Archive for May, 2021

10 Flower Photography Tips for Gorgeous Results

30 May

The post 10 Flower Photography Tips for Gorgeous Results appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anne McKinnell.

10 tips for improving your flower photography

Are you looking to capture stunning flower photography? You’ve come to the right place!

In this article, I’m going to take you through plenty of tips and tricks for gorgeous flower shots. Specifically, I’ll explain:

  • The best light for flower photography
  • A simple way to create a beautiful soft-focus effect
  • My secret for amazing foregrounds
  • Much more!

So if you’re ready to improve your photos, then let’s get started.

1. Photograph flowers on an overcast day

Did you know that overcast skies are perfect for photographing flowers?

It’s true. The soft light of an overcast day complements the delicate petals – plus, there are no shadows and no harsh bright spots, so you can get a nice, even exposure.

You need to be careful, however. Toward the beginning and end of a cloudy day, the light gets pretty limited, which leads to unwanted blur (especially when shooting at high magnifications). So aim to photograph at midday, then pack up before the sky gets too dark.

Flowers in soft light

2. Backlight will make your flowers glow

As you learned in the previous section, clouds are great for flower photography. But what about clear days? Can you shoot when the sky is bright and cloudless?


You see, another type of light that is excellent for flower photography is backlight. You get nice backlight when the sun is directly in front of you, lighting your flower from behind.

Because petals are translucent, backlight makes flowers glow, like this:

backlit flower photography

Try to photograph late in the day when the sun is close to the horizon; that way, the backlight will hit your flower petals directly, plus it’ll cast a nice, warm light over the rest of your image.

(You might even be able to catch some rays of light filtering through the trees!)

3. Watch out for wind

When photographing flowers, wind is your enemy. It’ll blow your subjects in every direction, which makes it annoyingly difficult to focus (and if you’re shooting with a slow shutter speed, it’ll introduce plenty of blur).

The easiest way to avoid wind? Do your photography early in the morning when the weather is still calm. And a little wind is manageable; just bring a piece of cardboard or a reflector, then hold it up next to your flower.

If you prefer not to get up early, or if you need to take photos on a windy day, you do have a second option:

Bring your flowers inside. You don’t need a complex studio setup to get beautiful shots indoors – just put the flowers near a window and find a solid backdrop to set behind them. I photographed the flower below by taking it inside and placing it in front of a white sheet:

close-up of gerbera

4. Get closer

Here’s one of the easiest ways to create stunning, unique flower photos:

Get as close as you can.

You can do this a number of ways:

First, you can use a telephoto lens and zoom in on the flower. You’ll want to pay attention to the minimum focusing distance (MFD) of the lens because some lenses just can’t focus especially close. (The MFD is usually marked on the outside of the lens, though you can also look it up online.)

If you’re lucky, your telephoto lens will focus close, and you can use it for beautiful flower shots. But what if you can’t get as close as you’d like?

You have a couple of choices. You can use extension tubes, which mount on your camera and let the lens focus closer. Or you can use a close-up filter, which attaches to the end of your lens and works like a magnifying glass.

Honestly, both of these options come with pretty significant drawbacks; extension tubes are inconvenient, while close-up filters reduce image quality. Sure, they work, and if you’re just getting started with flower photography, either method will help you take interesting close-up shots. But if you want to really improve your images, I’d recommend a dedicated macro lens, which will let you capture intimate images without the need for accessories.

tulips with beautiful background

5. Use a reflector

Here’s a quick tip:

Shaded flowers can make for some stunning photos (especially when you combine a shaded subject and a well-lit background!).

But you’ll need to keep your flower relatively bright. So if your subject is in the shade, use a reflector to bounce some light (this will also make your flower more vibrant!).

6. Avoid a cluttered background

Here’s another quick piece of advice:

In flower photography, the background can make or break the image. A uniform background can look great – whereas a cluttered, distracting background will draw the eye and prevent the viewer from appreciating your main subject.

Before you hit the shutter button, ask yourself:

Does my background complement the flower? Or does it distract?

And if it does distract, try to change your position until the distractions are gone, and you’re left with nothing but a beautiful wash of color.

7. Use a shallow depth of field

Shallow depth of field flower photos can look great – but what is a shallow depth of field, and how do you achieve it?

