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The rule of thirds is one of the most well-known aspects of composition in photography. When used effectively, it helps you create well-balanced and visually-appealing images. In this post, you will learn the basic definition of the rule of thirds and how to apply it to your photographs to make them more interesting. Continue reading ›

Learning the ins and outs of portrait photography is extremely useful, especially for those of you looking to create memorable images of your family and friends. Perhaps you would like to start a business specializing in portrait photography? In this post, you will learn a handful of effective tips to help you improve your portrait photography quickly. As with anything, practice makes perfect… so get out there and put these tips to good use.

Vietnam veteran portrait in black and white
Black and white portrait of a Vietnam Veteran smoking a cigarette in the sunlight. This image was originally shot RAW in full color, then converted to grayscale in Adobe Photoshop.
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Modern digital cameras are complex pieces of equipment with a wide variety of settings you can use to control how images are captured. One of these many settings is called metering, which is used to measure the light reflected off of the subject/s you are shooting. Understanding your camera’s metering modes and when to use each of them is crucial when it comes to properly exposing your images. In this post, you will learn how metering works and why it is important to keep it in mind while shooting.

Metering modes on a DSLR
Modern DSLRs are equipped with the three metering modes seen in this image: Matrix (Nikon) or Evaluative (Canon) Metering; Center-Weighted Metering; and Spot Metering. Canon also has a fourth mode called Partial Metering, which is similar to Spot Metering, but it samples a larger area of the frame.

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White balance is a setting on your camera which is used to control how colors are captured in different types of light. When you correctly set your white balance, you are taking into account the “color temperature” of the light in your scene. Color temperatures range from cool (blue tint) to warm (orange tint). Using the right white balance setting will eliminate unwanted color casts that can ruin your image and make it appear unnatural. In this post, you will learn about white balance, and why it’s important if you want to reproduce colors accurately in your images.

Camera white balance, a visual guide
As you can see from this visual guide I created, changing the white balance setting on your camera greatly affects the appearance of colors in your photographs. I took this photo of an exterior wall under a cloudy sky, so it makes sense that the Cloudy white balance setting most accurately displays the colors as they appeared in real life. These images were taken with a Nikon D610.
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Camera ISO, ranging from 100 all the way to 25,600 on a Nikon D610 DSLR.
As you can see from the images above, the grain gets progressively worse as the ISO is increased.

Aperture, shutter speed and ISO combine to make up the exposure triangle, which is the foundation of photography. It is crucial that you understand all three of these elements, and how they work together to create an exposure. In basic terms, the ISO setting determines your camera sensor’s level of sensitivity to light. Read on to learn more about ISO, and why it is so important. Continue reading ›

Shutter speed is one of the three elements that make up the exposure triangle, and plays a fundamental role in photography. Through the use of different shutter speeds, you can achieve a number of unique effects. Read on to learn more about shutter speed and why it is important that you pay attention to it while shooting.

Shutter speed displayed on top LCD of a Nikon D610 DSLR
Shutter speed is displayed on the top, in the center of the LCD screen on this Nikon D610 DSLR.

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Apertures on a Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 lens
Aperture stops on my Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 lens.

As a beginner in photography, aperture is one of the first things you will learn. Photography is all about exposing your camera’s digital sensor (or film if you still use it) to the right amount of light. An aperture is simply a hole or opening through which light travels. You can adjust the aperture on your lens, to either let in more light with a large aperture (low f/number) or less light with a small aperture (high f/number). Continue reading ›

All the dials, buttons and displays on digital cameras – point and shoots, mirrorless and DSLRs – can be overwhelming, especially for someone just starting out with photography. In this post, you will learn about the programmed auto (P), shutter-priority (S or TV), aperture-priority (A on Nikon or Av on Canon) and manual (M) camera exposure modes, and when to use each of them. These modes offer varying degrees of control over both shutter speed and aperture, giving you flexibility for different types of photo situations.

Camera exposure mode dial on a Nikon D610.
The camera exposure mode dial on my Nikon D610 DSLR.
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