(Last Updated On: September 11, 2019)
60 most frequently asked questions by photographers

New to photography? We’ve compiled a useful and comprehensive photography guide for those wanting to learn more about photography. This guide does cover a lot, so you may want to grab a cup of tea before starting! Here are 60 commonly asked questions about photography:

Camera Settings

What are the basics of photography and taking good photographs?

It can be a daunting task getting started in the photography world, especially when it comes to learning how to use DSLR and mirrorless cameras. There are buttons, settings, and a myriad of menu options that can intimidate us at first.

However, brushing aside the photography jargon and focusing on the basics, there are really three main aspects of photography you should focus on in the beginning. Once you understand these three points and how they work together, you can begin to unleash your creativity and take better photographs. The three basic camera settings are:

Lighting is everything in photography, and learning these three components will give you a strong foundation to how exposure works.

What are megapixels?

Simply put, megapixels equal one million pixels. Too simple? Let me explain. Megapixels are tiny, little squares that make up an image.

More pixels means more squares filling up the entire photo. Many camera manufacturers out there will try to sell you cameras based on the number of megapixels, but it’s actually not the most important factor.

There a few tips you can follow to decide how many megapixels you really need. For instance, if you are wanting to print out a 4 x 6 photo, you simply multiply the width and height by 300. This would equal to 1200 x 1800. Then, you multiply the width and height together and divide it by a million. 1200 x 1800 = 2,160,000. 2,160,000/1,000,000 = 2.16 Megapixels.

And there you have it–you would only need 2.16 megapixels to print out a 4 x 6 photo! Nowadays, most of the photos are being posted online so there is less of a need for super high megapixel cameras.

What is ISO?

International Organizational Standard. That’s what ISO stands for, and it was created by multiple systems that standardized how camera sensitivity is measured (American Standards Association, and Deutsches Institut für Normun).

Remember film cameras? Well, the ISO on each film roll lets us know how sensitive light is to the film, which is also known as film speed. There are various uses and styles for each film speed, but the general rule of thumb is that you would use lower film speeds with you have enough light, and higher film speeds (ISO 400 and higher) for action/low light shots.

How does the exposure triangle work?

Shutter speed, aperture, and ISO are part of the Exposure Triangle. Think of each component as a variable. The exposure triangle is a common way of associating these three variables that determine the exposure of a photograph.

The goal is to balance all three variables, so you can get the best exposure in a photo. Don’t worry, with enough practice, adjusting these three variables will be second nature to you.

What is an aperture and how is it measured?

Aperture is simply the size of the “hole” in the lens that lets light through. The bigger the hole, the more light you are letting in. Aperture is also called the “f-stop”, and is represented by a number.

The F-stop can range from f/1 to f/32. Varying the size of the aperture can have a dramatic effect on your photos because it not only controls exposure but controls how blurry your background is. If you don’t already know what bokeh is, it’s the blurred effect in a photo when you are using a big aperture (i.e. f/1.4). What you also need to remember is that the smaller the number is (f/1.4), the bigger the hole. The bigger the number is (f/22), the smaller the hole (basically a pinhole).

It may sound counter-intuitive, but just keep practicing, and you will soon understand the concept!

What is the depth of field and why is it important?

The Depth of Field is one of the most powerful tools you can use in photography. Why? You can control how much of the subject you want in focus. If you are shooting a beautiful forest, you may want to use deep focus, or deep depth of field so the foreground and background will be in focus.

On the other hand, a shallow depth of field will focus on a smaller area of the image. If you want to capture your puppy’s adorable expression, for example, you may want to use a shallow depth of field to really focus on your dog’s expression and eyes. Your audience will be mesmerized by those puppy eyes because you chose them as the focal point.

Remember, there’s a range of ways to control the depth of field – the choice of aperture, focus distance and the type of camera. In a nutshell, wider apertures and closer focusing distances lead to a shallower depth of field. Learning to play with depth of field is one of the most creative ways to improve your photography skills, and curate your artistic style.

depth of field and focal length

How does the aperture affect the depth of field?

