In outdoor portraits, we love shallow depth of field. We love to see the background nicely out of focus so that our subjects stand out better. In fact, we are easily convinced that we need to pay a lot of money for very bright lenses with big apertures so that we can get that beautiful shallow depth of field. The truth is that you can do with an inexpensive zoom lens — even the second lens that came with your camera kit can get it done well. Many kits come with a 55-200mm zoom, and you can also buy a 70-300mm lens for a couple of hundred … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Save money, use a long lens for shallow depth
The Weekly Wrap-up compiles interesting articles published this week on Photofocus. This week we learned about the rule of thirds, how to use the whites and blacks sliders in Lightroom, lens choices, shutter speed and attracting clients. … [Read more...] about Weekly Wrap-Up: February 17-23, 2019
Why are there so many lens choices for your camera? The simple answer is that every photographer sees the world differently requiring the use of different focal length lenses. Different photographers, different lens choice For example, landscape photographers typically use wide-angle lenses, in the 10mm to 24mm range. This allows the photographer to create expansive images that are sharp from the foreground to the background. Wildlife photographers typically shoot with super telephoto lenses, 400mm and longer, as they are unable to get … [Read more...] about Why are there so many lens choices?
Most people clean the front of the lens, but they forget to clean the rear element. Before you remove your lens, blow and wipe off around the back part of the lens. This will prevent loose dirt or dust from entering the camera. Inspect the rear element and clean it the same way you cleaned the front of the lens. Put the lens back on and take a test shot of a wall or the sky. If the dust spots are gone, you don’t need to clean the sensor. Want to learn more? Check out this article, "How to Clean Your Camera Sensor and Lens (Video included)" … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: When cleaning a lens, don’t forget the rear element
When I first started photography, I didn’t take my buddy’s advice — invest in a better quality lens before upgrading your camera. It was a mistake I never made again. So when it came time to decide if I need a prime lens in my bag, I called on his advice again. Instead of telling me what to do, he explained the difference between a prime and zoom lens plus the benefits of each for me to make my own decision. Here’s how I used his advice many years ago when deciding which portrait lens was best for me. Understanding prime and zoom lenses A … [Read more...] about Should I get a prime or zoom lens?
You just got a fancy new camera, with a shiny kit lens that, for the most part, has served you well in your beginning everyday adventures. Now you want to take your photography to the next level, whether it's getting a farther reach and being able to capture that dream-like bokeh that you hear everyone talking about or obtaining a more encompassing view. So, what's the next lens you should buy? There are a few different ways to go about answering the question, but the answer comes back to one question that you have to answer yourself — … [Read more...] about Photography 101: Which lens should you buy first?
When we look at the basic principles of photography, one of the key elements has to do with focal length. When describing a lens, this is the first thing that comes to mind and what it is is a bit of a mystery. This article describes what focal length does. Focal length affects your angle of view and determines how much or little of a scene will be captured. As you zoom in, your angle of view decreases. The subject becomes magnified. Likewise, as you zoom out, more of a scene will be captured, and objects decrease in apparent size. Simply … [Read more...] about Photography 101: Why Focal Length Matters
Sigma Corporation of America has announced that it will introduce seven new E-Mount lenses for Sony mirrorless cameras to their Global Vision Art series. Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Additionally, two new Art lenses will be Introduced at … [Read more...] about Sigma Goes Big with Seven E-Mount ART Lenses for Sony Mirrorless Cameras
Fractals, people, are the new must-haves in my camera bag. I was introduced to Fractals at WPPI. My friend and fellow photographer, Kathy Mukhopadhyay, bought a set and mentioned that they were doing live demos throughout the trade show if I wanted to check them out. I snuck over briefly to see what all the fuss was about and let me just tell you, their booth was packed! People were jammed into their little area just to see what all the talk was about. Sadly by the time I had gotten up front they were already sold out. That's how hot this item … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Fractals (Your New Must-Have)
Last week I was assigned to photograph President Trump during his visit to Manchester, NH. I try to bring all gear I might need on the first trip to the site. Quite often it is a very long walk from the parking lot to the press entrance. Once you are inside you don't want to go back out, or you may not be allowed to go back out through security. After you go through the press entrance, you proceed to press check-in, where you are issued your press pass for the day. Often there are long lines to wait in as credentials are … [Read more...] about What’s In the Bag: Gear I Use to Photograph President Trump
