You have your new camera, and so far you like it. Now it’s time to look at adding more lenses to your equipment. Not sure what all those numbers mean? That is what we are here for!
WHAT DOES THE FIRST SET OF NUMBERS MEAN?
As you look at the top of your lens, or the front of your lens, the very first set of numbers, or number, tells you what the focal length of your lens is. For example the photo above show the focal length of your lens to be: 24-105mm. How does that equate to anything? Here is your reference point:
A normal lens is one who’s focal-length is equal to the diagonal of the sensor or film. This is said to give a natural perspective similar to that of a single human eye.
On a full-frame DSLR, it is usually a 50mm lens. On a cropped-sensor (APS-C) DSLR, a normal lens falls around 35mm but from 30 to 55mm, it would still be considered normal. For Four-Thirds and Micro Four-Thirds, you would use a 25mm. Usually most manufacturers make sure to have one bright prime that corresponds to the normal focal-length for the sensor-size.
Then going back to the lens above, let’s suppose your camera is a DSLR camera. The normal lens would then be about 30mm. If you were to look through the lens, it would appear that the image is the same size as what you see, without the camera. Then, if you go below the number 30mm you enter the range of wide angle lenses. Which means that the lens pushing the image back further to get more into the picture.
Definition of “WIDE ANGLE LENS”
(Photography) a lens system on a camera that can cover an angle of view of 60° or more and therefore has a fairly small focal length. Any number that is less than 30 is therefore a wide angle lens.
Definition of “telephoto” lens:
A telephoto lens is a lens that appears to magnify distant objects. To do that, they need to have a focal length longer than that of a normal lens, or a lens that approximates the optical qualities of the human eye. A normal lens has a focal length of 30mm on a full frame camera so any lens with a focal length longer than 30mm can be considered a telephoto lens. The longer the focal length, the more magnification there is.
WHAT IS THE PROPER USE OF WIDE ANGLE AND TELEPHOTO LENSES:
Generally, a normal lens (around 30mm) is used for…. normal everyday use. Photos of the family, the dog, the cat, the things around the house.
A wide angle lens is most popular for landscape or scenic photos, to get the whole picture into the frame.
And the telephoto is generally used to bring objects in closer to you. The most common use is for wildlife, sports, and things from afar.
NEXT SET OF NUMBERS:
THE “APERTURE RANGE”
Every lens has an aperture in it. It controls the amount of light getting through the lens. This has another major function that photographers really use and that is the “depth of field”. That has been discussed before in a previous blog. JUST : CLICK HERE
It is usually expressed in f-stops such as f/1.4 and stated on the name of the lens. For example, the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.4, whereas the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G has a maximum aperture of f/1.8.
One lens, and several different aperture openings:
Here is where it can get interesting and you can see why the price of a lens goes up. Listed below is a list of Nikon lenses. And they are all 50mm lenses. You can see the Nikkor lens 50mm F1.8 lens lists for only $134.95. Now go to the second lone on the list: Nikkor 50mm 1.4D lens. It sells for $369.95. And go to the top one: the 50mm f1.2 lens sells for $724.95.
The difference between each 50 mm lens is that the f1.4 lens lets in almost twice the amount of light through it than the f1.8 lens. I don’t know how many actual lens elements are in each lens, but, say they have 14 elements in the lens. That would mean the f1.4 lens elements, all 14 of them have to be made larger than the f1.8 lens. But if you are a person who wants the lens to be able to shoot in lower light, then the f1.4 lens is a better choice. Better still, the f1.2 which doubles the amount of light transmission would even be better. But you would end up paying for all those elements in the lens housing to be bigger than the previous version.
So, in summary on this number, the lens with the smallest number, let’s a lot more light through the lens than a lens with a bigger number. And that allows you to also have a depth of field even smaller, but, the usual case for having a lens with a lower aperture number is usually to allow you to shoot in lower light.
THE LAST IMPORTANT NUMBER:
THE FINAL IMPORTANT NUMBER TO KNOW IS THE FILTER SIZE THE LENS TAKES.
