Welcome to the second of six posts focused on topics found in my newest book, The Visual Palette. Each of these posts will include a free sample download from my book for you to download and enjoy. You can also check out Part 1 in case you missed it. You can learn more about my first published book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post! Often times, the term, Depth of Field (DoF), is mentioned as it relates to the quality of fast lenses. We associate fast lenses are large apertures with creating a shallow DoF, and that is very … [Read more...] about The Visual Palette – Depth of Field
Welcome to the first of six posts focused on topics found in my newest book, The Visual Palette. Each of these posts will include a free sample download from my book for you to download and enjoy. You can learn more about my first published book by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post! When I first set out to write The Visual Palette, my hope was that it would serve as a guide for all of the photographers out there who strive to identify what their unique visual style looks like. One of the most important steps in this journey is … [Read more...] about The Visual Palette – Allies in Perspective and Distortion
In the first part of my thoughts on aesthetic judgments I introduced the first two considerations on my list of five that inform my work. This post discusses the rest of them starting with... Composition Composition is the pleasing expression of the elements in a space. I prefer to lock the camera on a tripod then adjust the elements in the frame. Shooting tethered into a computer also assists me in this quest. Finally, I always give myself permission to frame my subject loosely to allow for cropping. No where in any of the works on … [Read more...] about Aesthetic Judgments: Composition, Color & Story
Apple took the lid off their long-anticipated large-format iPad this week and as people line up for and against the new tablet I sat down with Jeff Carlson to discuss what the new technology means to photographers. Carlson is the author of the book, The iPad for Photographers, which is currently in its third edition with Peachpit Press. Key Features of the iPad Pro The iPad Pro is due to arrive in November, but at Wednesdays event, Apple gave us a long look at the new member of the incredibly popular iPad line. With its 12.9-inch screen … [Read more...] about Apple’s New iPad Pro – Laptop Killer or Just a Bigger iPad?
While visiting the Teton range, I woke up in my cabin near the Snake River right outside the park entrance and saw the opportunity to make some teaching shots. I thought Id share a very simple composition tip that will especially help landscape photographers but can apply to most types of photography. When youre making a photo, try to think of it as having a foreground, a middle-ground and a background. This helps to add depth to an image as well as perspective. Since we live in a 3D world, but work in a 2D medium, adding depth to an … [Read more...] about Beginner’s Landscape Photography Composition Tip
Recently, I photographed an engagement session that made me work a little outside of my comfort zone. If you've ever taken a look at my work, you'll see that much of what I shoot is with wide open apertures & shallow depth of field. I just love the dreamy bokeh effect and how shallow depth of field so easily draws your attention to the proper point of the photograph. When photographing weddings, very often I want the photo to be (shocker) about the couple and not anything else. Well, this engagement session, the bride came to me from 3 … [Read more...] about Using Depth of Field for Effective Communication
Turn around! Thats what the little voice in my head that runs the photography part of my brain always reminds me to do. Turn around! Sometimes one of the best shots is behind you. But it takes discipline to remember to do this. Especially when youre at one of the singularly most photogenic places in all of Grand Teton National Park, i.e, Schwabachers Landing. The photo at the top of this page is the photo I got right after the one I shot below. But the only reason I got the shot above was that I remembered to turn around. I just shot the … [Read more...] about Sometimes One Of The Best Shots Is Behind You
My home town, Boise, Idaho puts on the holiday spirit by decorating the botanical gardens and the historic old Boise Penitentiary by festooning them with thousands and thousands of colorful lights. The Atlanta Botanical Garden does too. This Summer it's featuring another display of lights among the gardens for the enjoyment of all during the balmy Southern evenings. Anytime holiday lights come out in numbers is a great time to make unique photographs. While is seems a bit premature to talk about "Christmas" lights at the beginning of summer, … [Read more...] about Festival lights = Fun with your camera
While the examples I use in this post are of birds/wildlife, they could just as easily have been people. I learned a great deal about making wildlife photographs when I spent time shooting portraits of people. Most of the techniques I was taught to use when making a human portrait apply to wildlife photography. And one of those techniques that always applies is shooting at the eye level of your subject Shooting at Eye Level If you have photos of people they tend to be at eye level. But if you took photographs of animals/birds/pets before you … [Read more...] about The Benefits Of Making Photographs At Eye Level