I'm a part of several photography groups on Facebook, and some provide a suggestion to provide your camera settings for any photos you uploaded. Things like aperture, shutter speed and ISO, for instance. And while it can certainly be interesting to see these settings and see what they can do in certain situations, they don't matter in the long run. Settings Won't Help to Recreate a Photograph Unless you're shooting in a studio with no windows and can control the environment completely, settings won't be the end-all to recreating a … [Read more...] about Knowing the Camera Settings for a Photo Isn’t Really Important
When packing for trips, I find myself seesawing between my Fuji X system and Nikon DSLRs. We do underwater, street, nature and landscape photography. Do I pack the Fuji X-Pro2, the crop sensor Nikon D500 and my old D800 or complicate things and buy the new Nikon D850? Earlier this winter, we were packing for street and winter nature and landscape photography in Japan. My wife and partner in Aperture Photo Arts is a die-hard Fuji shooter and between us, we have most of the Fuji X lenses and spare camera bodies. This was the logical … [Read more...] about Rediscovering a lens that I already owned
(Editor's Note: Our friends at MPB.com have some really great deals on select used camera bodies and lenses. MPB is a great place to sell your used gear that's lying around taking up space.) Save on cameras, lenses and other photographic equipment by buying used. Sell cameras and lenses you are no longer using at MPB.com. … [Read more...] about Great Savings on Used Gear Week of 02/12/2018
Olympus have announced three pro-level lenses, and they all boast a wide aperture of f/1.2. Let's take a brief look at each and check out sample pictures from Olympus Visionary Tracie Maglosky. M.Zuiko ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro This new 45mm f/1.2 lens is the most interesting to me. As a medium telephoto length, it should be terrific for portraits and landscapes. It focuses closer than 16 inches, so it's a respectable close-up lens, as well. The very wide f/1.2 aperture is attractive for both low light performance and soft bokeh in the backgrounds of … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: Olympus’s New f/1.2 Pro Lenses
(Editor’s note: Guest contributor Steve Inglima concludes his series of posts about the view camera and how its aesthetic informs digital photography. This article offers ways to add view camera functions to DSLRs. Read part 1, part 2 & part 3.) With an understanding of the benefits of having independent controls over front and rear standard movement, What can we do to bring that utility, capability, set of sensibilities to the digital realm and the size of the silicon sensor used for most digital capture? Miniaturizing the view camera … [Read more...] about The View Camera Aesthetic in the Digital Realm part 4
Over the past couple of years, there has been a wave of super wide-angle telephoto lenses released on the market. Ideal for huge landscapes, vast night skies, or anything your wide-angle imagination conjures up. They offer big views, exceptional sharpness, and a whole realm of creative possibilities. My personal favorite is the Tamron 15-30mm, but, regardless of the brand, with super wides, their big beautiful front element projects out a distance from the lens body. This means that you can't use traditional threaded filters that screw on the … [Read more...] about Product Review: Haida 150 Series Insert Filter and Holder System
A sense of dread begins to fill you as frightening words and symbols flash before your eyes. Afraid all is lost, you begin to panic... An error message has appeared on your camera screen! An error message is a sure way to send blood pressure skyrocketing and heart beat racing. Often the messages are cryptic at best, requiring you to look it up while envisioning an expensive repair bill for your camera. But, some of the most common errors I have seen on DSLRs in my photographic endeavors are due to communications issues between the lens and … [Read more...] about Fast DIY Fix for a Common Camera Error
I'm an evangelist for mirrorless. The mirrorless cameras are driving innovation and bringing the best changes to the way we make photographs. I tell everyone I meet that they should consider a mirrorless camera, and while they are amazed by the features and intrigued by the possibilities, they all say the same thing: "But I have all these lenses for my current camera--I'm too invested to change!" I understand that feeling, but I've had a different experience. Did you know that I've owned 27 Interchangeable Lens Cameras (ILC's) in the last 7 … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: The #1 Problem With Mirrorless
Mirrorless cameras are wonderful tools, and I'm going to be writing regularly about their attributes. Quick intro to Micro Four Thirds, a.k.a. MFT, M43, Micro 4/3. The key characteristics are that they have interchangeable lenses, they are almost always smaller than DSLR's, they generally cost less than DSLR's for similar features, and they have a sensor that is smaller than DSLR's. The sensor is shaped in a 4x3 ratio, not a 2x3 ratio like DSLR's, which makes a picture that is less wide. One thing that makes Micro 4/3 cameras significantly … [Read more...] about Everything You Need To Know About Micro 4/3 Lenses
Tamron redefines the fast telephoto zoom category with the introduction of the next generation 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom and introduces a compact, high-performance 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 di ii vc hld ultra-wide angle zoom with vibration compensation. February 6, 2017, Commack, NY- Tamron, a leading manufacturer of optics for diverse applications, announces the launch of two new lenses--SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 (Model A025) and 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD (Model B023). The SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 The SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 is a … [Read more...] about Tamron Announces Two New Promising Lenses