On this photo above, all lenses (at least I think almost all lenses) have a number to tell you what size filter this lens takes or the size of the lens cap. If you are a photographer who uses filters (and I think all photographers should use filters), you will appreciate knowing what size filters you would need to enhance your photography. On this lens above, the filter size is a 72mm. That is a big filter, but certainly good to know. If you would like to learn more about using filters, CLICK HERE AND one more link: CLICK THIS ONE TOO
We are going to see a huge new surge in lenses within the next few years. All because so many of the brands of cameras changed their lens mount. Why? Because they changed from a DSLR camera, which uses lenses that are about the same size as the older 35mm film cameras, to the smaller mirrorless cameras which made it so the lenses mount, and the lenses went smaller. And that means what was good with one type of lens mount, they will now need to do the same thing to the smaller lens mounts, such as the new NIKON Z camera series.
NIKON Z LENSES NOW
As of this writing, Nikon makes about 27 lenses already for their Z camera series. So, that means they will release about 23 more lenses in the next few years. It is amazing how many lenses need to be created to accomplish all the different types of photography there is (Hmmm, that might be a good blog subject).
7 New lenses are about to be released soon:
With that being said, it is obvious that they have some already announced or rumored to be releases soon:
A 12-28mm DX zoom
A 200-600mm super-telephoto zoom
A 24mm DX lens
A 26mm lens
An 85mm S-line lens
A 400mm S-line lens
A 600mm S-line lens
Of course, that leaves many future lenses unaccounted for, though I’d certainly wager that we’ll get a 70-200mm f/4 lens, designed as a low-cost 70-200mm f/2.8 alternative. Look for a 500mm f/4 S-line lens, designed for bird and wildlife photographers, and several wider primes (including, perhaps, a 14mm f/2.8 and/or a 35mm f/1.4).
Once Nikon has covered all its more “conventional” bases, keep an eye out for the specialty lenses: fisheye lenses and zoom lenses, additional macro prime lenses, and tilt shift lenses. In the meantime, Nikon mirrorless shooters can still gain access to basic and specialty models via the FTZ adapters.
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO THEIR COMPETITORS: CANON AND SONY?
CANON; Canon currently has 25 lenses in their RF series of lenses. The RF lenses are the lenses Canon makes for their smaller mirrorless cameras. And they are planning on releasing about 30 more in the next 5 years. That should complete their lineup.
SONY: Well, Sony has had a head start on their lens lineup for about the last 7 years. So they already have about 70 lenses for their mirrorless cameras. Sony hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, either, so for now – and for the foreseeable future – Sony will continue to lead the pack.
HOW TO PICK AND CHOOSE A LENS:
I was looking through my arsenal of information I have available, but the best one is in my professional course, that describes how lenses can be used, what millimeter lenses are the best, etc. Go to my professional course titled “BASIC PHOTO COURSE”, and it is here at this link. Click here.
NOW WHAT WILL YOU DO TO
If you are serious about photography, you will want to get some extra lenses for your tools. It is amazing how your photography can be enhanced with a variety of lenses. You can choose a lens for the following reasons:
A wide angle lens for taking breathtaking landscapes
A macro lens for taking pictures close-up
A telephoto lens to get photos of wildlife
A fast lens to be able to shoot in low light
A fisheye lens to get almost a 180 degree view
A lens to take the perfect portrait
And so many other types of subjects.
Coming next blog: learn why there are so many different lenses, what makes a lens cost more than others, what are the different uses of lenses? Complete instruction on lenses and their uses.
More than ever, it will be important to sign up for the newsletter as special training, special offers and special photo exhibit will come automatically to your email. SIGN UP NOW!
This blog today is part 3 of a 3 part series: HOW TO MAXIMIZE IMAGE QUALITY IN YOUR PHOTOS. This was originally presented by SPENCER COX FROM “PHOTOGRAPHIC LIFE”. I want to thank Spencer for the use of this article, and the great insight into how to make our photos sharper, and better detailed than ever.
6. Post-Processing Workflow
In terms of editing your photos, one of the key components of image quality is to work with image files that are lossless. In photography, this largely means the original RAW file, DNGs, or TIFFs.
If you’re ever doing a lot of edits to a JPEG file – whether directly (like Photoshop) or indirectly (like Lightroom) – you’re setting yourself up for trouble. A JPEG on its own looks good, but starts to produce some serious blocky artifacts when pushed around in post.
Along the same lines, make sure that you’re always editing in a large color space that won’t clip any highly saturated colors – something like ProPhoto RGB or similar. (I highly recommend our sRGB vs Adobe RGB vs ProPhoto RGB article if you aren’t familiar with color spaces.) On top of that, be sure to edit 16 bit-per-channel images rather than clipping them down to 8 bit.