A shallow depth of field features only a sliver of sharpness. So the flower stays sharp, but the background is blurred, like this:

flower photography tips blue flowers with water droplets

To get a shallow depth of field, make sure to use a wide aperture (i.e., a low f-number) such as f/2.8 or f/4. And get as close as you can to your subject while also increasing the distance between the subject and the background.

8. Keep a part of your flower sharp

A shallow depth of field effect is great – but you’ll still need to keep at least part of the flower sharp so that your viewer’s eye has an anchor point.

So do what’s necessary to get a crisp image. If you’re shooting in good light, raise your shutter speed and focus carefully. If you’re shooting in poor light, use a tripod and a remote release to avoid camera shake.

Remember: Even if there doesn’t seem to be wind, flowers always move a little. So if your flower isn’t sharp, try raising the shutter speed a stop or two.

Finally, check your focus. If necessary, focus manually. Make sure you’ve nailed the most important parts of the flower, such as the petals and the flower center.

9. Change your point of view

If you’re after unique flower photos, don’t just take a standard shot. Instead, move around and try some different angles and focal lengths.

For instance, shoot the flower from behind or from below to capture an interesting point of view. You might also try shooting down from above, getting unusually up close and personal, or zooming out for a wider environmental image.

Morning Glory flower

10. Focus through another flower

“Focusing through” is a popular technique among professional flower photographers, and for good reason:

It looks really, really cool, especially when you get a lot of colorful foreground blur.

Like this:

flowers photographed with the shoot-through technique

But how can you create such a compelling image? How do you get a nice foreground blur?

You simply find a flower you want to photograph, then adjust your position until another flower sits between the lens and the flower. (The closer the foreground flower is to the lens, the better the look.)

Ultimately, the secondary flower will become a blur of color, and your final image will have a more professional feel.

Tips to improve your flower photography: conclusion

Well, there you have it:

10 easy tips to take your flower photos to the next level.

Hopefully, at least one or two of the tips speaks to you – and you feel inspired to get out and start shooting!

Now over to you:

Do you have any flower photos you’re proud of? Which of these tips do you like the most? Share your thoughts (and images!) in the comments below.

The post 10 Flower Photography Tips for Gorgeous Results appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anne McKinnell.

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6 Times Photoshop Is Better Than Lightroom [Video]

30 May

The post 6 Times Photoshop Is Better Than Lightroom [Video] appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Lightroom is a fantastic editing program, but should you use it for every edit? Or is Photoshop sometimes the better choice?

In the video below, landscape photographer Mark Denney tackles these questions head-on. Denney explains how he incorporates Photoshop into his own workflow, and he lists the six times he always turns to Photoshop over Lightroom.

So if you’re wondering whether Photoshop is really necessary, I highly recommend you hear what Denney has to say. And when you’re done, leave a comment on this article letting us know whether you agree or disagree with Denney’s recommendations!

The post 6 Times Photoshop Is Better Than Lightroom [Video] appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

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Glamour Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to Get You Started

29 May

The post Glamour Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to Get You Started appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darren Rowse.

glamour photography poses

Looking for glamour photography poses that’ll give stunning results?

In this article, I’m going to share 21 glamour pose ideas. You’ll find a pose or two for every model – and you can also have fun tweaking the ideas to fit your subject’s interests.

Now, some of the ideas below are nude poses – after all, posing for nudes is a part of glamour photography. But if nudes don’t interest you, that’s completely okay; feel free to skip past.

So without further ado, let me share the poses you can use for your glamour portraits, starting with:

1. Lying down sideways

glamour photography poses

This is a good starting pose for intimate glamour shots. It works well in different settings and with different surfaces; for instance, your model might lie on a bed, on the ground, in the grass, or on a sandy beach.

Make sure you get a nice head turn, and pay careful attention to the position of your model’s hands.

2. Lying down at an angle

glamour photography poses

This is a variation on the previous glamour pose, and one that works well with all body types.

Simply ask your model to lie on the ground with their far elbow propping up their head and shoulders. Make sure they angle themselves toward the camera so that their feet are farther from the camera than their head.

3. Lying parallel to the camera with the legs up

glamour photography poses

This is a lovely pose with a more playful result. Ask the model to keep her upper body lifted, with her head tilted toward the camera and directed slightly down.

Make sure your model’s legs are up – and make sure her toes are pointed over her back.

And for the best results, shoot from a low angle.