The larger the aperture (f/1.4), the more shallow the depth of field will be. The smaller the aperture (f/22), the deeper the depth of field. We won’t get into the technical details, but just remember this:

Larger aperture = smaller number = shallow depth of field Smaller aperture = bigger number = deeper depth of field

What is focal length?

Have you ever been awestruck by how close up and vivid some of the shots are in Planet Earth? Welcome to the world of lenses and focal lengths! The focal length is the distance in millimeters between the lens and the image it forms on the sensor when it is focused at infinity (everything is sharply focused).

The focal length determines how much the lens sees, and therefore, determines how much of the scenery will be captured. We won’t go into the mathematical part focal length, but it is important to know that we use focal length to tell us what the field of view of that lens will be. The field of view tells us how much a lens can magnify distant subjects. That close-up shot of the cheetah you see on Planet Earth is probably a focal length of 600-1000mm!

There are so many Camera Lenses for every focal length out there for you to choose from. It is important to decide what type of photography you will be pursuing and choosing the appropriate focal length for your artistic needs. If you are mainly shooting landscapes, you may want to stick with wide lenses.

If you are an action and sports photographer, telephoto lenses are probably your best friend. Casual photography and portraits will use a normal range, like an 18-55mm lens.

What is shutter speed and how does it work?

Remember that an image is made when the light is exposed to the sensor for a certain amount of time. The shutter acts as a barrier that keeps light out when you’re not taking a photo. It acts like a blind, opening and closing when you press the shutter release button. Pressing the shutter release button on top of the camera opens the “blind”, and closes it when the camera shutter stops recording.

The Shutter Speed is simply the length of time the “blind” stays open to let light in to capture the image. This can be measured in milliseconds and even minutes.

What are the basic rules for macro photography?

Macro photography is all about details and being close up with your subject. This means it will be necessary for you to minimize shakiness and use a sturdy tripod. Typically with macro shots, you want to shoot head-on with the subject, instead of trying to shoot from an angle.

It is also helpful to turn off autofocus when shooting macro photography and use manual focus instead. You may want to use aperture f/22 or as close to that number as possible for maximum sharpness. Using a shutter release cable or the self-timer will also reduce shakiness and movement. Lastly, it is optimal to shoot macro indoors to eliminate any wind or lighting issues that may occur outside.

What is the difference between raw and jpeg files?

RAW vs JPEG? This is one of the most asked questions in the photography community. RAW is a large, uncompressed flat file that contains all of the image data captured by the sensor before any post-processing is applied. RAW files are also a significantly larger size than JPEG because they contain all the image information from the sensor.

JPEG files are processed right within the camera. While color temperature and exposure are set based on your camera settings when the image is shot, the camera will also process the image then render the file to a compressed JPEG. Both have their advantages and disadvantages depending on your needs.

How and why to use the back button focus?

One of the most useful features for continuous focusing is the Back Button Focus feature in DSLRs. This feature allows you to focus by pressing the button instead of the shutter release button. Why would you do that? Well, if you are a sports photographer, you will run into the problem of single-shot auto-focusing when capturing subjects in action. If your subject starts running, it is very difficult and time consuming to re-autofocus while the subject is in action.

The solution for this is to use the back button focusing. This separates the focusing and exposure functions of the shutter button and assigns one of the buttons at the back of the camera to be the focus button instead. You will want to set your camera to AF-C mode and select a single AF point. In AF-C mode the camera will allow you to lock focus and recompose freely. From there, you can unlock/lock your focus to re-acquire focus. Holding the back button continuously focuses, while pressing the button once focuses and then locks the focus.

This is an extremely helpful and effective way to keep focus when are you in action!

Photography Guide

How can I achieve sharp focus on my subject’s eyes?

Using Single Point Focus can enhance the sharpness of your subject’s eyes, but make sure you place the focus point right on their eyes, or closest to their eyes. If you are shooting portraits and your subject is still, using manual focus is the most reliable method.