Essentially, this means that if you export a photo from Lightroom/other software into Photoshop/other software, you should be working with 16-bit ProPhoto TIFF files the whole way. With a lower 8-bit image, you’ll risk banding in gradient regions. With a smaller color space, like sRGB, you’ll permanently clip certain colors in your image. And with a lossy format like JPEG, you’ll risk serious compression artifacts.
Of course, you should never let a ProPhoto image of any kind out into the wild unless the sole recipient is another photographer. Same with 16-bit TIFFs just because they’re such large files. This is solely about optimizing your workflow to avoid throwing away data in your photos without realizing it. There’s a separate process in a moment for the export side of things.
Other than that? Feel free to process images however you want. Editing images is a really subjective, artistic part of photography, perhaps just as much as the field side of things.
Oh, and calibrate your monitor. I’m sure you’ve already done it, but if not, that’s essential to editing the colors you mean to edit.
7. Optimizing for the Output Medium
Now that you’ve set up your post-processing workflow to maximize image quality, let’s take a look at the proper steps for printing your photo or otherwise outputting it as well as possible.
The two major steps here are sharpening (including noise reduction) and converting to the right color profile. I’ll start with sharpening.
7.1. Optimal Sharpening and Noise Reduction
There are many different philosophies on the optimal sharpness settings in post-production. I (mostly) won’t go into the exact slider values that work best, because there really isn’t just one set. Instead, proper sharpening is about following the three-stage method:
Deconvolution sharpening: Light to moderate sharpening across the image, with a very small radius and a low masking/threshold value. Also, light to moderate noise reduction – both color and luminance – evenly across the image in proportion to the amount of noise in the photo.
Local sharpening: More aggressive sharpening to important, high-detail parts of the photo, like feathers or eyes on a wildlife subject. Also, more aggressive noise reduction to large, empty areas.
Output sharpening: Anywhere from zero to aggressive sharpening evenly across the image to counteract texture in the output medium, like a matte print.
The deconvolution stage is the most important. In Lightroom, for a 45-megapixel sensor without an AA filter, my default is 33 sharpening, 0.5 radius, 100 detail, 13 masking. Combined with 10 luminance and 10 color noise reduction.
That said, it’s best to figure out your preferred settings through trial and error. This is especially true for output sharpening, which varies wildly based on the medium – including digital or print – as well as the physical dimensions of your output.
7.2. Color Profile Conversion
Last, but not least, is converting your working image to the proper color profile (and file type).
For web, this is easy: sRGB JPEG, pretty much 100% of the time. Anything other than sRGB is likely to create really strange colors for at least some users out there (those with outdated browsers, mainly) – and anything other than JPEG is likely to take up too much space.
For print, it’s a bit trickier. The most ideal method is to find the exact color space of your ink/paper combo – either through measuring for yourself or downloading ICC profiles online – and then soft proof your image in post-processing using that color space.
(Soft proofing means “previewing” how the print will look, to the best of your monitor and software’s capabilities. Lightroom, Photoshop, and most other post-processing options today allow this.)
Then, export a 16-bit TIFF with the ink/paper combo’s ICC profile. Lightroom doesn’t let you directly do this, however, so you will need to do the intermediate step of exporting a 16-bit TIFF in ProPhoto, then opening in Photoshop or other software and converting that to your ICC profile. Again, there’s more info in our color space article.
That’s a few steps, no doubt. But if you send the print lab an sRGB file, or even an Adobe RGB file, you’re potentially throwing out some important color details (especially in darker, more saturated areas).
If you want a simpler method – though one which likely clips some colors – just send a lab of your choice a photo exported to their specifications (usually sRGB, though some allow AdobeRGB and an elite few allow ProPhoto). Then, select the lab’s “color correction” option if they have one, where they’ll basically do the steps above for you.
It’s the easiest way to get colors that match your monitor, with the least that can go wrong. It’s why I recommend it to most photographers, especially at first. However, there certainly are subtle color benefits of the hands-on method I covered above. And when you’ve already gone through this entire article… well, you’re probably after all the quality you can get.
The information above dives pretty deep into image quality, and I think it’s useful for photographers to have a goal to strive for. At the end of the day, though, these are not the most important parts of photography. A high-quality image is a whole lot better than high technical image quality.
So, before you go out and follow all these tips to the letter, make sure you’ve really mastered the basics. Light, composition, basic exposure settings, and everyday post-processing – all that is more important.
