camera, and can pre-visualise the result without needing to confirm it with their eyes.

  1. To take photos like this focus the lens to a set distance in front of you.
  2. Use an aperture of f/11 or smaller to have more depth of field.
  3. Choose an ISO that allows for a fast enough shutter speed to avoid motion blur.
  4. Make sure your camera isn’t too crooked, although some angles can work for this style of photography.
  5. Walk past the location you wish to photograph, and hit the shutter as you’re walking or with a brief pause.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

This scene from the New York subway was photographed from the hip.

Use the light

The correct use of light will always improve your people photography. There are occasions when natural or artificial light can drastically improve your photo. At night you will need to look for a strong artificial light that people can stand near, during the day a shard of sunlight through a gap in the roof could also be used.

Here are some tips for using light to your advantage:

  1. Take up position away from the light source. You will want people walking towards you and into the lit up area.
  2. Wait until the magic moment comes, and the person’s face is well lit by the source of light.
  3. Have your camera focused on the area where the person will become lit up, and switch the camera to manual focus.
  4. Expose for the person’s face. This will mean the background appears very dark, or even black. The background may be at a -2 or -3 exposure value.
  5. Wait for people to walk into the lit up area, and then photograph them. You will need to wait patiently for people to walk by, into the correct area.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

This man was lit up by artificial light, giving the photo a low-key, high-contrast look. Learning how to use light will improve your people photos.


Waiting for people to walk into the light isn’t the only time patience will be needed. You might have a natural frame like a doorway, so you will need to wait for someone to walk through it. This approach is not unlike fishing, and the time spent waiting for the right moment can be calming. The most important thing is to make sure your composition and camera settings are already set. Now it’s just a waiting game for somebody to walk past. Alternatively, you could speed things up by asking a friend to walk into the frame.

Forming relationships

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

The value of building relationships in photography is important, it will improve your portraits. This was the first time I saw the monk, Cheongsan. I didn’t interact with him at all, and this is the result.

The very best way to take photos of people, time permitting, is to form a bond with them. Taking the time to interact, and find out about the person you want to photograph will almost always give you a much better photo. The chances of them giving you permission to photograph will be much higher, and you can control the scene more.

Once you have permission you then have the choice between a staged or candid photo, since you can ask the person to ignore you when you are shooting. The chance to get a great photo that you can share with them can form a lasting connection with you as a photographer. The level of interaction also depends on time, whether it’s 30 minutes or several hours. The types of photos you may get if you’re able to revisit the person on several occasions will also improve dramatically.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

The next time I saw Cheongsan, I made the effort to approach him. As a result, he let me take this photo and gave me a business card.

3 – Do you ask for permission?

When the person you’re photographing is your friend or a model, then in most cases asking permission would not be needed, and indeed might be strange to ask. Photographing a stranger is a different proposition though, so to ask or not to ask, that is the question.

There is no one correct answer to this conundrum, but certain situations may dictate your actions. If you want a truly natural moment, with no hint of a staged photos then you’ll want to try and avoid asking permission. The caveat to that statement is that if you have time to build a friendship with those people you wish to photograph in a natural way this is also possible, after getting permission to take the photograph.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

The next time I visited Cheongsan, I had contacted him ahead of time and asked if I could take some photos of him. You will improve your people photography even more by setting up a shoot with someone.

Asking permission is the polite thing to do, and will often improve your photos. You need to have thick skin when asking people though, as asking on the spot will lead to many rejections. You need to ask yourself how you can form a relationship with someone even quickly to smooth this process, so you’re more likely to have the person say yes. Is the person you want to photograph a vendor, for instance. Perhaps you need to show some goodwill and buy one of the things they’re selling. If you’re in a country where English is not spoken asking permission may involve the use of body language. So perhaps learning a few polite words like please and thank you for going along with those non-verbal cues would be prudent.

The general rule on whether you should ask permission is up to you. When the photo you’re taking is in that person’s personal space, it’s much better to ask permission.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

I loved this man’s glasses and general style, so I asked if I could take his picture. I got a posed photo, but loved the way he posed.

4 – Candid versus staged?