If you haven’t already, check out our page where we talk about back button focus. This method is very effective if your subject is moving and you want to maintain sharp focus on the subject’s eyes. As always, try to use a tripod if possible and keep the ISO low.

What are the best settings to use when photographing children?

Always use a higher shutter speed if you are photographing children. They are in constant motion and you want to make sure that the photo does not come out blurry. Increase the ISO just a bit so your shots don’t come out underexposed.

How and when to use pop flash?

Many DSLRs have the built-in pop-up flash, and you may be wondering when and how to use this. Although it lacks power and control, the pop up flash is a convenient feature to have when you need a quick boost of light. For example, when you are shooting outside, there are harsh shadows due to direct sunlight. You may use the pop-up flash then to fill in light on the subject’s face so shadows are eliminated.

Another way to use the pop-up flash is when you want to create motion in your photos. This technique is known as “flash and blur”. This is achieved by slowing down your shutter speed, panning with the action, and firing the flash at the beginning of the shot. This creates a blurry, streaky effect that can create a very ethereal and dramatic looking shot.

What is the concept of the circle of confusion?

The Circle of Confusion is closely connected to DoF, or depth of field. To really understand how the circle of confusion works, it’s important to understand how lenses work and how they are able to focus light. In a convex lens, straight rays of light are bent inward thanks to a phenomenon called refraction. When the light hits the lens, it refracts and converges to a single point, also known as the focal point.

In order for a subject to be perceived as in focus by our eyes, the points have to be projected onto the camera sensor or focal plane. If they are aligned, then the subject will be in focus and the image will be sharp. There is a certain area in which despite the point being outside the focal plane, it’s still perceived as sharp by our eyes. That is called the circle of confusion.

What is rear curtain sync and when is it used?

Your camera shutter has two curtains – the front and the rear. When pressing onto the shutter button, it activates the front or first curtain. The shutter opens up first, and the flash fires at the end of the exposure, when the shutter is about to close. Now you get an image where the motion blur appears behind the subject instead of in front of her.

Like a front curtain flash image, the subject herself will be sharp, while her movement will be captured in a blur behind her. This technique works best in low light environments. You still need some ambient light to illuminate the background and capture the motion blur.

What is CCD?

CCD, or Charged Coupled Device, and is the digital equivalent of film. CCD is used to capture light and convert it into digital data. The camera sensor is made up of thousands of pixels, and when light enters the sensor, it is then converted and refined into electrical energy. This occurs so we can share, edit, and print our pictures digitally.

How to determine and adjust white balance?

The White Balance is used in photography to produce a more natural looking coloration in your images. The goal is to adjust it in a way where the colors are as accurate as possible. There is an option to auto adjust your white balance or AWB on your DSLR. This is a good place to start if you are not too sure how to adjust it manually.

Typically, the settings are daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten, white fluorescent light, flash, custom, and color temperature. Once you begin to learn more about coloration and have familiarized with the different settings, you can start adjusting the color temperature yourself.

Leading Lines Photography

What is auto exposure bracketing?

AEB, or auto Exposure Bracketing, is when the camera automatically takes two or more exposures but with different exposure values. This is used when you are not exactly sure what the exposure values are. With an automatic feature, there is a chance that it may not be accurate.

This is where you want to learn about highlights, shadows, and midtones. If you are able to correctly adjust each component of exposure and combine them together, you will get the most properly exposed image.

What and how does digital zoom work?

Some digital cameras have an option to zoom in digitally. Digital zoom increases the image area, basically cropping out the edges of the image plane. The result of this is lower image resolution because you are enlarging an existing image and cropping it. Note that the zoom feature is built into the camera itself. The purpose is to make a far away object appear closer, but this compromises the image quality. It’s important to also note that digital zoom is different from optical zoom, which does not reduce image quality.

What is live view in photography and what is it used for?

Live view is a feature on many DSLRs that allow you to view and focus your image live time on the LCD screen. Before, many photographers only use the viewfinder to capture photos but with live view, you can focus more accurately, and control the exposure of your shots with more precision. It takes some practice to get good at taking photos through the LCD screen, but once you are comfortable with the functionality, it can be a tremendous help.