Once you’ve gotten a hang of it, then it’s a good time to dive deeper. Try out some of these techniques for yourself, and figure out which ones are easy to incorporate into your day-to-day work. It’s worth doing.
Why? Simple: To me, photographers should aim for the best possible result for every photo. No, you won’t always have time to get everything perfect. And sure, some scenes are tricky to photograph, and it’s smart to build in leeway even at the expense of image quality. But if you can aim for the best – you should.
I hope you found the explanations in this article useful for achieving that goal.
This is an amazing article I wanted to share. It goes through, in incredible detail of how to make your photos look sharper than ever. This is part 2!
NEW MONTHLY NEWSLETTER COMING OUT SOON! SIGN UP NOW:
3. Optimal Exposure When You Have a Shutter Speed Limit
If you’re trying to freeze a moving subject or shoot handheld, there’s probably a limit to the longest shutter speed you can set. In turn, that requires compromises in the ISO and/or aperture that you set.
And this is where things get a little messy.
3.1. Shutter Speed:
First, keep in mind that every photo has an optimal range of shutter speeds. When you find that range, you really don’t want to go outside of it. Too much motion blur can ruin a photo in an instant.
So, what exact shutter speed should you set? Ideally, you’d use the longest possible shutter speed that still completely freezes the photo’s motion. As an example, if you eliminate motion blur with a 1/125 second shutter speed or faster, 1/125 second is the perfect shutter speed to use. It’s the longest exposure with zero motion blur, meaning it captures as much light as you can under the circumstances.
Here’s the 100% crop (click to see full size)
However, you’ll rarely know the exact shutter speed cutoff for a given scene. It requires some trial and error in the field, although practice and experience are good substitutes. Once you do find the range of acceptable shutter speeds, it’s best to stay within that range no matter what – or, at most, go about 1/3 or 2/3 stops longer than ideal.
That’s because shutter speed blur is one of the most annoying image quality issues you can have. If it’s too obvious – and it gets too obvious in a hurry – it can totally ruin an otherwise good photo.
In tricky situations like fast-moving sports photography, it’s possible that some photos will have different shutter speed cutoffs than others. In those cases, it’s best to play it safe. Just go with the shutter speed that makes every photo sharp, and don’t worry if you could have snuck in a slightly longer exposure on a few of them.
3.2. Aperture and ISO:
Next, it’s time to figure out what aperture and ISO values you need to use in order to accommodate your shutter speed limitations.
If you’re already shooting at your lens’s widest aperture, just raise your ISO until the photo is bright enough. But if you’re at a narrower aperture, you’ll often need to widen it in order to capture more light.
And that’s when you get into the tug-of-war with ISO. Specifically, is it better to have too high an ISO, or too shallow a depth of field?
There’s no perfect answer, although I do have a preferred process for my own work. Up to ISO 400, I just raise the ISO. Beyond that, I’ll trade off: a third stop wider aperture, then a third stop higher ISO, then a third stop wider aperture, and so on until the photo is bright enough. Find a similar method that works well for your gear, and you’re set.
3.3. ISO Invariance
One exception to the technique above involves the weirdness of ISO as a photographic concept in the first place.
To distill the issue down to a single question: Why raise ISO when you can simply brighten an image in post-processing?
Usually, the answer is that you get better image quality by raising ISO in-camera rather than brightening in post. But that’s becoming less and less true over time, as camera sensors become “ISO-less” or more accurately ISO invariant at some point in their range (or across the entire range).
With my previous camera, the Nikon D800e, this occurred at ISO 1600, although it wasn’t far from ISO invariant at the lower ISOs. In other words, up to ISO 1600, it was worth brightening the photo using the in-camera ISO. Anything more – 3200, 6400, etc. – provided no image quality benefits. Plus, the higher ISOs increased my risk of overexposure in highlight details, especially pinpoint highlights like stars.
Not all cameras are as simple. For example, the Sony A7R III is ISO invariant across two ranges: ISO 100 to 720, then ISO 800 and up. So, if you only ever used ISO 100 or 800 on the A7R III, you wouldn’t be losing image quality. If your photo is underexposed because you would have used one of the other ISOs, just brighten the image in post.