This is related to the question above, but you can get candid photos even after asking permission. If the quest here is for authenticity, can you capture a great moment with your camera that’s natural? This is the aim of many photographers. However, if your aim is to tell a story through a series of photos you should really try and get a mixture of both. On an individual basis, let’s weigh up both the pros and cons of candid and staged photos.

Candid captures

This requires a keen eye, sharp reflexes, but also absolute patience. When walking around taking photos you have to be hyper aware of your surroundings in order to get photographic moments that last the blink of an eye. Photographing split second moments means you need to be utterly absorbed in your surroundings, you need to become the surroundings.

You almost have to achieve an internal meditative state. Staying on the move means you are going to the moment of capture. This means you need to be very quick to catch it. Alternatively, you can find a location, compose your photo, and then wait for the right moment to come to you. This approach can take hours, so you will need a lot of patience!

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

This photo taken was taken in the harbor in Yangon. There is nothing staged about it, I just had to wait for the right moment.

Staged shots

Once the photo is going to be staged, you have a lot of control over how the photo is taken. At this stage the person you’re photographing has consented and will be actively involved in how the photo is produced. When done well, this often leads to a more striking photo than one produced candidly, you are in the realms of a visual storyteller.

The photograph could be a simple head shot, or a more complex photo when your model interacts with their surroundings. As the photo is staged, you can ask your model to stand in the best position for available light, and the background. Your model should be well lit, with the eyes illuminated by the light in the frame. If you have off-camera flash with you, you might even consider using this to really improve your portraits.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

In this photo, I asked the lady if she would pose for me. After getting permission, I was able to set up the photo and use off-camera flash to light her face.

5 – Where should you take people photos?

The answer to that is anywhere there are people, which is more or less everywhere. You can also choose a location to visit such as a market. Below are a few ideas you can try, though you may have some better ideas specific to where you live.

  • The market – This is the stock location for many people wanting to take people photos. There will always be people at the market. You can take photos of the vendors, customers, or the vendors and customers interacting. The downside is the people working in the market may not like yet another photographer take photos of them. This is where building relationships with the people in the market can help.
  • Public transport – A great reason to avoid the taxi, and leave your car at home. Getting on public transport is a great way to explore a location, and the people there. Be aware that in some locations you will need to get permission from the transport operator, as well as the people you are photographing.
  • A harbor – Anywhere there is a river will likely have a harbor. The life of people working in these places can produce great photographs. You will need to be prepared to wake up early in the morning to see the fishermen at work. This is another great example of how building relationships help, you might be invited onto one of their boats if you get to know a fisherman.
  • Festivals – This could mean a cultural festival such as Chinese new year, or a rock concert. Festivals will have people dressed in attention grabbing clothes that look great when photographed. You may find people more open to having their photo taken at an event as well, because they’re having a good time, and are often dressed well.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

Visiting places people work can be good locales for people photography. A sulfur mine is an extreme example, however, going to extremes will improve your photos though.

Getting model releases, and paying your model

Whether or not to pay for a photo is another question many people ask about. It is up to you to judge each situation for yourself. Photos being taken for a specifical commercial usage are the types of images where you should pay the model a percentage of your fee. When the photos you are taking are for personal use, paying the model is at your discretion. Chances are you will find someone who will let you take their photo for free, so it’s a nice gesture to send them an image once you have processed them.

Once you decide to pay the person to take their photo, it’s unprofessional not to get a model release. If the person you’re paying won’t sign a model release then don’t pay them, and move onto somebody else. The reason you are paying for a photo is you intend to use it for promoting your work, or for direct commercial usage. This means you need to get a model release, and there are apps available for smartphones that make this very easy.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography

This is one of the miners at Kawah Ijen in Indonesia. He signed a model release and was paid for this photo.

It takes practice to improve your people photography

Now it’s your turn. It’s time to go out and practice your people photography in your local area. Are there any ways that you like to take portraits that are different from this article? I’d love to hear your ideas as well, so please share them in the comments below.

What’s your favorite people photo you’ve taken? Again share your great photo with us, and describe how you went about taking it. Finally, get out there and get some new people photos. Hopefully, some of the ideas in this article will help improve your images.

