How to Shoot Better Photos More Quickly

When you see a great shot or say to yourself “that would make a great photo,” you want to be able to actually take that photo – right now. You don’t want to fumble around with your camera and lenses. Here’s a simple, simple way to take shots more quickly. (And, you’ll get better results.)

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Photographic 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

A Free Photography Lesson


I get asked fairly often if I give photography lessons. No, not really. But in this post is my primary method and you can have it for free. It is my gift to you.

But first, a discussion of the lessons that are out there. Photography lessons fall into only a few categories, in my opinion. They are as follows:
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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


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

The Rule About Rule-breaking in Photography

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Here's looking at you.

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Why Should You Break the Rules of Photography?

Photographs can start to look all the same. Look at any great site like 500px for example and you will find a lot of really great photos. But, they’re all about the same in technical quality and composition. Sure, different subjects, but still there is a “sameness” to them.

This is not surprising at all. Everyone in photography strives to get the best shot possible and to follow the rules of good composition. These are the things that make great photos. But it is consistently the rule-breakers that stand out in any crowd, isn’t it?

So you should stand out and you should break the rules at some point in your photography. But, when?

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Werner Herzog’s “Life Rules” and Photography


Werner Herzog’s “Rules” and Photography

Werner Herzog’s “life rules” (my term, not his) appear on the back of the latest book about this great film director as written by Paul Cronin. I find them uniquely suited to photography and have written my own interpretation and use of each.

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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

A Photo Critique


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

Maximum Lens Sharpness – The “Sweet Spot”


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

How much camera do you need?


How Much Camera Do I Really Need?

The question inevitably will come up: “How much camera do I really need?”

It’s not possible to know the answer to this unless you know what you will do with the camera.  But, here is a rough guide:

  • Pro: the most camera you can buy for the money, dSLR, of course.
  • Semi-pro: not more than a 15 Mp dSLR (Canon T1i/D500)
  • Amateur: a high-end point and shoot (Canon G-series)
  • Hobbyist: a compact point and shoot (Nikon L-series)
  • Novice: a low-end point and shoot (maybe even just a camera phone)

This is a proven list by the way.  I’ve lived it and I own those listed above.

What am I?

“But, what am I?”, you ask. Well here is another list for that: 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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Why You Need a Fast-Loading Photography Website

One distinct advantage that any photography website can have over another is the “load time.” This is the time it takes for a visitor to see and interact with the website.

If a site loads too slow, the viewer will not stick around to see the artist’s content. (click to tweet)

Here is a video that shows the load times of my site at  compared with Peter Lik’s site at

The Authentic Photographer and Artist

What Does “Authentic” Really Mean?

To be truly great, fine-art photographs must be more than simply viewed, they must be felt. There must be an emotional reaction: “Oh, that’s really nice.” “Woah, what a shot!” “Wow. Amazing.” Don’t you agree? What was your reaction when seeing a great photo for the first time? Continue reading

Composition and the Mind – A Modification of the Rule of Thirds

When I go to take a photo of something, I think first about the composition. I go through all of the rules I’ve learned about what looks best to people and where to position each element in the photo. But I’ve often wondered why some of these rules of composition work in the first place.

It really comes down to how we think when we see things, and it is interesting and very helpful to know this when setting up for a shot. Here’s an example… Continue reading

Video: Metallic Paper Prints

Click to ViewWhat is “metallic paper” and what does a photo look like when printed on it? Metallic paper will make a photo almost “glow” because it catches the light so well. Peter Lik uses metallic paper on his prints and look how great his are! In this short video, I’ll show you one of my photos printed on metallic paper, and give you an idea of how wonderful this material is to print photos on!

In addition, I’ll be showing you a 12″ x 36″ panoramic photo framed using an extremely simple and cost-effective method.

After viewing the video, if you are thinking of printing your photos on this material, I’ll let you know right now my source for this printing service is Bay Photo out in California. They’ve provided me with great product and I recommend them. The paper I use is Kodak Endura Metallic paper. They also have Fuji Pearl Metallic for an extra charge. The Fuji paper is what I believe that Peter Lik uses on his prints, but there is really no difference with the Kodak paper in my opinion as long as I soft proof my photos ahead of time and make the right adjustments.

If you’re interested in the frame for 12″ x 36″ panoramic photos that I show in the video, my source for that frame is my local Michael’s store where they call it a panoramic poster frame and it costs around $10 – $20 each.

I hope you enjoy the video!

Video: Thinwrap Prints

Click to view.What are “Thinwrap™  prints?” They are canvas wrapped on a thin backing, then float-mounted and ready-to-hang! In this short video, I’ll show you one of my photos printed as a Thinwrap™, and show you what it looks like, front and back. They are an economical alternative to metal or traditional canvas prints, and they really make a photo look great when hanging on your wall!

After viewing the video, if you are thinking of printing your photos on this material, I’ll let you know right now my source for this printing service is Bay Photo out in California. They’ve provided me with great product and I recommend them.

I hope you enjoy the video!

Video: Metal Prints

Click to view video.What are “metal prints?” They are one of the most durable, beautiful, and easy-to-hang photo mediums available! In this short video, I’ll show you one of my photos printed on metal, and give you an idea of just how fantastic this material is!

After viewing the video, if you are thinking of printing your photos on this material, I’ll let you know right now my source for this printing service is Bay Photo out in California. They’ve provided me with great product and I recommend them.

I hope you enjoy the video!

Same Location – Different Photos

Isn’t it funny how two people can look at the same thing and see something slightly different? Or maybe even completely different? The same happens in photography. With well-photographed areas and attractions, it is easy to see how the perspective of the photographer comes into play in making the photo! By the end of this post, I hope you will see what I mean…

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Photography Videos – Reviews and Comments

I’ve watched a few videos on photography.  Here are my reviews of what I’ve seen so far.

I’ve put a star rating by each, and a short comment also. Here’s what my star ratings mean:

  1. 1 star –   *—-, I didn’t like it. I’ve sold it used, returned it, or thrown it away.
  2. 2 stars – **—, It’s not that good.
  3. 3 stars – ***–, It’s o.k. Not great. I got something out of it. A small part of it is useful. I might keep it.
  4. 4 stars – ****-, It’s good. I liked it and got a lot out of it. I don’t refer to it too often though. It’s on my shelf.
  5. 5 stars – *****, It great! I like it and use it often, referring back to it from time to time. I get a lot out of it.

These are in no particular order.  Clicking on each title will take you directly to the video!

Updated February 2012. Here they are . . .

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Photography Books, e-Books, and Videos – Reviews and Comments

I’ve read several photography books and e-books, and some were good and some were not. Here are my reviews of most of the ones I’ve read. I’m updating this all of the time, so just because the post date here is old, the information in here is not!

I’ve set up individual posts for each type of media I’ve reviewed. Here are the links:

Review of Books

Review of e-Books

Review of Videos