I want to share a simple way to apply a “texture” to a plain or seamless background. A texture is an image of almost anything that can be appropriately ghosted back adding a “texture” to the background. I use images of side walks, freeway underpasses, brick walls, sheets of paper, rusted steel, graffiti, roads, cracked […]

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I’ve been making photographs for most of my life. It’s second nature to me. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it. But it’s hard to put into words what that love of photography is all about. I am going to try. 1. I love that photography is capable of moving people. I sat […]

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For most of us, we got into photography because it was fun.  Sure the prospect of making a living off something we enjoyed was exciting; it was a dream job. But then reality set in… what was once fun increasingly became work. I liken the entire dynamic to that of a marriage.  I started dating […]

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You’d think that some people WANT a bad photo. While there are no real rules in photography – that pertains to what you SHOULD do. When it comes to what you SHOULD NOT do, well pretty much everyone (except the most pedantic of the pedants) agrees that there are several things you should NOT do. […]

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I have been studying Zen Buddhism and I am struck by how so much of it can be applied to photography. Don’t get me wrong. I am not religious. Nor am I somebody who would ever, or has ever said you should live your life like I live(d) mine. But I do think that we […]

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I got such positive response to my new “For what it’s worth” series yesterday that I decided to do another one right away. These are simple things that I believe have helped me be a better photographer, but that I didn’t learn until later in my career. In each case, I wish I’d have learned […]

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The Auto and the Perspective method offer dramatically different Photomerge results. We stick with Auto for the first attempt. The Photomerge command offers six different layout options when creating a panoramic photo. Each method interprets the panoramic photos differently.  We often try to run multiple methods to see which produces the best results. A good place […]

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I saw a post on the Internet by an “expert” who said you shouldn’t make “unnecessary” black and white photos. I am pretty sure that I lost brain cells just by reading that sentence. It generated several questions for me: 1. What constitutes “unnecessary” black & white? 2. Who gets to decide what’s “unnecessary?” 3. […]

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Eric Maisel: Making Meaning Through Creativity from Omega Institute on Vimeo. With a hat-tip to my favorite writing blog (onewildword.com) I’d like to share a video that is designed for novelists but which applies 100% to photographers who are searching for a way to be a creative. Two minutes that might change your opinion on […]

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Rather than having the latest aluminum cased device adorning their landing page, one year ago apple.com consisted solely of the image below; and it remained that way for an entire month. Of course, it was in tribute to Apple’s founder who had just passed away. Purportedly, this photograph, made by Albert Watson, was Jobs’s favorite […]

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I get email and tweets like this every day… “New #show filmed 100% #DSLR coming soon! PLZ RT” “New motion picture filmed entirely on an iPhone – please spread the word.” “Photographer uses old The Graflex Speed Graphic to shoot weddings.” Sigh… Folks if your press release or news is about the tool you use […]

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Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo. While this video wasn’t intended just photographers, it certainly applies. Hat tip to my favorite writing blog onewildword.com. _______ This Post Sponsored by: Viewbug - Fun Photo Contests Kelby Training – Use code KTSBA12 to save $20 BorrowLenses.com – Renting Canon, Nikon, Olympus & Sony, bodies, lenses, […]

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This post is an updated compilation of several shorter posts I wrote in the past trying to answer the question, “What camera should I buy?”

It’s still the most popular question I am asked. “What camera should I buy?” Lately there’s a new twist to the question…”Is this brand camera better than that brand camera?”

No matter how hard I try to tell people that there’s no perfect answer, they keep asking. So since I can’t convince anyone otherwise, at least know the answers to THESE questions before you ask me YOUR question.