How and when do you use a ND grad filter?

A graduated neutral density filter works by decreasing the highlights of an image. This is extremely helpful because it increases the dynamic range of a photo. Do you ever try to take a photo from your smartphone of a beautiful landscape but find yourself struggling to have it properly exposed?

Either the sky is too bright, and the ocean looks correctly exposed, or the sky looks baby blue but the foreground is too dark? This is exactly why many photographers use ND grad filters–to have every part of the image correctly exposed. These filters are a must if you love capturing landscapes.

When to use a UV filter?

UV (ultraviolet) filters are mainly used to block the UV light, which when used without, can cause a blue cast on your images as well as certain chromatic aberration. Although you cannot control exposure with UV filters, it is a helpful tool to have if you want to protect your lens and remove any sort of blue cast from the ultraviolet light.

What is image stabilisation and why is it important?

Image stabilisation is a technique used to reduce the effects of movement and shakiness in photography. There are two different types of image stabilisation; one is inside the lens and the other is inside the camera.

When you start moving a camera with image stabilisation, it corrects the motion by having the electromagnetics inside the sensor or lens move in the opposite direction. It works the same way on both the lens and camera sensor, and this is an excellent feature to have if you are shooting long exposures or with a narrow depth of field.

Outdoor Photography

Which manual settings are best when shooting outside?

Shooting manual when you are outside can be quite difficult, so we recommend using auto mode if you are just starting out. However, if you are wanting to experiment with manual mode, we recommend using a prime lens so you have less to worry about (compared to using a zoom lens).

There is no perfect manual setting because there are too many factors to consider (lighting, time of day, the subject, the art direction, etc). Always take ISO, shutter speed, and aperture into consideration first and slowly fine-tune them while you are outside.

Another tip is to use Aperture Priority mode if you’re finding it too difficult to go manual all the way. Using Aperture Priority means you are selecting aperture as your main priority, then the camera automatically adjusts the shutter speed for you. This is perfect if you know the weather is unpredictable or if you are shooting a fast-paced event.

What is the difference between manual and auto mode?

Manual mode on a digital camera means you are in control of all the settings–this includes shutter speed, ISO, aperture, white balance, and even flash power.

Manual mode is all on you, and it takes a great deal of practice and experience to shoot manually. You will have to study and learn how each setting works independently and together.

Auto mode is, of course, automatic. The camera will automatically adjust the optimal exposure for your image. Choosing which mode to use depends on what, where, and how you’re shooting. As a general rule, you’ll want to use manual mode if you want to keep the exposure the same (this is helpful for post editing). You will have much more control in manual mode, but it also requires knowledge and practice. Auto mode is great if you are on the go and you shoot street photography.

If capturing the moment quickly is your line of work, then auto mode may be a better one to use since there is very little time to manually adjust the settings in an organic shot.

How can I sharpen the focus when shooting?

Luckily, there are multiple ways to control the sharpness of your images while shooting. You want to set your aperture at the most optimal setting, which is usually 2-3 stops down from the widest aperture on your lens.

For example, if you are shooting with a 18-55mm f/4 lens, then you’ll want to bring it down to around f/8-f/11 for maximum sharpness. Another trick is to use a single point focus. This is really helpful to use if you want one object to be tack sharp and not the entire rest of the image. For sharp images, you also want stray away from using high ISO, as this will make your images look grainy.

Don’t forget to keep your lenses clean and to use a tripod whenever possible to eliminate any blurriness.

How can I correct underexposed subjects?

If you’ve already taken the photos and find out later that they are underexposed, the next step would be to correct that in editing. In Adobe Photoshop, you’ll want to play with the levels, curves, and exposure to lighten up the image. To correct underexposed subjects during a shoot, thoroughly check the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Make sure the settings are working together properly to balance out the exposure correctly. You’ll usually want to lower the shutter speed, open the aperture up, and keep your ISO somewhere in the middle.