The act of creating a photograph typically falls into two broad camps. I would argue that in both camps, there are several fundamental tips around composition to always keep in the forefront of your creative mind whenever you reach for your camera or smartphone to capture something photographically. But before we get into that, let's take a look at the two broad camps of photographs that I just referred to. They are: Camp 1: There is the off-the-cuff snap, usually relegated for documentation purposes, like receipts or parking spot reminders, … [Read more...] about Four Photo Tips To Improve Your Compositions
I'm sure many of you photographers reading this post can sympathize with the plight of ever-maneuvering ourselves and our cameras around so that we can omit any obstacles from our frame. Whether we're contorting in some undiscovered yoga position or have our tripods defying gravity with the way they're being balanced, we go to great lengths to remove obstacles. And in a lot of cases, it's probably warranted. Why have them there? They'll only serve as distractions, right? Well.... not so fast. What if you simply couldn't get past omitting an … [Read more...] about Improve your composition by using obstacles
In this video, you'll learn how to quickly turn a plain photo shoot into a fantastic one. This technique uses the Quick Selection Tool, Refine Edge, and Adjustment Layers. Disclaimer: This is only one way to composite a photo in Photoshop. … [Read more...] about Quick Photo Composition in Photoshop
We took the day off to walk around Las Vegas before our scheduled filled work week at the Photoshop World convention began. People were everywhere taking cell phone photos of themselves and loved ones in front of Vegas landmarks. Every shot the same; they got as close to the landmark as possible then captured the image. That got me thinking. This will be a great article to write How I got the shot. To start with, these are cell phone images. We only had a few seconds to snap a shot before people walked into our frame. I tried to recreate a … [Read more...] about Make your Vacation Cell Phone Photos Better
As real estate photographers and agents know all too well, nothing says home sweet home like a bunch of utility lines and cables attached to the side of a house. In this short video, we'll do a little addition by subtraction and minimize these and other distractions by way of the Spot Removal Tool in Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw. http://youtu.be/NOPIUcarTBY Thanks for stopping by. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below or contact me anytime. … [Read more...] about Removing Utility Lines in Adobe Camera Raw
When photographing an image with some type of line, path, or object that will go out of my frame, my very first instinct is to find a way to push it towards one of the corners. This also works well for items that are coming into the frame, too. Compositionally speaking, this type of framing is very pleasing. It can prevent a road, stairway, or limb from the appearance of being chopped off or awkwardly positioned in the photograph. It can help bring balance to the image as a whole. Keep in mind that to do this, you may need to tilt your camera. … [Read more...] about Photographic Composition: Using the Corners of the Frame
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 glass, wrapping paper, you name it. Truly, infinite possibilities. This simple technique can provide you with the power to control the drama, mood and overall feeling of your image. It will also provide you with perfect … [Read more...] about Simple Background Magic for Photos
In this tutorial, we'll be taking a look at one approach to combining HDR (High Dynamic Range) composite images in Photoshop to remove any undesired detail, and easily blend softness back into a landscape composition as needed. Questions? Drop me a line at and . If you're looking for a great gear guide for landscape photographers, check this out. … [Read more...] about Blending HDR Images in Photoshop for Smoother Landscapes
In this Photoshop tutorial, I'm going to show you how to create a cinematic video composition using a few video clips, blending modes, and Adjustment Layers! Disclaimer: This is just one way to create a cinematic video effect. For more tutorials go to . ______ … [Read more...] about Cinematic Video Composition in Photoshop
Ive been frequently asked to help take pictures (with a cell phone) simply because Im a photographer and therefore MUST make better pictures than those coming from an average joe. Probably not always true, but I feel that there are some elements to know that could help everyone take better pictures even with a phone. As a disclaimer, I shall say that this is NOT A RECIPE. When I shoot for myself, I shoot out of love. I choose and design my images based off feeling what is evoked when I come across an image and how it jumps out to me … [Read more...] about 5 Design Elements for Better Pictures!
Thanks to Vanelli and Meghan Ryan-Harrington for the Behind the Scenes shots. When shooting a video project, there is a need to typically get multiple shots (or angles) of the same scene. In modern productions, viewers aren't content to watch just a single shot occur on screen. The audience expects multiple angles to be combine together. This creates visual interest and helps guide the viewer through the story. The use of multiple shots is also helpful during editing as it helps control the timing on a scene (and even cover mistakes). The … [Read more...] about What’s That Video Shot Called?