Of course, ISO invariance is controversial for a few reasons. The big one is that it makes it harder to preview images – and it also adds more time in post-production. Plus, most post-processing software is not made for giant boosts to image brightness, so you might get some color shifts or other artifacts when doing extreme shadow recovery.
I’d say it’s only worth worrying about ISO invariance for one specific case: astrophotography. There, shooting at too high of an ISO can blow out color details in the stars, while shooting a lower ISO and brightening in post-production can retain those details. Personally, I avoid ISOs beyond 6400 for astrophotography for this reason, even if it requires a bit of brightening in post-production.
Otherwise, make your life simpler and don’t worry about ISO invariance. After all, brightening a photo in post-processing doesn’t give you better image quality than increasing ISO in-camera; it just protects highlight details more, without harming image quality.
If you’re not shooting a scene like stars where the highlights need special care, it doesn’t bring any other big benefits.
4. Other Camera Settings
The exposure settings above are very important, but there are a few other camera settings which are worth noting if you want optimal image quality.
4.1. Shutter Mechanism
I recently wrote about the three common shutter mechanisms today: mechanical, electronic, and electronic first curtain shutter (EFCS).
You should read the comparison to see all the differences in detail, but the takeaway is simple: Use mechanical when there is artificial light in your photo, and electronic otherwise – or EFCS if your camera doesn’t have an electronic shutter.
4.2. Mirror Lockup
Along the same lines as setting your shutter mechanism properly, you also need to get rid of camera shake from mirror slap (only on a DSLR, of course) and simply from pressing down on your camera, even if it’s on a tripod.
For this, I recommend using mirror lockup mode in combination with a brief self-timer, such as two seconds. Or, if you’re a Nikon shooter, “Exposure Delay Mode” makes this simpler by raising the mirror when you press the shutter release button, pausing for a second or two so vibrations dissipate, then capturing the photo.
4.3. 12-Bit vs 14-Bit RAW
Many cameras today have a RAW image quality setting that lets you choose between shooting 12-bit or 14-bit color.
John Sherman already showed that anyone who shoots 14-bit RAW rather than 12-bit is a paranoid pixel-peeper. And today, that’s exactly what we are!
If you’re using the (very slightly) lower quality 12-bit RAW setting, rather than turning it up to 14, how can you possibly claim to be capturing maximum image quality? Also, something about storage being cheap, and so on.
4.4. RAW Compression
This one does actually make a difference – RAW compression. Most cameras let you choose between uncompressed, compressed, and losslessly compressed RAW. Some omit the “lossless” option.
Of the three, lossless compression truly is lossless; there is zero image quality detriment to using that setting. It’s my strong recommendation.
If your camera only has “compressed” and “uncompressed,” go for better image quality. Uncompressed RAW photos take up more hard drive space, but they’ll show some definite image quality benefits in certain cases.
4.5. Long Exposure Noise Reduction
When you’re shooting with long shutter speeds, there’s an important camera setting to keep in mind: Long exposure noise.
With this mode enabled, the camera takes two photos in a row. The first is your actual, main exposure. The second is a dark frame with the shutter curtain closed, captured with an equally long exposure as the first. Your camera then uses the dark frame to subtract out noise and hot pixels from your main shot.
This does affect RAW photos, and it can make a real difference when you’re shooting especially long exposures. I hate the wait as much as anyone else – it takes twice as long to capture these photos, since you’re taking two photos – but in the race for maximum image quality, what’s an extra 30 seconds in the field?
5. Image Blending:
If all of the above isn’t enough for you, the most in-depth way to improve image quality is to blend multiple photos together.
This can take a few different forms. The most obvious is creating a panorama, since you’re able to increase the resolution of a photo drastically – no real upper limit, aside from how long you’re willing to spend stitching the photo together.
HDR photography is another big one. In high-contrast situations, getting enough highlight and shadow detail simultaneously may be impossible without blending photos together. HDR increases your dynamic range, and, when done right, decreases shadow noise as well.
There’s also Focus Tracking – taking multiple photos focused at different distances, then combining them into an exceptionally sharp photo from front to back. This lets you use your lens’s “sweet spot” or target aperture and still get enough depth of field, making for extremely sharp photos.
Lastly, you can use the technique of Image averaging to reduce noise and improve dynamic range. This is especially Milky Way photos, but also applies to a few other situations, like drone photography or as a replacement to HDR.
A few other types of image blending exist, but these are the big ones in terms of image quality.
