Another photographer and I were shooting together yesterday at Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga National Park. During the time we were there we saw dozens of people taking pictures of the waterfall. Most of them were in full auto-exposure mode, making no personal changes in their exposure settings whether they were photographing the waterfall, each other, or the leaves in the trees. I bet most of them had no idea that they had turned important artistic decisions over to a computer chip.
More photos are taken of people than any other photographic subject. Whether your thing is casual slice of life photos, or you want to do more formal portraits, here are some excellent books to help you take memorable and eye-catching photos.
When I picked this book up off the shelf, I couldn’t put it down, at least not until I put it down on the check out desk and bought it. There have been some very fine illustrated history of photography books that have come and gone, but this is far and away my favorite.
I have no idea how Michael Freeman can be a well traveled, international photographer and still find time to write so many terrific photography books. But somehow he manages to do both. I suspect he never sleeps. I imagine him creating images and writing books 24 hours a day, stopping only to eat once or twice a week!!
Is composition something that can be taught, or is it innate? Probably a bit of both. It is hard to look at photographs by Frans Lanting, Art Wolfe, Galen Rowell, and Dewitt Jones without coming to the conclusion that they were born with some kind of innate sense of composition. On the the other hand, it is clear that photographers can improve dramatically with the right kind of guidance.
Art Wolfe is a world class photographer, and it shows in The Art of the Photograph. There are a lot of books on photographic composition (I own several, and I’ve looked through a lot more in various libraries), but this is far and away the best introduction to photographic composition I have come across. If you aren’t an experienced professional photographer, this book is an absolute must read. (I am assuming professionals already know this stuff.)
Do you want to buy a Canon DSLR and/or lenses on a budget? This article is for you.
Originally posted May 2, 2017. Revised and re-posted Nov. 1, 2017.
Jennifer Blakeley does beautiful newborn photography. Her celebrity client list includes Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green; Vanessa and Donald Trump Jr.; and Jocelyn Towne and Simon Helberg (Big Bang Theory). She is also the founder of Alphabet Photography. A highly respected and award winning Canadian photographer, she has also worked with the Canadian Olympics Gymnastic Team.
With 12 books, hundreds of magazine articles, over a dozen instructional videos, and numerous workshops to his credit, digital photography expert Tim Grey really knows his stuff. In one of his eNewsletters, Tim gives this excellent recommendation for Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies:
Many photographers say Light: Science and Magic is THE best book on photographic lighting – and I agree with them. If you intend to be seriously involved in photography, this book should be on your required reading list.
I’ve been recommending DPReview for years in my photography classes, workshops and online. It is one of the best camera review sites. One of the nice features is the ability to download full size JPEG test images of their “standard studio scene” for comparison purposes.
Is it a great deal? Or is it a rip-off? You are searching online for a good price and you come across a terrific deal. Are you about to get burned? There are ways you can tell.
Would you rather pay $3 – $4 for a poor quality 8×10 inch print that will fade in 18 years, 9 years or less, or would you prefer paying $2 – $3 for a very high quality 8×10 print that will last up to 50 years? People pay more money for prints with a short life expectancy all the time. Why? Because they don’t have the right information, and they may have no idea that prints have such widely different life spans.
The lab you choose and the kind of file you send to your lab can make a big difference in the quality of print you get back. How do you pick a good online photo lab? How do you get the best results from your lab? What color space should you use for your digital files and how do you convert your files to the right color space? How big a print can you make from your digital files?
Here is my list of “best of the best” of articles recommending the best photo gear, software, books, DVDs, calendars, online photo labs, and a whole lot more.
Originally posted Nov. 1, 2017. Most recent update: Dec. 11, 2017.
This is a list of books that were the most helpful to me when I took a serious interest in photography, and I continue to refer to them. These books were written back when film was king, but that makes them all the more valuable to today’s digital photographers. Some digital photography books get so lost in technical information that the heart and soul of photography can get lost. The best film photography books are about light and shadow, subjects, form, texture, line and shape – all of which applies to digital photography.
Are you ready to take your nature and wildlife photography to the next level? Are you ready to learn the professional secrets that make the difference between good images and great images? Are you ready for a high intensity, action packed, total immersion photography weekend? Come to Park of the Pines on beautiful Lake Charlevoix June 8-10, 2018.
Bob, my brother-in-law, and I were driving down the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway and stopped at the classic overlook between mile 38 and mile 39 between Nederland and Ward Colorado. This is a great location for both grand and intimate landscapes.
Cars stopped in both directions as the big bull elk crossed the two lane paved road at the west end of Horseshoe Park. Their cars still sitting on the road, motors running, everyone was out of their cars and snapping photos with phones, small point and shoot cameras, and serious camera gear. It would have been hard not to get a great photo, even with a smart phone.
If you haven’t done so already, read this article first: Don’t get ripped off! Part Seven. Comparison Test One: Telephoto Phone Lens vs DLSR and Zoom Lens. It will explain the background and methodology behind this comparison test.
I purchased the 8-18X telephoto lens to check it out. Like the lens in Comparison Test One, it is another Chinese lens for smart phones. The ads for this lens say this lens is amazingly sharp. It is being sold for $59.99. That is an outrageous price of course. I found one on Amazon for less than $12. I knew when I bought it that it would not be worth $12. I had read other online reviews for this lens which point out how bad it is, but I wanted to see for myself.
Posted Sep. 22, 2017. Revised and expanded Dec. 12, 2017.
A red headlamp is an essential tool for night photography. Before you rush out and buy one, make sure it has the most essential feature (other than the red LED). Some inexpensive headlamps have this feature and some very expensive ones don’t, so cost is not the issue.
I found two interesting articles extolling the virtues of the Canon 7D Mark II (7D2) for astrophotography and wildlife.
iPhone photography has become a huge thing. According to Flickr, their millions of users take more pictures with an iPhone (47%) than any other camera. A lot of iPhone photographers are looking for add on lenses for their phone, and that may include you. So which lenses are the best?
Posted Sep, 19, 2017. Revised and expanded Dec. 2, 2017.
Posted Sep. 18, 2017. Expanded Dec. 2, 2017.
I see the ads for smart phone lenses on Facebook almost every day. You click on the link and you read an article that says their telephoto smart phone lens has “been tested, and found to equal or exceed the photos produced by such top makers as Zeiss, Leica, Nikon, Canon and Sony.” It is all utter nonsense of course, meant to fool clueless people into spending $56 or more on a poor quality lens that they could buy for as little as $4.00. So I decided to buy one of these lenses on the cheap and do my own comparison test.
Posted Sep. 18, 2017. Revised and expanded Dec. 12, 2017.
The short answer? Yes, it sucks. Long answer? Watch the video.
What are the best national parks to photograph in the fall? Here are my choices, grouped by state and province from west to east. This list includes the favorites I have been to, plus the ones I most want to see based on the recommendations of the photographers I trust, like Tim Fitzharris and QT Luong.
Originally posted September 14, 2017. Updated October 31, 2017.
Fall is a fabulous time of year to visit the national parks. Crowds are usually smaller than in the summer, temperatures are cooler, and some of our national parks have glorious fall colors. With so many to choose from, where should you go? Which national parks will provide the best photographic opportunities in the fall?