As a photographer, youre likely used to using to capture several shots. You capture them to have options... bracketing to cover the exposure range, or shoting safety shots to ensure focus. With video, you have even more reasons to get additional coverage... the narrative demands it. Shooting video is much more than capturing the action in one long shot. Sure, you might see this approach if you went to a play... the audiences point of view. But for film, television, and even web video... a collection of shorter shots are usuall edited … [Read more...] about Sequencing Shots to Tell a Video Story
Many photographers worry about making the switch to DSLR Video. The gear and the challenges can seem a bit overwhelming at first. I thought it might be helpful to point out some of the things the two mediums have in common. Your gear. The investment youve made in equipment translates very well. Your camera body likely shoots video, and good lenses are good lenses. Composing the frame. Youve probably spent a good deal of time practicing composition. Your ability to actually position the subject within a frame to tell a story goes a long … [Read more...] about What Do Video and Photography Have in Common?
This is a short and sweet post about composition. It's very basic and intended for those who are just starting out in photography, but could be a good reminder to old hands as well. Beware the intruder! What's wrong with the photo above? Do you see it? Do you recognize the ugly intruder sneaking into the shot? Look at the top right hand corner of the image. THERE IT IS! That's what I call an intruder. That person's tennis shoe is stuck in the photo. I've talked about this before when discussing composition. It's one of the easiest photo … [Read more...] about Attention Photographers – Beware Intruders!
I've been spending a lot of time thinking about composition lately. I am really trying to push myself to get beyond the rule of thirds and try out some new methods. The method I'm experimenting with now is called the Golden Spiral. It's based on of all things an ancient sequence of numbers that often repeats in nature. 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 The sequence is often called the Fibonacci numbers and is named after Leonardo Fibonacci who was an Italian mathematician. He didn't actually invent the series (it's though to … [Read more...] about Fibonacci, Nautilus Shells, and Photography
If you ever wonder why you're drawn to lines don't worry, it's normal. As humans we tend to prefer certain shapes and leading lines are one of our favorite distractions. Some people see them better than others. But those who do see them are immediately drawn to them. And for that reason alone, leading lines are a valuable compositional tool in photography. I made these two images a few years ago for the Tacoma Glass Museum. I wanted to show off the architecture without doing a cheesy postcard shot. So I got my wide-angle lens out and leaned … [Read more...] about Composition Basics For Photographers – Leading Lines
You can subscribe to my Photofocus Boocasts here. ____________________ … [Read more...] about Photofocus Boocast – Beginner’s Composition Tips
This post won't be for everyone. It's in fact a very advanced concept and it might miss the target. If it does, I'll take the blame because of my inability to share the heart of what drives me to find the perfect photo. But here's trying a little bit. Some photographers go through life randomly documenting what comes their way. Others pre-visualize their photography and set out to tell a story. There are many approaches to photography. All of them are valid. But there's one you may not be familiar with. It's a little bit Zen, but it's very … [Read more...] about Seeing A Photograph – Looking For What Isn’t There
If you want to help your photos get noticed - arrange your composition so that the viewer needs to work just a little bit to find the treasure. Here, there is one bright stand of orange poppies sticking out amongst an entire field of purple flowers. The eye is naturally drawn to the thing that doesn't appear to belong. And that's exactly what I am going for. You'll also note the placement in the lower right corner of the frame - homage to the rule of thirds. Lastly - I shot with a long lens to compress the distance between the single stand of … [Read more...] about Quick Photographic Composition Tip – Look For Something That Stands Out
One of the most enduring themes in art is the concept of harmonious balance. Balance is something the human eye just naturally gravitates to. It's something that is automatically pleasing to most people. When you're composing a shot, look for ways to introduce this concept. It can be done using many of the traditional "rules" of photography such as iteration, repetition, rule of thirds etc. In the image above, I introduced simple balance into my composition by shooting the two birds perfectly juxtaposed against each other - side-by-side but … [Read more...] about Photography Composition Basics – Balance
Guest post & photos by One of the most significant aspects of photography is that the way you see things is the way things end up being seen - and few things determine that more than the power of selective framing. The recognition that we, the photographers, have the power to frame things however we choose to, knowing it will completely change the way the viewer will experience them, is an extremely liberating realization. Just like in the entirety of life, things are hardly ever just the way they are its often just the way we see … [Read more...] about The Power of Selective Framing