4. Lying in a triangle

glamour photography poses

This is a glamour photography classic – and it’s pretty hard to pull off.

Ask your model to lie down, body parallel to the camera. Then have her lift her upper body using a single arm.

You’ll need to check a few items:

  • The supporting hand must be turned away from the body
  • The head should be turned toward the camera
  • The non-supporting hand should remain visible
  • The feet should be stretched

5. Body down, shoulders up

glamour photography poses

This is another challenging one – it’s not easy for the model, and it’s not so easy for the photographer, either!

To shoot this pose successfully, you’ll need to ask your model to lie parallel to the camera, their upper body pushed off the ground with their elbow. (Feel free to experiment with the positioning of the non-supporting arm.)

You’ll also need to check all body parts, including the head, hips, and legs.

6. Lying back

lying back stretched out

This is a beautiful pose for outdoor shooting.

Simply ask your model to lie down, curve their back, and stretch their feet. It works great on grass, on a beach, or in a chair.

The model’s body should be parallel to the camera, or the feet should be slightly farther away than the head.

7. Lying down, back to the camera

back to camera pose

Here’s a beautiful glamour pose for a model lying on her stomach.

The upper body should be slightly lifted, and the model should look back over her shoulder. Ask her to stretch out her legs.

This works well with all body types. Move gradually around the model while testing out different camera angles and positions.

8. Sitting with the back arched

glamour photography poses back arched sitting up

This is a simple pose to emphasize a feminine shape. It also works well as a silhouette against a bright background (though you’ll need to get low to the ground to create the silhouette effect).

Ask your model to sit with their legs tucked and back arched. Then have them lift their elbows.

9. The sitting nude

nude photography pose

For those doing nude photography, here’s a simple pose:

Ask your model to face the camera, then cross one leg over the other and drape an arm over the top knee.

If you’re after additional nude poses, try some variations; you can change the hand, leg, and head positioning for great results.

10. Sitting with the back to camera

semi-nude pose

This semi-nude pose is easy and gentle. The model should sit with both legs tucked. Their back should be angled slightly toward the camera, with their head looking over their shoulder.

11. Sitting parallel to the camera, knee up

glamour photography poses

This is another easy pose, one that works well in both indoor and outdoor settings.

(For a different result, try creating a silhouette against a bright background.)

Have your model sit parallel to the camera, legs out and knees bent. Ask them to raise an arm (though feel free to experiment with arm and hand positioning here).

12. Sitting and facing the camera

glamour photography poses

If done properly, this pose turns out amazing. But you’ll need to get the limb positioning exactly right – otherwise, you risk ending up with an awkward, imbalanced shot.

So ask your model to lie down and face the camera at an angle. Then have them partially sit up while keeping their legs stretched out.

This pose works well with all body types. Note that you should shoot from a slightly elevated angle.

13. Crouching parallel to the camera

high heels crouching pose

Now for a challenging pose:

Ask your model to crouch with their knees up. Leg positioning is a decisive factor here, so you’ve got to get it right.

High heels are a must. You can experiment with different feet positioning, but I recommend keeping the toe of one shoe separate from the heel of the next.

14. Facing away from the camera with a head turn

nude photography pose

If you’re after a simple and dignified nude photography pose, try this:

Ask your model to turn away from the camera, but with their head tilted back over their shoulder. Ask them to put one arm up and to wrap the other arm around their stomach.

Make sure the model’s face is not partly covered by their hand or shoulder. For a particularly romantic mood, the model can look down toward her body.

Also, her raised elbow should be pointing away from the camera.

15. Looking over the shoulder

nude pose with sheet

This one’s a nude pose for less experienced models.

Ask your model to turn away from the camera, but keep their head tilted back over the shoulder.

Remember that glamour and nude photography don’t exclude props, so don’t be afraid to add a piece of cloth (a sheet or an item of clothing works well); the model can hold this against their body.

16. Leaning forward against a wall

leaning against the wall pose

If you’re looking for some nice wall poses, start here:

With your model leaning forward against the wall, elbows out. Her body should be angled toward the wall.

Note that you can adjust her elbow and hand positioning for additional options.

17. Leaning back against the wall

leaning back against the wall

Here’s another easy wall pose:

Ask your model to lean back against the wall, head tilted toward the camera and arm up. For a more dynamic pose, they might bend one knee slightly (with the back foot resting against the wall or a ledge).

