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.
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.)
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.
Jennifer Blakeley does beautiful newborn photography. Her celebrity client list includes Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green; 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.
Out of hundreds of books in my photography library, these are my favorite all purpose photography books. This is a list of the 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 bogged down in digital technical information that the heart and soul of photography can get lost. The best film photography books are about the heart and soul of photography. They are light and shadow, subjects, form, texture, line and shape, and visual impact – all of which applies to digital photography.
Your photos will look their very best if you optimize them with high quality image editing software.
You need help. You can barely move. You are far enough from the trail that no one can hear your voice. You have no cell phone signal. What do you do?
Every now and then you hear tragic stories about people who lose their lives simply because they didn’t have a cell phone signal and couldn’t call for help in an unexpected emergency. A $260 – $340 satellite communicator would have saved their lives.
I read about a professional photographer who lost a bunch of photos because they were all on just one external hard drive with no backups. The cost of recovering the photos, if they can be recovered, will run between $500 and $5000 depending on the number of photos and the complications involved in the recovery process.
So your hard drive crashes or is damaged in some other way. Where should you send it? The choice is important. If you don’t send it to one of the first rate data-recovery services (expensive as they are), a cut rate company could mess up your drive and make it impossible for a first rate company to retrieve your data.
Your camera falls down a mountainside or off a cliff. An unexpected rogue wave drenches your valuable photo gear in salt water. Your photo backpack is stolen from your home, motel room, or trunk of your car. To add insult to injury, you learn your homeowner’s insurance will not replace the value of your damaged or stolen gear.
If you have precious slides, negatives, or prints that you want to scan, you have come to the right place. Choose wisely from the scanners that are available or you could get burned. A scanner that might be just fine for one person will be totally unsuitable for the next person. When it comes to scanners you need to know what you are getting and, just as importantly, what you aren’t getting. That is what this article is all about.
Don’t lose your digital photos to disc-rot or a hard drive crash. Choose the best archival storage options. Continue reading
Memory cards are the “film” for your digital camera. Quality is important. You don’t want to have a card failure and lose your important photos. A reliable brand is important.
CamRanger provides wireless image transfer from your camera to your laptop or smartphone. CamRanger also give you wireless control of your camera with your smart phone or laptop.
Astronomy is one of my hobbies so I get questions about telescopes. Here is some basic advice with suggestions as to places to go to get the best information.
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.
There’s no question that in some complex metering situations, an incident light meter can be quicker, faster, simpler, and more accurate than the meter in your camera. Many incident light meters can also measure light from an electronic flash, a huge bonus when you are using a flash in the manual mode.
Photographers are always looking for ways to soften the light when doing portraits. The light from an accessory flash can be quite harsh so there are a wide range of modifiers to soften the light for more pleasing portraits. Here are my favorites for both on-camera and off-camera flash.
If I am visiting family and friends and traveling by car, I often bring my “studio in a backpack”. I never know when I might be asked to do some portraits and having some studio gear along helps create better images (especially when natural light is not a very good option). If you want to do portraits on the road (or even at home), these items are very useful. You can order these items from Amazon via the link at the end of this article.
For the best combination of quality and price, it is hard to beat AlienBees studio lights. I’ve been using AlienBees in my studio for over 10 years, and like so many other photographers, I’ve been singing their praises. It would be hard to find the same quality for less money.
Should you spend $499 on a Canon 600EX-RT speedlite, or $138 on Yongnuo’s nearly identical clone, the YN600EX-RT? And what about the radio transmitters? Canon’s is $285 and the Yongnuo copy is $95. So you can buy three Yongnuo speedlites plus the radio transmitter ($509) for a few dollars more than the price of one Canon speedlite. The price advantage is clear, but what about quality, reliability, and service issues?
There are lots of advantages to getting your flash off the camera, and it is probably much less expensive than you think. If you already have a shoe mount speedlite and if your camera has a built in pop up flash a simple $50 optical slave (see below) is all you need to get your flash off the camera.
Twelve articles (links below) to get you started with off-camera flash. The equipment you will need and how to use it.
Getting your flash off the camera opens up a whole new world of photographic possibilities. And the really good news: the equipment is way less expensive than it used to be. If you are ready to get started, I just finished writing (or re-writing) a series of articles on off-camera flash that covers the equipment you will need and shows you how to use it.
If you aren’t careful, you could end up with a fake RØDE Microphone. If you already bought one, here’s how to tell if it is fake. If you don’t have a RØDE mic, here’s how to avoid buying a fake.