What are the best settings and tips to use for a moving subject?

Shutter speed plays an important role with motion shots. If you are trying to capture a subject in action, using at least 1/500th of a second is a must. Because your shutter speed is higher, you’ll want to open up your aperture because the chances of getting an underexposed shot is higher. Another tip is to use flash so you don’t have to compromise lessening the depth of field. Lastly, you’ll want to increase the ISO to maintain correct exposure.

A different technique commonly used in motion photography is called panning. This is when you can see the motion of the subject moving, creating a very dynamic looking shot. Panning is not an easy technique to master, but you are basically panning the camera as the subject is moving. A slower shutter speed is necessary for this technique. It’s best if you use a tripod to pan, instead of hand-holding it. The beautiful thing about panning shots is that your subject will be in focus, but the background will be blurry. It’s best if you choose a background that is a solid color or not too distracting. Don’t forget to correctly focus your camera on the subject as you’re panning the camera.

As you press the shutter release button, do so carefully while you slowly move the camera and follow the subject. This technique requires some practice, but it is very rewarding once you understand the steps.

Photography Composition

Photography Composition

What are the basic rules of composition in photography?

The basic Rules of Composition are the rule of thirds, S curve composition, and symmetry. Composition is an important part of good photography because it guides the viewer’s eye towards the most important focal point of your work. It brings out the most of your subject and transforms a dull object into a stunning one.

What is the rule of thirds in photography?

Using the Rule of Thirds is one of the oldest and most popular methods of photography. This rule is used to understand how composition works and is a great method to use if you are completely new to photography. It uses an imaginary 3 x 3 grid, where elements of the photo are placed along the 3 x 3 grid.

This teaches us that off-center composition can be visually appealing, but it doesn’t always work! Sometimes framing the subject in the very center of the photo is the most visually striking. The rule of thirds is one of many methods you can use to compose your shots. Time to get creative!

What are the leading lines in photography composition?

Using the Leading Lines technique is a way to compose your photos and create a powerful framing technique in your images. We are hardwired to subconsciously follow lines and shapes. The next time you are out shooting, notice how you can utilize the landscapes, furniture, or architecture to create lines in your shots. This is a surefire way to capture your viewers’ attention.

Photography Lighting

Photography Lighting

How to create simple in-home or in-studio lighting setup?

There are many Studio Lighting Products in the market, and yes, it may intimidate you at first if you are new to studio lighting. But don’t get discouraged–using artificial lights is great because you set them up any way you want. There are usually one to three lighting sources in a photo shoot. Each arrangement has its own uses and styles. Lighting can range from strobes, speedlights, continuous lights and so on.

For simple in-home lighting set up, using one light and a reflector is more than enough to start practicing. Adding in light modifiers like a reflector or an umbrella are very useful must-haves in the studio, and they are easy to fold and store away.

What are some of the best tips for low light photography?

Working with low light can be a challenge, but with proper knowledge of your camera settings and using the right equipment, it can be a much easier experience. Here are some basic tips to follow when in low light situations:

  1. Invest in a tripod
  2. Shoot with a wide lens
  3. Increase the ISO
  4. Scout for a good location with some sources of light

What are some tips to produce low key images?

Producing low-key images adds drama and edginess to your subject. This is because it involves low-key lighting, darker background, and attire.

Using low-key lighting focuses attention onto your subject by surrounding them in shadows. To achieve this, you want to make sure that your backdrop is at least 3 stops darker than the light on your subject.

With low-key lighting, you also need to ensure that none of the light from your subject is hitting your backdrop. Incorporating grids and flags are very helpful for this.

Photography Tips

Photography Guide

What are some tips for photography poses?

As a photographer, it is important to learn to direct your subject so your shots come out natural and well positioned. All of the technical sides to photography can be perfect–lighting, the setting is spot on, and everything is seemingly ready to go. But when you look back on the photos, the subject’s positioning is awkward.

