Best Photography Sites for Photographers

Here is my personal collection of what I consider some of (but not all of) the best sites for a photographer to use: Continue reading

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Photographic Meditation?

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Meditation

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Meditation – a seemingly “new age” type of word that strikes an unhealthy fear of “hippydom” into people everywhere. No, I am not a Krishna offering flowers at an airport. Nor am I saying anything extreme here. Humor me. Let me show you how I see photography as a kind of meditation of sorts. Continue reading

Easily Set Up Your Camera for Exposure Bracketing and HDR Stacking

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HDR (high dynamic range) image processing can be very cool for some types of photos. Whether done manually or with a dedicated HDR program, it almost always requires shooting multiple RAW images at various exposures then combining them in software during post-processing. I’ll show you how I set my camera to get the photos – without using a tripod in most cases. Continue reading

Take Better Sunrise and Sunset Photos

Sunrise and sunset photos are among the most photographed things in the world. It is a natural thing for anyone to shoot these because they are spectacular. But I see a lot of sunrise and sunset photos that are poorly exposed or just shot wrong. Here’s an easy way to shoot them. Continue reading

Why Shooting Landscapes and Nature is Better at f/11 or Less

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Shot at 8mm, f/5.6 on an APS-C camera. The focal point was about 1/3 of the way into the frame at a point about 30 feet from the camera on the green grass where it meets the road.

Almost everything you will read will tell you that to have a great looking landscape shot it has to be sharp from front to back, and you have to shoot at f/16 or f/22 to get that.

Not true.

That is not how it works in the real world with your eyes, and it is not how a camera or lens should be used either. I’ll break this down and destroy this myth. Continue reading

Review: The Sigma 8-16 mm Lens is Excellent for Landscapes

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Sigma’s 8-16 mm f/4.5-5.6 lens is the widest rectilinear lens made for APS-C sized cameras. This is the 35 mm equivalent of 12-24 mm. If sweeping landscape shots and front-interest images with tremendous depth are your things, then you’re going to love this lens.

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Back-Button Focusing and Why You Should Use It

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Back-Button Focus

Ever want to be able to switch from shooting a static landscape to shooting action without having to worry about changing focus modes? Want to capture moving objects in crisp focus? Use back-button focusing and you can have it all. Here’s how to set it up. Continue reading

Microstock Photo Rewards and Rejections

I’ve submitted many photos to microstock sites (sites that sell stock photos) and have had many rejections. All my rejected photos are perfectly good – even excellent.¬† However, the microstock sites have their specific criteria, and they are very, very picky.¬† Rejections are either for the noise of various kinds or content.

I’ve developed a technique that works to clean up the photos for submission that I will share with you in an upcoming post.¬† As for the content, now that’s a different story, and you have to learn what these sites want before shooting and uploading.¬† The microstock sites themselves will have content guides to help you.

With all the difficulty and prospects of rejection, why bother with microstock sites?

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Meaningless Labels on Photographers

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I’ve been reading a lot of camera and lens reviews lately, and they all label the users as one thing or another:¬†Pro, Semi-Pro, Enthusiast, Novice, Casual User, Hobbyist, Amateur. I’m here to tell you; that’s all a bunch of nonsense. I stop reading when I see them labeling me or my equipment as one of these. I think you should too. Here’s why: Continue reading

Naming and Describing Photos – A New Idea

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The Dreaded Photo Title and Description

I should have better titles for my photos but I absolutely hate trying to come up with a catchy name for a photo.¬†I often just name a photo whatever it looks like, for example “Shore Birds” for a photo that shows a bunch of birds on the shore. The description also follows the same form – just describing what it is that is in the photo.

This is not very good.

I would like to have better titles and descriptions because this could potentially excite prospective buyers into buying my photos. But, coming up with titles is difficult and I needed a way to do this.

Below: An Example of a Bland Description from My Instagram Account @larslentzphotography

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A bright green tree #frog hiding in the garage door.

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I looked at what other photographers are doing for their titles and descriptions, and they fall into one of two different categories:

  1. Weak – Titles and descriptions are just like I’ve already described and are not very exciting at all.
  2. Over-the-Top – Crazy descriptions and fantasy-sounding titles that really don’t make me want to buy or even take the photographer seriously.