Again, endless variation and shooting angles are possible!

18. Against a wall, back to camera

glamour photography poses

For this one, have your model face away from the camera.

Ask her to shift her weight to one leg for a more dynamic pose. She can lean against the wall, or you can have her step off to the side (though feel free to keep the wall as a compositional element).

19. Facing the camera (full body)

glamour photography poses

Here’s another pose with many variations.

First, ask your model to face the camera. Then ask her to curve her body in an S shape, twist her hips, and raise her arms.

Ask her to experiment with different head positions (and you might experiment with leg positions, as well).

20. Angled body and flowing sheets

glamour pose with flowing sheet

Sheets and clothing work great as props. For this glamour photography pose, ask your model to angle their body toward the camera. Have her wrap a sheet around her stomach then throw it to the side.

(Especially marvelous shots can be made in windy weather!)

21. Facing away with a sheet

posing in a field glamour photography

I’ve already suggested several poses with your model’s back to the camera.

But if you want to create something unique, try taking your model to an open field – such as a farm field, a wildflower meadow, or even a desert landscape.

I highly recommend you bring a sheet or piece of clothing; your model can wrap it around her legs for plenty of interesting shots.

Glamour photography poses: final words

Hopefully, you now have plenty of glamour and nude poses to try during your next photoshoot!

But I’d like to emphasize:

Each of these initial sample poses is only a starting point. Every pose on this list has endless variations. You can ask your model to try different facial expressions, head turns, hand and leg placements, and body turns. A slight modification can make for a completely different (and potentially better!) pose.

Also, always remember to shoot from different angles (up and down, right and left). Try changing your distance from the subject. Try different crops and compositions.

Because in the end, posing is trial and error. The more variations you shoot, the better your results!

Also, if you enjoyed this article, check out our ebook, Portraits: Striking the Pose, which shares tips, tricks, and secrets for beautiful portrait poses.

Kaspars Grinvalds is a photographer working and living in Riga, Latvia. He is the author of Posing App, where you can find even more poses and posing ideas!

The post Glamour Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to Get You Started appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darren Rowse.

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Notes on the Paul Buff Link 800ws Flash

29 May

The Paul C. Buff Link monobloc studio strobe ($ 895.95) delivers 800ws of portable power, and deserves consideration from anyone in the United States who is considering a big gun for use on location.

Please note: This is not a full review.

There have been several thorough examples already published — most notably this one by Mike McGee. There are many others, from the usual suspects, a Google search away.

Rather, this is a quick write-up of some first-hand impressions, thoughts and features I have not seen much mention of elsewhere.
Read more »

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The Weekly Photography Challenge – High Noon

29 May

The post The Weekly Photography Challenge – High Noon appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Sime.

High Noon, when the sun is its most harsh, when things tend to get very bright, can be a tough time to make a photograph – that’s why, this week, we’re challenging you to share your best ‘high noon’ photograph in this week’s weekly challenge.

Remember to tag your photographs #dPSHighNoon

Generally most photographers will try to avoid high-noon, or the middle of the day, so that they don’t need to struggle with the harsh light (and in some cases, the heat, though from a cold Melbourne afternoon I say ‘bring the heat!’) but when you have a small window in which to shoot and you have to go and make photos, all you can do is the best you can do!

Here are a couple of little helpers on the blog to help you out;

“Bright ideas for shooting in the midday sun”
“3 Quick tips for photographing in harsh midday sun”

The Weekly Photography Challenge – High Noon
Photo by Michael Kroul on Unsplash

Your photograph can be of anything, a portrait, a wildlife scene, a landscape, but it must be taken in the middle of the day – we’re not checkin’ exif because we trust you! Ha.

Remember to tag your photographs #dPSHighNoon

But how do I upload my photos?

Upload your photo into the comments field below this post (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section below this post) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see. Or, if you’d prefer, upload them to your favourite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them.

Weekly Photography Challenge – Looking Up

The post The Weekly Photography Challenge – High Noon appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Sime.

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Panasonic Unveils the GH5 II, With Wireless Live Streaming and Improved IBIS

28 May

The post Panasonic Unveils the GH5 II, With Wireless Live Streaming and Improved IBIS appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Panasonic Lumix GH5 II released

Panasonic has announced its latest Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera: The Lumix GH5 II, an update to the much-loved GH5, which debuted back in 2017.