The real question, however, is whether or not you should actually put any of this into practice. My answer is – by default – you shouldn’t. Photo blending has some serious potential to go wrong, especially if the light changes or your subject moves from shot to shot.
I tend to blend images only to salvage photos that wouldn’t work any other way, not to boost image quality for its own sake. But that’s just me. Again, this article is about the things you can do to push image quality to the next level – and image blending clearly qualifies.
What if you could buy a camera that had all the lenses in it that you would ever want, plus it was all in one camera that has everything you want in a DSLR!
THE NEW NIKON COOLPIX P1000 CAMERA SHOULD EXCITE ANYONE WHO LIKES PHOTOGRAPHY!
Bridge cameras often get a bad rap, but the Nikon Coolpix P1000 is still one of the damnedest cameras I’ve ever seen. And it’s all down to its signature party trick: its 125x zoom, which equates to a jaw-dropping 24-3000mm focal range.
I still remember the first time I used the Nikon Coolpix P1000, sat outside a café in Cologne during the last Photokina (which really was the last Photokina). My colleague Ben Andrews had been tasked with reviewing it, and had valiantly sacrificed valuable hand luggage space to bring this comedy sized camera with him to Germany.
“Look at the moon,” he mumbled across the table, prompting me to look up to the sky. “No,” he corrected me, “look at the moon on this.” It was like he’d mounted a camera to a telescope – even in broad daylight, the amount of detail was absolutely mesmerizing.
Of course, they weren’t reference-quality images. After all, the P1000 employs a 1/2.3-in sensor with 16 megapixels of resolution – and with a sensitivity that tops out at ISO6400, we’re hardly talking Nikon Z9 in terms of performance.
See the incredible zoom reach…
But that’s not what the P1000 is about. Look at these images above, look at the utterly ridiculous zoom range – THAT is what the P1000 is about. The zoom enables you to go from a panoramic view of the city, to a close-up detail of the abbey that is half a mile away (800m).
You know how you sometimes zoom in on your phone, even just 2x, and the quality goes to hell? Even the impressive zooms on the best camera phones like the Samsung S22 Ultra pale in comparison to both the reach and the quality of Nikon’s big black Pinocchio.
In a world where we’re wowed by more conventional specs – megapixels, dynamic range, burst rate, image stabilization – we forget that the most useful thing on any camera is the ability to ‘get a bit closer’.
Camera snobs may turn their noses up at cameras like the Nikon P1000, but it is targeted at very different user bases – parents who want to photograph their kids’ soccer games, bird spotters who want to identify animals, general purpose shooters who just want a camera with the longest reach possible.
And that’s where the best bridge cameras like the P1000 come into their element. They may not win you many photo awards, but they’ll get you the photos that no other camera can.
Article originally written by: James Artaius for DIGITAL CAMERA WORLD
A lot of beginner photographers make the mistake of assuming that a flash is used to add light when shooting in conditions where the light is insufficient. Well, this is only partially true. In fact, you can use flash even in situations where there’s enough natural light. Using a flash allows you to add a certain “pop” to your image that is not possible when only using natural light.
In this blog today, we want to go over the details of how to use flash effectively even if you don’t think you need to use flash. There are situations where using your flash will improve your photo immensely.
As I did in the previous blog, I found a video that explained how to understand the basics of flash photography. In today’s video I will post this great video on different ways to use flash to make your everyday photography look better.
A common mistake a lot of beginner photographers make is to turn the flash head directly towards the subject. This has a lot of undesired effects. It creates unflattering hotspots and harsh shadows, and makes the image appear unnatural. As Joy demonstrates in the video, there are a lot of ways you can overcome this.
“Flash is not just about adding more light to your photo. It’s about molding the light to your photo.”
MORE IDEAS OF HOW TO USE YOUR FLASH:
A lot of beginner photographers make the mistake of assuming that a flash is used to add light when shooting in conditions where the light is insufficient. Well, this is only partially true. In fact, you can use flash even in situations where there’s enough natural light. Using a flash allows you to add a certain “pop” to your image that is not possible when only using natural light. In this context, today we have professional wedding and portrait photographer Vanessa Joy with Adorama who shares seven tips on how you can use flash to take better images:
MORE IDEAS OF HOW TO USE YOUR FLASH:
The idea is to think of a way to make the light source as big as possible. Joy shares a ton of ways you can do that. Starting from the bare minimum, you can use the small diffusion cover that a speedlight comes with. Or, you can also use a small white card to bounce the light indirectly toward the subject. For better results, use a reflector to bounce the flash towards the subject. You’ll instantly see how much better the images come out.