1 ) What subject(s) will you photograph most often? Weddings, portraits, wildlife, sports, landscapes, still lifes, food, fashion, etc.
2 ) What gear (if any) do you now own?
3 ) If you had to choose between ease of use and power, which would you select?
4 ) Do you want a compact pocket-sized camera (point and shoot) or a DSLR?
5 ) On a scale of 1-10 (10 being a working pro and 1 being someone who usually shoots with a disposable camera) how would you rate your skill?
6 ) What is the MOST money you’d be willing to spend on a camera?
7 ) How long do you think you might keep the camera?
8 ) What do your friends use?
9 ) Do you have a local camera store that can offer you support?

If you have thought carefully about these questions and have the answers – you should then be closer to knowing what the perfect camera for you might be.

Hopefully, your interest in photography is strong enough that you’ll read this entire article. That will give you the best chance of making the right decision. If you’re just not that interested, scroll all the way to the bottom to see some of the popular cameras that I recommend.

For those who stuck with me:

I know that beginners especially want this question answered. They are more likely to think that it’s the camera that takes the picture, not the photographer. Unfortunately for them, that’s not the case. And there’s no secret, magic or special camera that will make you into Ansel Adams.

Let’s start with goals. What goals do you have with your photography? Photographing the kids is much easier and less expensive than photographing wildlife. Making studio portraits will require a different kind of camera than that used by sports photographers. Do you want to turn pro or just make pictures you’ll share with your immediate family? Understand this simple truth: There is no perfect camera. And not all cameras are designed for all types of photography. Many photographers have more than one camera, depending on how many photographic pursuits they are engaged in at one time.

You’ll need to take into account a wide variety of factors when selecting a camera, and the first is budget.

This post continues below….

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With age comes clarity – well and all sorts of medical issues but that’s TMI. Back to the clarity I’ve gained from age… I’ve noticed that people have very different versions of what constitutes a “famous photographer.” This post isn’t designed to tell you who is and is not a famous photographer. It’s designed to […]

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Guest Post & Photo by Stephan Bollinger – Circle Stephan on Google+ Lately, I see more and more “flat” images, and I constantly hear the terms “fill in the shadows”, and “maintaining shadow detail”. Many new photographers try their hardest to light everything evenly, and eliminate the very essence which creates emotions: Shadows. Late at night, the silhouette […]

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Old Guy’s Rant Alert – I’ve noticed a trend among some photographers – they tend to quickly fall into the trap of thinking the old ways must be better than the new ones. Somehow making something harder to do makes it better to them. I can’t wait until they get as old as I am […]

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Lately, I’ve been bombarded by pedants. It goes with the territory – and I’m not complaining, but I am concerned. The entire reason – the ONLY reason I publish Photofocus is that I want to help photographers. Period. I make a little money from it but frankly, not enough to impact my bottom line. For […]

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NOTE: I’ve only titled this part IV because I’ve written at least three posts like this over the years. Use the search function on the blog and try to find them if you’re interested. I occasionally write posts like this because my main goal with this site is to get people up and off the […]

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NOTE NOTE NOTE NOTE NOTE: The Photofocus Podcast Feed HAS CHANGED! Here is the new feed: feed://feeds.feedburner.com/photofocuspodcast PLEASE BE PATIENT – OUR SERVERS SEE LARGE LOADS ON PUBLISHING DAYS. THE DOWNLOADS MAY GO SLOWLY BUT THEY WILL FINISH. Hosts Rich Harrington and Scott Bourne discuss a variety of topics including: Apple Annoucements Aperture 3.3 Lightroom 4.1 […]

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We live in an age where on the Internet, everyone’s opinion is apparently supposed to have equal weight. High school drop outs are allowed to critique NASA PHD-level scientists with impunity. A guy with 20 followers and four years on Twitter is allowed to tell someone with 200,000 followers they’re getting it wrong. Someone who […]

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This is part of my series on photographers you should know about. You can track the series here – http://photofocus.com/2012/05/13/photographers-you-should-know-about-yousuf-karsh/ While the initial posts were all about traditional photographic icons I thought I’d change it up by introducing some newer photographers who I personally think will be just as iconic – some day. And in […]

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