The post 5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Improve Your People Photography by Simon Bond appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game

27 Jul

Interest in food photography is on the rise thanks to platforms like Instagram and the ability to snap a quick photo of every meal thanks to smartphones. If you’re seeking to one-up your food photography game, you may not need much to make an impact. Keep the camera you have and don’t add any gear to your toolbox. Instead, adjust your perspective and add simple elements to make your dish more natural-looking.

Here are six tips for different food photography angles that you can capture of a dish to get unique shots. All the photos were taken using a DSLR camera and natural light.

1. 45-Degree Angle Shot

This is the most common food photography shot out there: the 45-degree angle shot taken from the perspective of someone sitting at the table. There’s nothing wrong with this shot, as it’s the common view of a dish that most diners can associate with. But it’s a little boring in the sense that almost everyone with a camera will automatically snap this angle.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game

2. Top-Down-Shot

Another food photography angle that is becoming increasingly popular, but can be a little more difficult to achieve is the top-down shot. It’s a bird’s eye view of the dish that can be hard to do from high tabletops or without a wide-angle lens.

This also may or may not be a flattering angle for your food (for example, typically not the best angle to photograph sandwiches or burgers). However, this shot is most effective for showing off a dish with lots of components that can’t be easily seen from the 45-degree angle. It also works very well for displaying a full table spread with many dishes.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - overhead shot

3. Macro Shot

Now we’re treading into slightly more advanced food photography territory. The macro shot is an extreme close-up image that often reveals fine details that aren’t easily seen by the naked eye. Historically, this type of photo was difficult to achieve without a proper camera and macro lens.

However, many smartphones and even entry-level cameras come equipped with a macro mode that enables you to capture close-up shots. Use that mode to get a new view of your food. Below is a sous-vide egg covered in caviar and flecks of gold. Given its small size, it is best photographed in macro mode to show off those small details.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - macro

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - macro egg

4. With Another Dish

Don’t just photograph the dish by itself. Instead, show some scale or just add an extra element to the background by sliding in another dish. When possible, make that extra dish complimentary to your main subject. For example, a burger with fries, or a Caesar salad with entrees.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - other plates

5. Incorporate Restaurant Interior

Besides focusing on the food, take a look at your surroundings and see if there are any interesting elements in the restaurant that might make for a good photography background. The examples below utilize a restaurant’s unique wallpaper and a patio wall of ivy as makeshift photo backgrounds.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - ice cream

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - background

6. Use Your Hands

After you’re done capturing beauty shots of a perfectly composed dish, take it apart! By adding hands or even utensils pulling food apart, this adds authenticity, as it shows someone actively engaging with the dish. In some instances, this action is almost essential for showing food in its best light. Consider pasta or noodles. Oftentimes, it is covered in sauce or garnishes, making it difficult to see the noodles underneath. This is easily addressed by having a fork or chopsticks dig in there and pull up a bunch of noodles. The same goes for burgers and sandwiches. Photograph it whole, but then slice it in half to show a more organic side to the dish.

In some instances, this action is almost essential for showing food in its best light. Consider pasta or noodles. Often pasta is covered in sauce or garnishes, making it difficult to see the noodles underneath. This is easily addressed by having a fork or chopsticks dig in there and pull up a bunch of noodles. The same goes for burgers and sandwiches. Photograph it whole, but then slice it in half to show a more organic side to the dish.

The same goes for burgers and sandwiches. Photograph it whole, but then slice it in half to show a more organic side to the dish.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - noodles

A noodle soup dish served as-is, where the noodles are very hard to see.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - noodles and hand

The above noodle dish being pulled apart by chopsticks.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - burger

A burger by itself.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - burger sliced

That same burger sliced in half and held up by a hand.

In Conclusion

Food photography needn’t be super complicated with tons of lighting and food styling. Instead, you can create beautiful and unique food photos by just changing your perspective and adding a few simple elements to give your photos a more natural feel.

Do you have any food photography tips of your own? Feel free to add them in the comments below!