While the GH5 II retains many of the capabilities that made the GH5 such a praiseworthy camera, it also features several upgrades – particularly to its videography and streaming options, though also for action photography, low-light photography, and more.

Let’s take a closer look.

Panasonic Lumix GH5 II: What does it offer?

The Lumix GH5 II is a Micro Four Thirds camera combining significant photography and videography capabilities; as such, it should appeal to both enthusiast and professional hybrid shooters, though it can certainly perform well as a standalone photography or videography option.

Here are the key features that are identical (or nearly identical) to those on the GH5:

  • The GH5 II packs the same build as the GH5, including solid construction and weather resistance. The GH5 II is perfect for the outdoor photographer or videographer, though heavier than hobbyist alternatives.
  • The sensor is the 20 MP MFT technology used in the GH5, but Panasonic has added a new anti-reflective coating for better backlit shooting.
  • Like the GH5, the GH5 II features dual SD card slots, useful for professionals who require redundancy in their work.
  • 12 frames-per-second continuous shooting (in AF-S) and 9 frames-per-second continuous shooting (in AF-C) promise decent action performance.
  • The electronic viewfinder remains a respectable 3.68M dots.

And here’s what you get from the GH5 II over the GH5:

  • 10-bit 4:2:0 DCI 4K/60p; pre-installed V-Log L for improved dynamic range; simultaneous external 10-bit 4:2:2 4K and internal 10-bit 4:2:0 4K recording.
  • The GH5 II supports wireless live streaming. As Panasonic explains, with the GH5 II, “high-quality live streaming is possible with minimum equipment – only the camera and a smartphone are required…in either an indoor or outdoor environment.”
  • Improved autofocus performance. Panasonic claims that the GH5 II “features high-speed and high-precision AF” that “detects eyes and faces at a 2x faster recognition-cycle speed than the GH5.” The camera also packs “enhanced AF-C, which…enables users to keep tracking small or fast-moving subjects.”
  • An improved buffer for action photography (108+ RAWs, 999+ JPEGs).
  • 6.5 stops of in-body image stabilization versus the 5 stops of IBIS on the GH5 – a small but useful upgrade for low-light photography (and handheld videography).
  • (Slightly) increased resolution on the fully articulating touchscreen, though with a subtle decrease in size.

On the whole, upgrades for photographers are relatively minor. If you’re primarily a stills shooter, these enhancements probably won’t justify shelling out for the GH5 II over the GH5 (and you may be better off considering a different Panasonic camera).

But for hybrid shooters and videographers requiring top-notch recording and/or streaming capabilities, the GH5 II is certainly an appealing package.

Panasonic Lumix GH5 II: Price and release date

You can preorder the Panasonic Lumix GH5 II for a reasonable $ 1699 USD ($ 2299 when bundled with the Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4 lens). Orders will begin shipping in late June.

So if the GH5 II’s new features appeal to you, I highly recommend you check it out (though you should also keep an eye out for news regarding the just-announced Lumix GH6).

Now over to you:

What do you think of the Panasonic Lumix GH5 II? Are you disappointed by the lack of upgrades? Or pleased by what the GH5 II does include? Would you consider buying it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The post Panasonic Unveils the GH5 II, With Wireless Live Streaming and Improved IBIS appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

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15 Photo Essay Ideas (to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing)

27 May

The post 15 Photo Essay Ideas (to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

photo essay ideas

Visual storytelling is a normal part of our everyday lives, but coming up with good photo essay ideas can be challenging. So in this article, I want to share some topics you can use to create interesting, compelling photo essays.

A single, strong photograph can convey a lot of information about its subject – but sometimes we have topics that require more than one image to do the job. That’s when it’s time to make a photo essay: a collection of pictures that together tell the bigger story of a chosen theme.

Here’s a brief list of ideas to get you started!

Karen woman portrait
Nikon D800 | 105mm | f/8 | 1/125s | ISO 400
© Kevin Landwer-Johan.

1. A day in the life

Your first photo essay idea is simple: Track a life over the course of one day. You might make an essay about someone else’s life. Or the life of a location, such as the sidewalk outside your house. 

The subject matter you choose is up to you. But start in the morning and create a series of images showing your subject over the course of a typical day.

