Getting Landscapes Sharp: Hyperfocal Distances and Aperture Selection An important element of landscape photography is ensuring that all of the key elements within your composition are sharp. This can often include foreground objects that are a matter of meters from your camera as well as background elements that can be kilometres away. Therefore, to achieve this, you need to ensure your depth of field is large enough to render everything of interest, suitably sharp. In this scene it was important to capture everything from the frozen puddle in the foreground, to the hills in the background, in sharp focus When you focus on an individual point within your landscape, you are in fact creating a plane of focus that lies parallel to the sensor. A theoretical example showing the depth of field for a given focal length, aperture and point of focus. In the diagram above, the depth of field is not sufficient to capture all of the trees within the range of acceptable sharpness, i.e. they will appear out of focus. Hyperfocal Distance Aperture Selection
Top 10 Mistakes that Cause Blurry Photos If your photos are not sharp, you are not alone! The most common question I get asked by beginning photographers is “how do you get your images so sharp?” Blurry photos is very common issue with a whole plethora of possible culprits, making it very difficult to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. But if you go through this list of the top 10 mistakes that cause blurry photos, you will probably find the answer that works for you. 1. This is the #1 culprit of blurry photos. Using a 400mm lens, I selected a shutter speed of 1/400th of a second to reduce the possibility of camera shake. Some lenses and cameras have image stabilization technology built into them – particularly with longer focal lengths. What is YOUR minimum shutter speed? In addition to this rule of thumb, it’s important to know your own personal minimum shutter speed. 2. 3. Proper technique when hand-holding your camera. 4. When a lens finds focus, it locks in on a specific distance known as the plane of focus. 5. 6. 7. 8.
How to Cut Out the Subject From the Background in Photoshop This video by Chris from Spoon Graphics does a good job of going over many of the options available inside Photoshop for cutting things out. The most common use is to cut out the subject from the background, to place it on a different image or background – as in when making composite images. Watch as he goes over the options for cutting things out: Quick and dirty selection tools and methods: Eraser tool (not the best choice, this is shown in the video)The Magic Wand toolQuick Selection tool Pro techniques tools include: Manually drawing the selectionLasso tool (can be frustrating and tricky to use)Pen tool (also using Paths)Tonal selectionChannels (plus Curves or Levels)Color range (quick selections based on tones in an image)Layer masksRefine edge toolDefringe to remove halos and outlinesPaint hair back in manuallyBuy a Photoshop plugin like Topaz Remask Here’s a second video from Glyn Dewis that puts some of those techniques to use to cut out a tree from the background.
How to use Focal Length and Background Compression to Enhance Your Photos One of the most common uses for zoom lenses is, as their name suggests, to zoom in on objects that are far away. These lenses are fantastic for getting close-up views of nature, architecture, wildlife, or anything else that might be little more than a speck to the naked human eye. Some cameras like the Nikon Coolpix P900 let you get a close-up view of objects a few miles away. While this flexibility might seem like a rather tempting proposition for getting close to objects without physically moving yourself, there is another often-overlooked benefit of zoom lenses when taking portraits or other types of pictures with one clear subject in front of a vast spread of scenery – background compression. Understanding how this works, and how you can manipulate it, can transform your approach to portrait photography and give your pictures the type of visual boost that you might have always wanted, but never knew how to achieve. 18mm focal length, f/7.1, 1/80th of a second, ISO 100
Fine Tune Your Exposures With Spot Metering The metering systems of today’s digital cameras are light years beyond cameras of just 10 to 15 years ago. What this means is that in many situations, the camera’s meter, left to its own devices, is going to do an excellent job at getting a good exposure. While evaluative (or matrix) metering and center-weighted average metering take into account the entire scene, albeit in different ways, spot metering mode provides a tool for metering only the part of the scene you as the photographer consider most important. I used spot metering on this image due to the sun setting over her shoulder, making the sun and sand exceptionally bright behind her. By metering on the model’s shoulder, I was able to maintain detail in the shadow areas, without hurting the drama of the lighting. Spot metering is especially helpful when the subject is much brighter or darker than the background, and the subject does not make up a majority of the image. When I saw this shot I immediately knew what I wanted.