The post 6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game by Suzi Pratt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Why I Use ACDSee Versus Adobe Bridge for Culling Images and More

27 Jul

Believe me, I have tried. Over the years, I have tried to wean myself off ACDSee. But, like Al Pacino in The Godfather, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”. ACDSee does what I want it to do and, as a single package, and it does it better than anything else I have found.

I use Lightroom as a factory, a mass production tool. I import the images, I process them, that’s it. For a long time, I have felt no urge to look at anything other than the Library and Develop modules.

ACDSee Image Software

The wood shed.

Continuing the analogy, what I might call handcrafted images, are processed in the garden shed, with Photoshop. Pretty much everything else I do in ACDSee.

ACDSee in place of Adobe Bridge

First and foremost, ACDSee is an Adobe Bridge replacement for me. For something like 80% of the time, I use about 20% of its capacity, that is its ability to act in the place of Bridge. I am certain that I have only launched Adobe Bridge once in the last year. I had to do it just once to write this article! ACDSee simply does it better in my opinion.

ACDSee Image Software

Standard file manager style screen

Any of the different versions, even the most basic of them, meet my needs. The screen shots for this article are from ACDSee Ultimate, but my previous experience is that all versions work in a similar way. You would need to work out just how many bells and whistles you wanted to invest in. ACDSee offers a good comparison of the different versions on their website. I am sure you would find that ACDSee is not a challenging piece of software, it works quite conventionally.

This article may well invite some comments suggesting that “such and such” software does that too, and I am sure that is true. Is the elephant in the room Photo Mechanic, is it Irfan View, or even Adobe Bridge? I am also sure that there are even others. So I try others, I give them a go, but I end up back in the arms of the little-known all-around beauty which is ACDSee.

ACDSee Image Software


I tend to be a little bemused when I have heard people talk about having a lifestyle. I have wondered if I ought to get myself such a thing. My reaction is not much different when people talk about having a workflow. Different situations seem to me to require different approaches, and I have wondered if I should get myself a workflow.

The truth is that I am not totally slapdash. For example, if I have been out on a photo walk, there is a routine which I tend to follow. Stepping through that routine seems a good way to look at some aspects of ACDSee. Here is my process.


ACDSee provides a ton of choices for importing photographs, let me highlight just one.

ACDSee Image Software

Import window of ACDSee.

I am a huge believer in the adage that “Data only exists if it exists in two places”. The extension of that thought is that you do not actually have a backup until you have a third copy. Presuming that you leave your images on the card in the camera, ACDSee gives you the choice to make two copies on import and to give you those second and third copies of your images. The first copy can be imported to one folder and the second copy can be imported to another location. That might just prove to be a very useful safety net one day. You might be glad you tried ACDSee for this reason alone.

It might be a consequence of having used computers since before The Ark, but I still tend to think in terms of named and dated folders. Libraries, collections and the like, clearly work for some, but I import to my date/location file structure, then into Lightroom from there.


One of the most important parts of my workflow (Oops! did I just admit to something?) is the culling process. I will take a long time sorting through the photographs, in sweeps, which are progressively more demanding, deleting those which I do not want to spend time processing. ACDSee helps me with the cull in at least 3 ways.

ACDSee Image Software

1 – ACDSee is fast with RAW files

Subjectively, I tend to find Adobe Bridge rather clunky to operate and slow in responding. It was painfully slow to open a folder and draw the thumbnails on a computer with quite high specifications. The same folder was opened, with thumbnails and images viewable very promptly, in less than ten seconds with ACDSee. It was taking so long with Bridge, the images were still not viewable after 2 minutes, that I moved to another copy I have of the same images on a faster, SSD drive. In all fairness, Bridge was then just as quick as ACDSee.

ACDSee Image Software

Adobe Bridge

Objectively, ACDSee is faster at drawing a RAW file than Bridge to an insane degree. I took shot Image A and opened it to a full-screen view in ACDSee, then in Bridge. Then I reversed the process and opened Image B in Bridge first, then in ACDSee. Both ways, using ACDSee, the image was clear, viewable in sharp detail, within 2 seconds. Using Bridge, after more than 30 seconds I gave up, clicked to zoom in, and only then did it become a clear, sharp, fully-drawn image.