(Alternatively, you can document your subject on a special day, like a birthday, a wedding, or some other celebration.)

woman with a backpack getting on a train photo essay ideas
Nikon D800 | 105mm | f/6.3 | 1/100s | ISO 400
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

2. Capture hands

Portraits focus on a subject’s face – but why not mix it up and make a photo essay that focuses on your subject’s hands?

(You can also focus on a collection of different people’s hands.)

Hands can tell you a lot about a person. And showing them in context is a great way to narrate a story.

people on a train
Nikon D800 | 35mm | f/5 | 1/80s | ISO 1600
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

3. A child and their parent

Photographs that catch the interaction between parents and children are special. A parent-child connection is strong and unique, so making powerful images isn’t challenging. You just need to be ready to capture the special moments as they happen. 

You might concentrate on a parent teaching their child. Or the pair playing sports. Or working on a special project.

Use your imagination, and you’ll have a great time with this theme.

4. Tell a local artist’s story 

I’ve always enjoyed photographing artists as they work; studios have a creative vibe, so the energy is already there. Bring your camera into this environment and try to tell the artist’s story!

An artist’s studio offers plenty of opportunities for wonderful photo essays. Think about the most fascinating aspects of the artist’s process. What do they do that makes their art special? Aim to show this in your photos.

Many people appreciate fine art, but they’re often not aware of what happens behind the scenes. So documenting an artist can produce fascinating visual stories.

artist at work with copper
Nikon D700 | 24mm | f/7.1 | 1/13s | ISO 1250
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

5. Show a tradesperson’s process

Do you have a plumber coming over to fix your kitchen sink? Is a builder making you a new deck?

Take photos while they work! Tell them what you want to do before you start, and don’t forget to share your photos with them.

They’ll probably appreciate seeing what they do from another perspective. They may even want to use your photos on their company website.

hot iron in crucible
Nikon D800 | 105mm | f/4.5 | 1/250s | ISO 1600
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

6. Cover a local community event

A school fundraiser, a tree-planting day at a park, or a parade; these are are all community events that make for good photo essay ideas.

Think like a photojournalist. What type of images would your editor want? Make sure to capture some wide-angle compositions, some medium shots, and some close-ups.

(Getting in close to show the details can often tell as much of a story as the wider pictures.)

7. Fresh market life

Markets are great for photography because there’s always plenty of activity and lots of characters. Think of how you can best illustrate the flow of life at the market. What are the vendors doing that’s most interesting? What are the habits of the shoppers?

Look to capture the essence of the place. Try to portray the people who work and shop there.

woman at the fresh market
Nikon D800 | 50mm | f/11 | 0.4s | ISO 100
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

8. Shoot the same location over time

What location do you visit regularly? Is there a way you can make an interesting photo essay about it?

Consider what you find most attractive and ugly about the place. Look for aspects that change over time. 

Any outdoor location will look different throughout the day. Also think about the changes that occur from season to season. Create an essay that tells the story of the place.

9. Photograph a garden through the seasons

It might be your own garden. It could be the neighbor’s. It could even be the garden at your local park.

Think about how the plants change during the course of a year. Capture photos of the most significant visual differences, then present them as a photo essay.

lotus flower
Nikon D800 | 105mm | f/11 | 1/125s | ISO 400
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

10. Pick a local cause to highlight

Photo essays can go beyond passive documentation; they can become a part of your activism, too!

So find a cause that matters to you. Tell the story of some aspect of community life that needs improvement. Is there an ongoing issue with litter in your area? How about traffic; is there a problematic intersection?

Document these issues, then make sure to show the photos to people responsible for taking action.

11. Making a meal

Photo essay ideas can be about simple, everyday things – like making a meal or a coffee.

How can you creatively illustrate something that seems so mundane? My guess is that, when you put your mind to it, you can come up with many unique perspectives, all of which will make great stories.

plate of Thai curry photo essay ideas
Nikon D800 | 55mm | f/5 | 1/125s | ISO 160
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

12. Religious traditions

Religion is often rich with visual expression in one form or another. So capture it!

Of course, you may need to narrow down your ideas and choose a specific aspect of worship to photograph. Aim to show what people do when they visit a holy place, or how they pray on their own. Illustrate what makes their faith real and what’s special about it.

photo essay idea monks walking
Nikon D800 | 35mm | f/4 | 1/200s | ISO 800
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

13. Historic sites

Historic sites are often iconic, and plenty of photographers take a snapshot or two.