How to Avoid Blurry Photos by Choosing the Right Autofocus Mode Sometimes the light is perfect, the moment is right, but when you get home you find out that your photo is blurry. Arrgh! Why are your pictures blurry? One obvious reason might be that your camera isn’t focused properly. Here are some questions to help you diagnose any situation and choose the correct auto focus setting Photo by Lynford Morton Are you using the Auto-area autofocus or Single-point autofocus selection? Who gets to decide your focus point? For more control, choose a Single-point autofocus setting. Is your subject moving? Most DSLR cameras give you four basic options for autofocus settings: single, continuous, auto or manual. No, my subject is not moving If your subject is not moving, choose “AF-S” for Nikon or “One Shot” for Canon. This mode also allows you to recompose. Yes, my subject is moving By Amsterdamized If your subject is moving, use continuous autofocus (AF-C for Nikon or AI Servo for Canon). No, my subject isn’t moving, but it might How about the opposite situation?
Good Crop Bad Crop - How to Crop Portraits All images © Gina Milicia 2015 “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” ? Pablo Picasso When it comes to knowing what is right for me there are a few things I know for sure: First, garlic and ice cream are never meant to be mixed together. If who have read my other articles or ebooks, you will know that I’ve also learned many lessons in my photography career from stupid mistakes, or lapses in judgement. When it comes to how I crop my portraits there are a few cropping styles I try to avoid because just like eating garlic ice cream I have learnt what works best for me. How I crop my portraits is just as important to defining my style as the lens I use, the way I light, and how I process my files. I always crop a shot below the knee, mid-thigh, at the waist, across forearm, or through the top of head. I avoid cropping at any of the joints of the body. Here are my top five tips for how to crop portraits: #1 Crop In-Camera #2 If it bends don’t crop it Like This Post?
Should you be shooting RAW? You can find many articles online discussing the benefits of shooting in RAW and probably an equal number full of counter arguments stating that it is possible to obtain equally good results shooting in JPEG. Whilst that is definitely true, I want to discuss the reasons that pushed me to exclusively use RAW in the hope that it can persuade others to do the same. I liken RAW processing to taking the camera off ‘auto’ and shooting in ‘manual’ mode. When people are starting out in digital photography, it can seem like another area full of technical jargon that forms a barrier preventing its uptake. However, once you have an small understanding of the processes involved and how different settings can impact your results, you will find that letting your camera do the processing can be the limiting factor in achieving your photographic vision. What is RAW? A RAW file is an uncompressed image file that records the data from the sensor ‘as is’, with minimal processing. The benefits of RAW
Deleting is Good for You! This is where your bad images belong! The Most Powerful Keyboard Shortcut You Never Knew So you’ve got some skills, can take a decent photo and know a bit about how to post process. Deleting is Good One of the best things about digital photography is the ability to take lots of shots and experiment. Soon after starting to shoot seriously I became very aware of my growing image collection, however it took me a long time to realize that most of this was just dead hard disk space. What I Do Reviewing your own image library needn’t be a big deal, I keep it to three simple steps: Right after I import my images from the camera, I do a quick review and straight away delete any of the obvious rejects (blurry, wonky etc).Second step is to do all my post processing, again rejecting any obvious duds. Benefits: Deleting your old images can be beneficial in a number of ways: It frees up hard disk space – Any image which once its taken is never viewed again, printed or posted is a waste of resources.
Tips for Shooting Landscapes with a Telephoto Lens Landscape photography is often synonymous with wide-angle lenses, strategically placed foreground elements and all encompassing vistas that stretch from the very near to the very far. There is no doubt that using that approach can create wonderful images that lead the viewer through a grand landscape however there is also merit in taking a different approach and using a telephoto lens. This rolling farmland was isolated using a focal length equivalent to 280mm, f/13, 1/200s, ISO 200, using a tripod Often, when photographing a landscape, there is a particular element of the scene that has caught your eye and made you want to capture the image. The approach taken to shoot landscapes with a telephoto lens is similar to when using a wide-angle lens, though there are some additional considerations. 1. 2. 3. 4. A Tuscan landscape captured using a focal length equivalent to 120 mm 5. 6. A panorama stitched from 7 images taken at a focal length equivalent to 100 mm. 7.