ACDSee Image Software
That adds up to an awful lot of time over the years. I cannot fathom that there is anyone who likes sitting and waiting for their computer to catch up. Not only would you save a huge amount of time cumulatively, it also makes for a much more satisfying experience.

2 – Comparing images is easy with ACDSee

Second, the process of culling is easier because ACDSee offers an excellent tool for comparing photographs in close detail. I know Lightroom offers something similar, probably others do too, but none seem to work as well as that in ACDSee. Often I will have a series of four or five shots (or more) which are largely similar. ACDSee lets you put those shots on screen, next to each other, all at the same time. Actually, I think it works best with just three on screen at a time.

ACDSee Image Software

Three or more photographs compared side by side.

The choice as to which photograph to keep often comes down to a technical decision such as which shot is the sharpest. For a portrait, that usually means looking at the eye. With ACDSee, when you zoom in on one of the photographs which you are comparing, all of the shots zoom in to the same point, at the same level. Again, I acknowledge that other software probably does this, but I have not come across all the things I want, working as well as they do, in one package.

ACDSee Image Software

All three shots zoomed in to the same level.

3 – Full-screen mode

The third way in which ACDSee helps me cull images is that it goes to full screen so very easily and quickly. It displays photographs in the way I want to see them. Full screen, with no window border, no mouse pointer. Double click or hit Enter and you are in full screen. Also “Crtl/Cmd+scroll wheel” zooms you in. That is how I want to view photographs.

Then, there are two bonuses. First, a right click option is Zoom Lock, which means I can Page Up and Page Down between shots which are full screen and zoomed in to the same point and level. You might even prefer this to the side by side comparison. The next bonus, which can be useful now and then, is that the EXIF data can be brought up very quickly with ALT/OPTION+Enter in the full-screen view mode.

ACDSee Image Software

Full-screen mode, with the EXIF data, added on the right.

All the above is mostly about ACDSee being used as a replacement for Adobe Bridge. One important thing I have not squeezed in so far is that you can open an image straight into Photoshop from ACDSee. It does the file browser function of Bridge just as well, and a very easy keystroke combination of Ctrl/Cmd+Alt+X takes the image into Photoshop. It is probably the only shortcut I can use without looking at the keyboard.

These factors alone make a case for why ACDSee keeps pulling me back in. However, there is more!


ACDSee Image Software

ACDsee has a good selection of batch operations.

The tools which I probably use most often, and they work very well, with all the options you could ask for, are the batch tools. I find it so helpful that ACDSee will batch resize a number of images, then convert the file format, then rename them. There are a few other tricks too.

It is not part of the batch menu but, at least in my mind, it is linked. I often publish directly to social websites where, again, you are given useful choices.

ACDSee Image Software

Send to …

ACDSee Image Software

This is probably a good place to mention again that I know Adobe has the tools to do all of this. But I do not think anyone can believe that they are as simple to use, and they are certainly not all in one place.


As I have already confessed, I am still in the mentality of file browsers, and that is the format which you are looking at with ACDSee. It has all the benefits which you would expect from such a tool. You can search, play with metadata, sort by different criteria, look at different views … it just works well.

ACDSee Image Software

Full-screen slideshow.

Seems this might be the time to mention that ACDSee does good slide shows too, with some level of sophistication. Full screen, with the toolbar you can see above only appearing when you click on the screen. Most notably, that gives you the ability to change the delay. For more sophisticated settings, you can dig a little deeper.

ACDSee Image Software

Slideshow settings window.


Finally, the part of ACDSee which I use least often, though still appreciate, is the program’s capacity as an image editor.

I do sometimes use it for one-off processing of an image. Some people suggest that ACDSee is a full blown alternative to products which are much better known. ACDSee will handle RAW, it has layers, it is non-destructive … it has some clever tricks … if you do a search on You Tube, you will find plenty of people offering not just enthusiasm, but solid tuition that might persuade you that ACDSee can meet ALL your photographic needs in what would then be a very reasonably priced package.