This is where learning how poses work is very crucial for working photographers. Here are some tips for photography poses for women:

  1. Find her best angle and enhance those features
  2. Bending elbows/wrists, curling the fingers, or grasping her necklace to enhance femininity
  3. Slightly tilt the head for a more natural look
  4. Avoid capturing upwards
  5. Have her point one foot slightly more forward to appear taller

For group poses, try to arrange everyone in a way where it ends up looking like a pyramid. This creates balance and symmetry.

How to counter heat distortion?

Do you ever notice on an especially hot day the layers of “heat” rising off of a car or the distant landscapes? This is called heat distortion, and photographers are not fond of it! This often happens when photographers use a telephoto lens in the middle of the day.

To counter this phenomenon, you should avoid shooting in direct sunlight. You should refrain from using telephoto lenses as this will emphasize the heat distortion.

What is multispectral photography used for?

Multispectral photography is used to capture a narrow range of wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum. Because we cannot see these wavelengths, this type of photography can be very helpful for scientists and engineers. Multispectral photography can be used in space-based imaging, military target tracking, landmine detection, ballistic missile detection, document and painting analysis, farming, healthcare, forensics, and so much more.

What are some of the best free cloud storage platforms for photographs?

We are fully immersed in the digital world and as a modern photographer, you are most likely looking for the best ways to store your photos. Cloud storage allows you to store your files on a remote server and access them from almost any device (iPhones, laptops, tablets, and desktops). We’ve come up with a list of some of our favorite and free cloud storage options for you to try.

  1. Google Photos
  2. iCloud
  3. MediaFire
  4. DropBox
  5. Amazon Drive
  6. Microsoft OneDrive

Who are some of the most famous and all-time best photographers?

Photography has transformed greatly in the last decade, but we will never forget the famous photographers who’ve shaped and inspired us to keep shooting and capturing life in a new way. Here is a list of some of the most famous photographers:

Ansel Adams – Landscape Photographer
Josef Karsh – Portrait Photographer
Cindy Sherman – Portrait Photographer, Actress
Alfred Stieglitz – Modern Art Photographer
James Nachtwey – Photojournalist / Artist
Dorothea Lange – Portrait Photographer and Photojournalist
Alfred Eisenstaedt – Photojournalist
John Kirchner – Fine Artist, Digital Photographer
Clint Clemens – Commercial Photographer, Creator of 3D Environments
Andre Gunther– Fine Artist, Digital Enthusiast

Photography Gear & Equipment

Photography Gear

What are the different types of DSLR camera lenses?

It requires extra patience and research when buying the Best Lens for your DSLR. You may have to consider your budget, desired focal length, lens speed, compatibility with your camera, etc. Some factors to consider are:

  •  Focal length
  •  Purpose of the shoot
  •  Speed
  •  Format
  •  Quality
  •  Features
  •  Budget

When it comes to Types of Lenses, there are prime (fixed focal length), zoom, telephoto, wide-angle, and macro lens.

What are the functions of different types of lenses?

A telephoto is popular among photographers who want their subjects to appear closer and need that extra zoom. Usually, a telephoto is in the range of 70-200mm. Using a telephoto lens is great if you are shooting animals, portraits, wildlife, and weddings. If you like to shoot from afar, a telephoto is an essential lens to have.

Wide lenses are typically between 14mm and 35mm. These lenses are mainly used by landscape and interior photographers. If you want to make a space or landscape appear expansive and vast, using a wide lens is your go-to option.

Macro lenses are necessary for those who want a detailed, sharp, and close-up shot of small subjects. If you like to shoot jewelry, insects, flowers, or plants, you’ll definitely be reaching for the macro lens. These lenses allow you to get really close-up with your subject, and maintain sharp focus. There is strong emphasis on detail, texture, and vividness when shooting with a macro. Typically, the range is between 100mm to 200mm.

What are some good prime lenses to use when shooting outdoors?

35mm, 50mm, and 85mm are classic Prime Lenses to use outside. You can achieve beautiful bokeh with these lenses, and they are easy to use. 50mm and 85mm are perfect for portraits, and 35mm is fantastic for street photography.