But with a photo essay, you can illustrate the site’s history in greater depth.

Look for details of the location that many visitors miss. And use these to build an interesting story.

14. Cover a sports game

Most sports photographers aim for a stunning photo of the decisive moment – when the action is at its peak. But nailing shots like that can be very challenging.

So why not focus on something else? After all, sports involve so much more than a single moment. There’s training, preparation, and stretching. There’s the emotion following a victory or a tough loss.

These other subjects, when photographed carefully, can make for an interesting photo essay, too.

15. Photograph your pet

If you’re a pet owner, you already have the perfect subject for a photo essay!

All pets, with the possible exception of pet rocks, will provide you with a collection of interesting moments to photograph.

So collect these moments with your camera – then display them as a photo essay showing the nature and character of your pet.

Woman and elephant
Nikon D800 | 105mm | f/5.6 | 1/400s | ISO 400
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Photo essay ideas: final words

Look at the world around you. Consider what you see every day. What aspects interest you the most? Photograph those things.

You’re bound to end up with some beautiful photo essays!

Now over to you:

Do you have any photo essays you’re proud of? Do you have any more photo essay ideas? Share your thoughts and images in the comments below!

The post 15 Photo Essay Ideas (to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

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Video: A BTS look at what went into Hasselblad’s X System’s ergonomics, materials and user interface

26 May

Hasselblad is back with another video in its ongoing behind-the-scenes series, ‘Hasselblad’s Home.’ In the inaugural video, titled ‘The Design Philosophy Behind Creating the X System,’ Hasselblad shared an inside look at what went into developing the company’s mirrorless medium format camera. Now, in episode two, Hasselblad shares what’s gone into developing the ergonomics, materials and user interface of the Hasselblad X System.

Hasselblad’s factory in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The five-minute video, titled ‘The X System’s Ergonomics, Materials and Hasselblad User Interface’ shares an inside perspective of the decision-making process that went into making some of the most important components of Hasselblad’s X System. In Hasselblad’s own words:

This episode takes a deeper look into what went into creating the X System’s deep grip and the different materials tested for it before choosing the final one, the materials used for the camera itself, button choice and placement, as well as the thoughts behind building the Hasselblad User Interface (HUI).

Regardless of whether or not you’ve ever used a Hasselblad camera, it’s a fascinating video that explains the rationale for the design decisions that are typically confined to within the walls of Hasselblad’s Gothenburg, Sweden operation.

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How to Do Noise Reduction in Lightroom (2021 Guide)

26 May

The post How to Do Noise Reduction in Lightroom (2021 Guide) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Helen Bradley.

A guide to noise reduction in Lightroom

Are you struggling with noisy photos? You’re not alone.

Noise is a huge problem, and it can easily ruin an otherwise great photo – but fortunately, Lightroom’s noise reduction tool allows you to quickly and easily remove unwanted noise. Once you’re done, you’ll be left with clean, beautiful-looking images.

That’s what I talk about in this article. I’m going to show you the step-by-step process for getting rid of noise in Lightroom. And I’ll share plenty of tips along the way!

So if you’re ready to master noise reduction in Lightroom, then let’s get started.

Lightroom noise reduction before and after

A word of (noise reduction) warning

Noise reduction is great, and it can easily improve your images.

At the same time, it’s important to note that noise removal is generally achieved at the expense of image detail.

This is because the noise removal process smooths out noisy areas; this compromises fine detail. Also, the main Lightroom noise removal tool applies its fix to the entire image and not just the areas where noise is most visible – meaning that you’ll lose image quality even in low-noise locations.

Because of this, if you are a purist and noise reduction is an ongoing and significant need, then you should consider a dedicated program such as DeNoise AI, Neat Image, or Photo Ninja.

However, for most photographers – including many professionals – the noise reduction tools offered in Lightroom, assuming they’re applied judiciously, will suffice.

The two kinds of noise

There are two types of noise in photos: color noise and luminance noise.

Color noise appears as multicolored pixels. In the crop below, you can see many flecks of color, yet the area is supposed to be a solid blue:

Lightroom noise reduction step 1

Luminance noise is monochromatic, so it’s less colorful and more like grain. Here is luminance noise in an early morning sky:

Lightroom noise removal step 2

Lightroom noise reduction: step by step

Now let’s take a look at how you should approach noise reduction in Lightroom.