Read dPS author Leanne Cole’s review here: Photo Editing Alternative – An Overview of ACDSee Ultimate 10

It might seem trivial, but what I often use ACDSee for is cropping and leveling. Without a description of the minute details, it has all the usual cropping facilities, but with the easy ability to set dimensions precisely to the pixel.

ACDSee Image Software

Pixel precise cropping.

You can then place the mask precisely on the image, in a way that I have not found any other program capable of doing. I also like the way it allows you to vary the opacity of the image area outside the mask. If you set a crop dimension and move through a series of photographs, the dimension will also be retained from one photograph to the next.

ACDSee Image Software

A helpful tool.

It also works similarly with regards rotating the image.

ACDSee Image Software

You can rotate by the degree.

I’ve not used anything else which lets you rotate the image with such precision, auto-cropping as you go.

Again, a clear display of what is happening, with helpful options


I love the forensic, hugely detailed reviews which, for example, DP Review conducts. This article cannot be of that nature. It is more a taster, highlighting a few of the things which I find helpful to me personally, and which might work for you too. I also join others in celebrating the underdog, particularly if it is, in fact, a really good team, which plays a good game.

Why not go over to ACDSee, download it for a 30-day free trial and give it a go yourself. If you already use it, tell us in the comments below what features you love the most and why.

The post Why I Use ACDSee Versus Adobe Bridge for Culling Images and More by Richard Messsenger appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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How to Use a Synology DS216 NAS to Get your Photos Online Quickly and Easily

27 Jul

If you’ve read my articles here on dPS about storage and backup, you’ll know that they’ve mostly been about slightly larger systems with lots of space for people who have lots of data in the form of photographs. It’s been a while, so I thought it might be time to write about the smaller system I’ve been using for a couple of months, not only from a backup and storage point of view but from a delivery and sharing your work angle, too. Enter, the Synology DS216.

How to Use a Synology DS214 NAS to Get your Photos Online Easily

Get the Synology DS216 on Amazon

Hard drives

The crew at Seagate have some specific NAS (network attached storage) drives, like the Seagate IronWolf (such a sexy name for a hard disk!) which I have put in this Synology DS216 for this test. The drives are running well, have not over-heated despite lots of large file transfers, and appear to be handling things quite nicely. I’ve gone with two 4tb disks and after using the Synology Hybrid Raid, I have about 3.6TB of usable space.

The two Seagate Ironwolf NAS specific disks I’m using in my setup, 4tb each giving you about 3.6tb of useable space.

I also have a “1 disk fault tolerance” which means that one disk can die, and I still have one copy of my data remaining! I can then swap out the dead one and copy it back across both (called rebuilding) and I’m good to go.

Here you can see the individual disks are 3.6TB each

How to Use a Synology DS214 NAS to Get your Photos Online Easily

And below you can see the capacity is 3.57TB

How to Use a Synology DS214 NAS to Get your Photos Online Easily

SHR is kinda like a normal raid, but a little different… And for those of you that have no idea what RAID stands for, it’s “Redundant Array of Independent Disks” or “Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks” depending on your age. Basically, it means that you have more than one disk that the info (in our case photos) is being copied onto. (NOTE: Raid on its own isn’t really a backup, while it will give your NAS / Storage unit some redundancy, it’s not considered a backup)

How to Use a Synology DS214 NAS to Get your Photos Online Easily

Rather than get all geeky and talk figures and facts about backing up and how to set everything up, I wanted to give you a scenario you might encounter as a photographer, professional or not. I’ll show you how you can really benefit from a little setup like this one, so keep reading.

Real-World NAS use for your workflow

Imagine you’re on a shoot. You’ve set up your kit and are doing some portraits, headshots, or food photographs and you can shoot tethered. Alternatively, you’ve gone on a holiday and you take a load of great photographs that you copy onto your external drive via your laptop while you’re sitting on your balcony sipping a tasty orange juice (the little Lacie in my example). Then after your shoot or your holiday, you get home and you want to do one of a few things…

  1. You want to share your holiday photos with friends and family.
  2. You want to send an album of images for your client to select from.
  3. You want to put either set of photos into your NAS as a means of backup.