These are both bad, and clearly a better system is needed to describe and title photos. Continue reading

Getting the Correct Color in Lightroom and DxO Software

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DxO and Lightroom

When used together, DxO software and Lightroom work very well. However, I noticed an issue with my workflow and it was the color of the images. The greens and reds were noticeably stronger in DxO than in Lightroom, for the exact same photo. Here’s what I found out was the problem… Continue reading

Care What YOU Think

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Who can't be happy on a beach?

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The Caring Trap

As a photographer, you probably care a lot about what other people think of your photos. Right? This is not a bad thing. The opinions of others is often the only way you’ll get the feedback you need to help you progress in the quality of your photography. But, don’t take it too far, or you’ll fall into a nasty trap.¬† Continue reading

Native ISO and Noise

ISO Settings In Your Camera

ISO settings can drastically affect your photos and you should know where to set the ISO in every circumstance.

Your goal as a photographer is to both get the shot and to have an acceptably low-noise photo as a result. High ISO levels result in higher noise levels in your photos. The best ISO level for the least amount of noise is your camera’s “native ISO.” Native ISO (also known as “Base ISO”) refers to the ISO level that is where the camera sensor’s “fullest” light level corresponds to the same level of fully exposed film. The details are unimportant, but it is important to know the following: Continue reading

A Photo Critique

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A Photo Critique

Here is a photo (small version above) that I posted to Nature Photographer’s Network. Click the photo or the link [here] to visit the page. It will be up for about a month after this post. There you will see the helpful critiques you can get on your photos if you post them there. I would highly recommend it, but also remember to take the criticism with care – it is not all helpful. Here are some of the critiques so far… Continue reading

Easy Night Sky Photography

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How to Take Great Night Photos

What a lot of people don’t know is that it is relatively inexpensive and easy to take great night photos. The Milky Way, stars, and Moon are all within your reach. You can get some extremely cool-looking photos of them without a lot of effort. Here’s how…
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Photo Artifacts in Stock Photography Submissions

“Artifacts”

If you’ve ever submitted a photo to a stock photo site such as iStockphoto, Bigstockphoto, Fotolia, or any of the stock and microstock photo sites, then you may have heard from them that “your photo has artifacts.” But what are these “artifacts” they speak of? And, more importantly, how can you get rid of them?

Some Guidelines (from my experience)

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Expose to the Right? NO! Go left!

Exposure

“Expose to the right” has been a popular saying and method of exposure for digital photographers for years,¬†and it works in some cases. I’ll show you how to go the other way and make it work also. Maybe the time of “expose to the right” is almost over (in some cases). Here’s why… Continue reading

Maximum Lens Sharpness – The “Sweet Spot”

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What is a lens’s “sweet spot?”

Everybody wants sharp and focused photos. You can get good sharpness near to far in a photo by hyperfocal focusing, but what are the limits of sharpness of your lens? At what aperture (f-stop value) will you get the sharpest photos? This is also known as the “sweet spot” of the lens. Here is a simple test you can do to find out where your lens is sharpest. But first, some basic rules…

General Rules for Lenses

The rules are about the same for every lens. Here are the general ones: Continue reading

Copyright Your Photos

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Why Copyright? Why not?

With the software for image processing and the cameras available today, is there any reason why someone would not apply copyright information to their photos?¬† Why, yes, yes there is — it’s called “oversight” and “stupidity.”¬† For as easy as it is, there really is no excuse not to apply your copyright to your images.¬† Protect them.¬† They’re yours.

I use Lightroom software to import and touch up my photos, and there is a provision for applying copyright information to the metadata of your image right at the point of import.  I simply fill in the field that applies metadata and save it as my own preset.  When the photos are imported from my camera into Lightroom, the copyright notice is automatically applied.

In-Camera

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Choosing a Focus Mode and AF Frame

Focusing Modes Explained

Choosing a focusing mode (also called AF Mode) for your camera can be confusing. Very confusing. It’s not something you’re going to want to be thinking about when you’re ready to shoot, that’s for sure! Here’s a simple explanation for some common focus modes and how I use them. Continue reading

Printing and Displaying Photos Like Peter Lik

My photo of the entrance to The Peter Lik Gallery in Key West Florida just before I went inside.

Peter Lik is an amazing landscape photographer, and I’ve admired his work for years. I’ve ¬†been to his art galleries in Hawaii and Key West Florida, and the things that make his photos stand out to me are how he displays his work and how he prints them. I’ve studied his work and here’s what I’ve learned:

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