Step 1: Open the Detail panel

First, to remove noise from a photo, you’ll need to open the Detail panel in the Develop module. You’ll find sliders for luminance noise and for color noise:

Lightroom Detail panel

For RAW images, Lightroom automatically applies color noise reduction during the import process. By default, the Color slider will be set to 25 (with Detail and Smoothness set to 50). The Luminance slider will be set to 0, with Detail set to 50 and Contrast set to 0 (see the screenshot above).

Step 2: Identify the noise

Now comes the fun part. You’ll need to carefully observe your image – I recommend zooming in to 100 percent or more – with the aim of determining the type of noise present. In some cases, you may have both noise types; in other cases, only one noise type will be a problem.

(Quick tip: If you’re not sure what type of noise is in an image, boost both the Color and Luminance sliders to their maximum values and see what happens. If you have a lot of color noise, adjusting the Color slider should make a big difference, and if you have a lot of luminance noise, the Luminance slider will have the greater effect.)

Step 3: Increase the corresponding sliders

Once you know the type of noise you are trying to remove, drag the corresponding slider to the right. Aim to reduce the noise to an acceptable level, but avoid going too far. After all, the more noise reduction you use, the more detail you lose.

Step 4: Fine-tune additional sliders

Once you’ve adjusted the Luminance slider, adjust the Detail and Contrast sliders just below it. The Detail slider controls, well, detail – the higher the value, the more detail that’ll remain in the image. Of course, the more you boost the Detail slider, the less you’ll remove the actual noise. (And if you use a low Detail value, you will get a smoother result but with less detail).

Lightroom noise reduction step 4

The Contrast slider controls luminance contrast. The more you boost this slider, the more contrast you’ll get in the final image. You’ll also end up with more noise and mottling. Of course, lower Contrast values will give you a smoother, lower-noise result, but at the expense of reducing contrast.

For color noise, you also get two extra sliders: Detail and Smoothness.

The Detail slider controls the amount of detail left alone by Lightroom’s color noise reduction; boosting the slider will protect detail. Lower Detail values will give you some added smoothing of the color noise, but you may notice that colors bleed into each other. (Adjust the Smoothness slider to help reduce low-frequency color mottling artifacts.)

In this image, removing color noise leaves some luminance noise:

removing color noise

Then, once the color noise is removed, the Luminance slider can remove the remaining luminance noise:

removing luminance noise

When removing noise from an image, it helps to zoom to 100 percent. That way, you can see what is happening on a pixel level. (Though you also want to look at your image zoomed out! I recommend periodically zooming in and out to check the result.)

Local noise reduction

What if you want to target your noise reduction to a specific part of your image? Is that an option in Lightroom?

Yes, you can do this – sort of. You see, Lightroom does offer a Noise slider as part of its targeted adjustment panel. So you can apply noise reduction via the Adjustment Brush, the Radial Filter, or the Graduated Filter, and you’ll be able to limit noise reduction to the areas you want to affect, leaving the rest of the image unchanged.

targeted noise removal

But there is a major downside to this feature:

It only removes luminance noise (not color noise), and there’s no additional Detail or Contrast slider to help you fine-tune the results.

Still, for images suffering from luminance noise, it can be useful, so I do recommend you try it out.

Select the area you want to denoise, then boost the Noise slider. The selected area of your image will instantly become less noisy.

By the way, if you sharpen your images after removing noise, make sure to use a light touch – increasing sharpness can increase noise. I’d recommend using the Masking slider in the Detail panel to keep the sharpening applied only to areas with lots of detail.

How to do noise reduction in Lightroom: conclusion

Now that you’ve finished this article, you can confidently reduce noise in Lightroom – for clean, beautiful files.

So grab some noisy images, then test out your new noise reduction skills. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different slider strengths; if you don’t like a change, you can always adjust it right back.

Now over to you:

How do you do noise reduction to your images? Do you struggle? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The post How to Do Noise Reduction in Lightroom (2021 Guide) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Helen Bradley.

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Camera Lens Will Not Retract – Here’s What To Do

26 May

Are you an avid photographer? Are you having problems with your camera lens retracting or are you simply wanting to learn more about the issue? Then you are in the right place! This article is going to discuss what to do when your camera lens will not retract including all the possible solutions. What does is mean that your lens Continue Reading

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