Now, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from sticking your drive into your computer and importing your images as you would normally. Then you would import them (we’ll presume RAW) into Lightroom, export some jpgs and then uploading those to your website.

But what I’ve found with the Synology DS216 setup, is that all you need to do is plug your external disk in the front of the Synology and wait a little while (the little NAS has to generate thumbnails etc., and it’s not the fastest processor in the world but it does just fine). Your images, even raw ones, will then show up on your default web site. Naturally, there is some setup required. But for the import process I’ve mentioned above, you only need to setup your rules once. Then when you plug in a certain USB device the NAS will see you’ve plugged it in, and run the rule that you’ve setup for that particular drive.

One example is that I’ve come back from a weekend away with my little Lacie external drive. I had copied all of my jpgs from my GoPro timelapse and the RAW files from my Sony a7ii into a folder on the Lacie while I was sitting around one night over the weekend (having a tasty espresso, since you asked). I arrived home and plugged my drive into the NAS, headed off and get the kids into bed, unpacked my case and then came back to my computer later. All the images were copied across, thumbnails generated and the photos are now available online for anyone that I’ve given the album link to.

But what about my privacy?

You can control exactly who gets to see your photographs through passwords. So you can have an album online for a set amount of time, take albums offline at any point, and allow comments. All of these things are in a really easy to understand menu, and you don’t need a degree in computer science to get it set up exactly as you’d like.

You can pop across and look at the demo album I’ve uploaded for you,  or you get an idea via the screenshot below. It shows a shared album (yes, that’s an out of focus photo of my friend Glynn, great example Simon!) and to Glynn’s left you can see an album called Petey (who is an admin in our Facebook group, thanks for your help Petey!) that shows how the password protection works (type in password13 to see it)

How to Use a Synology DS214 NAS to Get your Photos Online Easily


In conclusion, if you’re after a simple to use network storage system that allows you to quickly and easily share your photographs online (be it for a client or for your family and friends) the Synology DS216 is a great solution that is among the easiest and most flexible I’ve tried. As a side note, you can also share your images to your TV in a slideshow. Great for family holiday photo nights!(depends on your tv, it works on my few year old Sony).

If this was a pure gear review, I’d give the combined gear five out of five stars. I considered giving the NAS four stars because while it’s simple to use, I do have a background in IT and I thought “maybe it’s only simple for me”. But it really is simple, robust and mostly forgiving if you screw things up. I hope this helps some of you and please feel free to ask me any of your storage questions about this gear in the comments below.

The post How to Use a Synology DS216 NAS to Get your Photos Online Quickly and Easily by Sime appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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31 Days to Becoming a Better Photographer

27 Jul

Do you want to level up your photography with a powerful burst of learning?

If your answer is yes – you’ll absolutely LOVE our brand new course – “31 Days to Becoming a Better Photographer” which we guarantee will improve your photography.

31 days become a better photographer

It only launched today with a massive 75% early bird special – but be quick, the discount ends and enrolments close in less than 3 weeks.

31 Days to Becoming a Better Photography has been specifically created for anyone who’s ever dreamed of taking amazing photos – but who is not sure where to start.

Great Teaching, Practical Exercises and Mentoring

The great thing about this course is that it’s incredibly practical. You’ll learn a lot but you’ll also be actively applying what you learn. Here’s how it works.

  1. 31 Easy to Understand Lessons – The course is broken down into 31 easy to understand lessons – designed to give you more knowledge of how your camera works and how to get more control over it.
  2. 31 Practical Exercises – Each lesson comes with a practical exercise – designed to help you apply that knowledge.
  3. Mentoring from a Pro Photographer – All early bird participants also get access to a secret Facebook group where course creator – Jim Hamel – will give group mentoring, offer extra support, answer questions and where you can share some of the results you’re getting.

Access to a professional like Jim would normally cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but when you purchase this course, you not only get over 7 hours of great teaching, 31 exercises to try, you get to ask Jim questions, follow along with assignments, and become part of a group of other like minded photographers.

This course is designed to be taken over 31 days but you get immediate lifetime access to it so you can take it at your own pace – whipping through it faster or taking it slower if you like.