In cases where you need to use flash indoors, the task is even easier. Just look for neutral-colored walls or ceilings and turn your flash head in that direction. The entire wall or ceiling acts as a huge light source and bounces off soft light, resulting in flattering images.
Joy also shares some interesting ways you can introduce colors to your images using flash and gels. And if you’re someone who loves to take portraits during golden hours, be sure to watch till the end. You’ll get to see how you can create your own golden sun using flash and gels.
Bounce flash diffuser
If you watched the video, you will know the value of this piece. This allows you to have bounce flash in areas where you can’t bounce your light off the wall or ceiling.
Softbox attachment for flash for Canon, Nikon bounce flashes
As seen on the video, this is another tool that just helps you to spread the light all around the subject and a nicer diffused light on the subject.
Electronic slave flash
A slave flash is a flash that will fire when another flash is fired. This will get some special effects that will allow you to shoot two flashes at the same time. A photographers great tool
In all the blogs I have done, I have not done much in flash photography. And there is a true art to using flash on your camera, that I don’t want people to think they don’t need to use flash. There are things that you can do with flash photography that will greatly improve your photos, as well as allow you to do things you couldn’t do before.
THIS WILL BE A 3 PART SERIES ON FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY
To make sure we cover flash photography well, this is going to be a 3 part series. This will be the first part, the basics of flash photography. Once you learn the technical aspects of flash photography, you can already see the different creative things you can do with flash photography.
A VIDEO SEEMS TO BE THE BEST WAY TO DESCRIBE FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY
I have chosen to use a video to show you the basics of how flash photography works. Watch this video several times if you don’t get it the first time. Once you capture the beauty of how wonderful flash photography is, you will become a master in “flash photography”
Remember if you have questions about this subject, watch the next tutorial in the next blog, coming in 2 days. Once you get through the whole course, you will be able to ask questions if you still have any.
One of the most valuable pieces of equipment you can own, to take magnificent landscape photos.
Learn how this works in this article:
All great photographers know the value of a polarizing filter. It magically makes the scenery photos come alive with their natural color. When seeing the differences of before and after photos, you will know right away how important this one accessory can be.
JUST WHAT IS POLARIZED LIGHT?
Trying to find an easy way to describe polarized light has been challenging to say the least. But, I like this definition of polarized light, that maybe we can all understand why we need this filter:
The light tends to move more uniformly rather than scattering all over the place, and it comes at you horizontally or vertically. This is polarized light, which we experience as glare, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
IN PHOTOGRAPHY, WE HAVE A POLARIZING FILTER TO CURE THIS PROBLEM:
EXAMPLES OF WHEN TO USE THIS FILTER:
Note: as you look at the above photo, how much bluer the skies are, but the snow is also more detailed because the reflections that are on the snow are gone. Polarizing filters eliminate anything that reflects light, except for metal. There is dust floating in the sky, and the polarizing filter cuts out all the reflections off the dust particles, and that’s why the skies are more vivid in color.
The above example shows how well the polarizing filter will work shooting through water. Reflections are cut off the surface, and thus you get better detail through the water.
Most faces have a certain amount of oil on the skin, and the polarizing filter cuts through those reflections and give you amazing skin tones.
In a regular sunny day, the landscape will have reflections on all green things, the sky, the clouds, the roads, etc. Use a polarizing filter for all your scenery photos.
I love this photo because it shows in great detail the reflections on leaves. Now eliminate the reflections with your polarizing filter, and you have beautiful green foliage. And this includes all foliage and grass.
NOW YO CAN SEE HOW IT WORKS
The above diagram shows exactly how it works. Keep in mind these 2 things:
1- The filter has a dark grey color to it, and cuts the light coming down to your sensor by half. You should buy a “circular polarizer” and then your light meter reading should still be accurate.
2- If you are trying to keep a certain Fstop to create the right depth of field in your photo, you may need to adjust your ISO on your camera to compensate for the drop in light coming through your lens.
You can pick up a polarizing filter from your favorite camera store. Some are made of better glass that the others, so don’t buy the cheapest filter. The better the glass, the better your photo. I am not going to endorse any filter brands on this blog, but, just let it be known, that you shouldn’t spend the least amount on this filter.