I'm always interested in improvements in camera technology. Just as devices, batteries, screens, and camera sensors keep getting smaller... so will lenses. To date, lens technology hasn't changed much, but that might not be for long. A group of scientists have created tiny meta-material lenses. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETx_fjM5pms To learn more: Read the research: http://scim.ag/1XkkseL … [Read more...] about The Future of Lens Technology
The latest release of Lightroom CC 2015 includes a new more controllable version of Upright and a new Transform panel in the Develop module. Here's a Photofocus first look Upright has moved Upright, formerly found in the Lens Correction panel, has moved to the new Transform panel. All of the Upright modes you have grown to love-Auto, Level, Vertical and Full-are still there along with a new addition: Guided. My photograph of work being done to the town hall in Brussels' Grand Place is a great one to show how Guided Upright … [Read more...] about “Guided Upright” New in Lightroom
Bryan O'Neil Hughes and Howard Pinsky join Melissa Niu and Rich Harrington to discuss the state and future of Photoshop. Bryan, the Senior Product Manager for Photoshop at Adobe, helps us understand how the Photoshop team works, and Rich and Howard demonstrate must know techniques, all hosted by Melissa Niu. Photoshop techniques discussed include: Content Aware Fill tools, Video, Camera RAW as a Smart Filter, and Adaptive Wide Angle Lens correction. https://youtu.be/jjUYF4xLb_g … [Read more...] about Instant Replay: The Future of Photoshop and Must Know Techniques
In this episode, Rob Sylvan and Levi Sim answer questions about Lightroom. There are several terrific gems and pro-user tips on tools like making presets, using the print module, adjustment brush presets, and more. Hosted by: Rob Sylvan and Levi Sim Produced by: Rich Harrington and Photofocus.com https://youtu.be/DXWIQZw25aA?t=6m37s … [Read more...] about Instant Replay: Lightroom Q&A
This weeks Photofocus Podcast you get to hear Richard Harrington and Scott Bourne answer your questions in the Q & A show. Once a month Rich and Scott take your questions and dive into discussions that help you learn and grow as a photographer. Get the show here or get it on iTunes — Don’t forget to post a review on iTunes. Q&A PODCAST 1. I hear the terms Global and Local Adjustments discussed by photographers. Could you give examples of each? Ross 2. I have an Epson printer that I use to make 8x10” prints … [Read more...] about The Q & A Show | Photofocus Podcast April 7, 2016
I often see photographers misusing an important piece of gear, and it's one of the simplest tools in your bag. Many lenses come with a lens hood, and right now I'll show you why you have it and why you should be using it. What's It Do? The lens hood is intended to keep the sun from shining into the front of your lens, and ruining your pictures. Not that it'll keep the sun from shining in if you point it at the sun, but it keeps the sun from shining across the front of the lens and reducing contrast. These two pictures are taken straight … [Read more...] about The 411 on Lens Hoods
As a working professional who relies on Canon gear to run my business, I get excited when I wake up to news that there's a new flagship camera on the market. This morning, Canon dropped the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. While I am a self professed non-techie, I still felt obligated to check out the specs to see what they could mean for me: Price Point: Gulp. Let's face it. This camera is $6 grand ($5,999) and that's a lot of money for most of us. That's twice the price point of what (I would argue) are Canon's most popular pro cameras in the 5D … [Read more...] about My First Impressions of the New Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
You gotta join us live for our next Google+ Hangout, totally free of charge. Not only will you learn terrific techniques, but if you tune in live, you can be entered to win excellent prizes to help you in your work. (Note: MUST BE TUNED IN LIVE TO WIN). We'll be giving away a copy of Perfectly Clear from Athentech. Plus you never know what else. We kick off Monday 2/15 at 2:00 pm Eastern, 1:00 pm Central, 12:00 pm Mountain, and 11:00 am Pacific. 3:30 pm in Newfoundland. RSVP here and it'll show your local time. This Month: Conquering … [Read more...] about Lightroom Hangout: Lies Cameras Tell
As a portrait photographer, I love getting a close, tight shot that really captures the personality of my subject. Understanding the limitations and effects your gear has on the final image is vital. Close up portraits are typically shot using a focal length of 85mm or longer, but when starting out, these lenses may not be an option. It is common for photographers to start out using a 50mm lens and grow their arsenal from there. I love my "Nifty 50." When shooting in a small space, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G is my go-to lens most of the time. I … [Read more...] about Lens Distortion in Portraits
We all have been in that situation at the camera store where the salesman asked us if we want to add a protective filter to protect the front element of the expensive lens that we have just bought. And the argument of the salesperson sounds plausible at first. The front element is exposed the most to the elements and most at risk to be damaged. But here are a few points from my experience that should have you think twice about buying and adding one to your lens: Do you really want to put an inferior piece of glass in front of you top grade … [Read more...] about Why Christmas is the perfect time to take that protective filter off!