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

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Why Center-Weighted Average is the Right Metering Mode 85% of the Time

metering modes

metering modes

I Think That “Center-Weighted Average” Metering is Best (Usually)

As you can see from the image above, most cameras have at least three metering modes (the region where the camera measures light to calculate the exposure.) Some have four or more. For years, I only used “center-weighted average” because it was how I was taught, and it worked well. Well, it still works the best. After trying the other types of metering and thinking about it a bit, I think I know why.

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Back-Button Focusing and Why You Should Use It

back of camera

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

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

Easy Night Sky Photography

Milky Way

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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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

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

Camera Lens Filter Effects You Can’t Get From Post-Processing

Software can do a lot to post-process your photos, but it can’t do everything. Sometimes, you just have to use a filter on your camera to achieve certain photos. Here are what filters you will absolutely have to have on hand in order to get those shots! (click to tweet) Continue reading

Color Saturation – What is the limit?

I’m sure you’ve see what you think are “over-saturated” photos — those with too much color. But how much is too much?

The traditional way to judge this is purely subjectively by your own opinion and taste. Maybe you like more saturation or maybe you don’t. Maybe it fits with a particular subject and not with others. There are many variables to this and each needs further explanation and a breakdown. You’ll see, you have some decisions to make and a few tools that will help you: Continue reading

Highlight Recovery

I believe that a highlight recovery tool should never be used, but if it is unavoidable, then here is how I use it.

Highlight recovery is a technique where you try to get back the details in the brightest, blown-out, areas of a photo through software processing. I use Lightroom for this, but just about any image post-processing software has a control for this.

If you’re forced into using highlight recovery tools, then it means that you have portions of your image where the highlights (brightest areas) are blown out (overexposed and white). You use the highlight recovery tool to regain detail in those blown out areas, taking them out of their featureless state.

First, I would try to avoid having blown out highlights by… Continue reading

Lightroom Adjustments for Correct Prints

Let me guess. You’ve done these following things:

  1. You’ve adjusted your monitor(s) so you’re viewing colors and brightness correctly on your screen(s).
  2. You’ve adjusted your photos in Lightroom (or some other program) so they look great on your screen and across the world wide internet web.
  3. You’ve done some soft-proofing (see a previous post of mine for this one), but your photos look dark and off-color when soft-proofed.
  4. You’ve printed one/some of them and it/they look dark and off-color (similar to the soft-proof but maybe even darker).

You are in a baaaaaaaad spot my friend. You can’t print anything because it’s going to look like crap! And, if you make some adjustments, you’ll screw up your well-adjusted photos in Lightroom.

Never fear. Here’s what you can do! Continue reading