Here’s a taste for the course – straight from the mouth of course creator Jim Hamel:

Enrolments End Soon

But hurry – because of the mentoring component of this course spaces are limited and will only be open for enrolments for a short time and the massive 75% off is only for a short time too!

Check out all of the course modules and enrol here.

P.S. As always, we offer a 60 Day Guarantee, so if you find the course isn’t for you, we’ll be more than happy to refund you – no questions asked.

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Posing Tips for the Groom on the Wedding Day

27 Jul

Wedding photography is often thought of as one of the most challenging genres to document. On any given weeding day you need to be a fashion photographer, product, documentary and family photographer all in the space of a few hours. Of these genres, one the hardest aspects to master is photographing the groom pre-wedding while trying to make him feel at ease and relaxed about the experience, while offering posing tips and advice to him.

Posing Tips for the Groom on the Wedding Day Posing Tips for the Groom on the Wedding Day

On the morning of a wedding, have you ever walked into a groom’s house and felt like you could cut tension with a butter knife? Often the groom is nervous knowing that he is about to be the center of attention, so he may find the whole experience daunting and uncomfortable. Your job is to make him feel at home and comfortable so you can create some amazing shots of him for the couple to cherish for years to come.

As a male, I can attest to being nervous about being in front of the camera. So what can you do and say to make your groom, his groomsmen, and family, feel comfortable on the big day? Here are a few general and specific posing tips that will help you break the ice and build some rapport with your groom.

Your approach

Posing groom 03

When you first arrive at the house, walk in without your camera out and do what you would do if you were going out to meet new friends at dinner. Walk in, say hello, introduce yourself, shake hands, and just be nice to everyone. You’d be amazed at how this first simple step will break the ice and help establish rapport.

Remove the groom from the room

If you’re shooting in a house which is full of family and friends it can be somewhat noisy and distracting, especially if you want to create a certain look with your groom. He may be embarrassed or self conscious having photos taken in front of everyone.

Posing Tips for the Groom on the Wedding Day

So when it’s time to photograph him alone it is a good idea to find a quiet space in the house and take him there away from all the distractions. This way you’ll be able to get the kinds of photos you want of him without having to try and silence 10 people who are talking in the background.

Make your groom feel like The Fonz

When it comes to photographing the groom, or any male for that matter, you need to make him feel cool like The Fonz on Happy Days! If you give your groom masculine things to do, you’ll never have issues getting him to cooperate and participate.

Posing groom 01 Posing groom 09

Ask him to sit on a chair and lean forward with a glass of scotch in his hands or lean against a wall with his hands in his pockets while bringing his chest off the wall. What guy wouldn’t feel cool doing that? Once you have his trust, he will do anything you ask. He just needs to feel strong, cool, and confident.

Give him something to do with his hands

Men can sometimes feel and look awkward if they have nothing to do with their hands. So give him something to do with his hands like buttoning up his jacket, holding a glass of whisky, putting his hands in his pockets, holding a hat on the brim or holding his jacket. Whatever you ask him to do just make sure it’s something he would normally do with his hands so it looks natural and unforced.

Posing Tips for the Groom in Wedding Photography

Always show the groom what you want him to do

Explaining what you want your groom or subject to do can sometimes be confusing for them, especially if they’re a visual person. If you want him to sit or look a certain way, show him by doing it yourself first. This method is called mirroring, and 99% of the time you will get what you want after demonstrating how to do it.

Make him laugh

There’s usually a joker in every wedding party or group. So once you find out who he is, give him a few cues and watch him get all the boys laughing naturally without being prompted to do so. This will bring out everyone’s real character.

Posing Tips for the Groom in Wedding Photography


Once you have built trust with the boys, you will see it come through in your photos. Suddenly everything will be real. If you’re not confident posing or directing men, grab a friend and practice on him so when it comes to the real deal you’re 100% confident.

Do you have any other posing tips for working with groom on the wedding day? Please share any tips or questions you have in the comments section below.

The post Posing Tips for the Groom on the Wedding Day by Andrew Szopory appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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