What camera should I buy as a beginner photographer?

No longer satisfied with using your smartphone to take photos? If you are ready to upgrade from your iPhone camera to a DSLR, read on! We’ve compiled a list of great beginner cameras for you to explore.

Beginner mirrorless option:

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16.1MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Screen: 3-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,040K dots | Continuous shooting speed: 8.6fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner

Beginner DSLRs:

Nikon D3500

Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Nikon DX | Screen: 3-inch, 921,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Beginner

Canon EOS Rebel T7i / Canon EOS 800D

Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Screen: 3-inch articulating touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed: 6fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / Canon EOS 200D

Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Beginner

What are the types and uses of reflectors?

Reflectors are one of the most essential and easy pieces of equipment to carry during photo shoots. They are a must-have for any photographer because of their ease of use. Reflectors can add drama and enhance lighting when the current lighting is flat.

There are four different types of reflectors–silver, white, gold, and black. Silver reflectors will reflect the most light and a great feature is that they don’t alter the color of the reflected light. This is perfect for portrait photography. White reflectors won’t reflect as much light as the silver, but it is a great option for those who shoot indoors and outdoors. It provides just enough light to enhance the photo. Gold reflectors are wonderful for outdoor shooting, specifically during the “golden hour” when the sun is setting.

Lastly, black reflectors will absorb rather than reflect light. A black reflector is used when there is too much light in one area, and you want to block the unwanted light.

How to choose a backdrop?

Selecting the appropriate Backdrops is one of the simplest ways to add style and personality to your photography style. There are many types of backdrops in the market but are usually the following three types–muslin, seamless, and painted canvas. You’ll want to consider choosing a backdrop size, including the size of your studio and the size of your subject.

Don’t forget about the color of your backdrop, and choosing one that will complement and highlight your subject well. Secondly, make sure your subject is not too close to the backdrop. This will eliminate any harsh texturing, shadows or reflections.

What are some good recommendations for wrinkle-free and sturdy backdrops?

We recommend materials that are not prone to wrinkles, like polyester, vinyl, cotton, wrinkle-free muslin backdrops, or even thicker canvas material. One quick tip when shooting with backdrops is to have your subject stand at least three feet apart from the backdrop. This will reduce unwanted wrinkles appearing in your shots.

What are the essential lenses to invest in?

This question very much depends on what type of photography you do, but generally speaking, you’ll want to invest in a prime, a zoom, and a telephoto. Acquiring these lenses will help you with most types of shoots. A 50mm prime is popular among photographers because they are so lightweight and easy to use. As for a general zoom lens, choose one in the range between 18-50mm. This is a versatile lens to keep in your bag. Lastly, a telephoto lens in the range of 70-200mm is a great investment because you can shoot portraits, animals, sports, and all sorts of events with it.

Do photographers favor prime lenses over zoom lenses?

Not necessarily. Zoom lenses can be more expensive, but they allow you to carry less lenses in general. Zoom lenses are extremely versatile. You can shoot portraits, landscapes, and many different settings with a zoom lens. They allow more flexibility when you are out and about.

On the other hand, Prime Lenses are also favorable to many photographers because the image quality is higher. Although you are stuck with one focal length, the sharpness and clarity of the photos is one of the main reasons why many photographers love it so much. Prime lenses are relatively less expensive, lighter, and faster to shoot with.

Additionally, prime lenses can spark creativity because you are stuck with only one focal length. This probably means you are walking and exploring more than you would with a zoom lens. Some of our favorite prime lenses for portraits are 50mm and 85mm. These two primes work beautifully and won’t break the bank.

What essential gear do I need to produce high quality photos?

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on your first camera set up, but we recommend purchasing a DSLR or mirrorless camera if you are more serious about producing high quality photos. There are many great camera bodies out there for less than $1,000. We also recommend studying up on lenses and investing more in good lenses than the body itself. Here is a brief list of the most essential gear you need to start producing high quality photos:

  1. DSLR or mirrorless camera body
  2. Prime or zoom lenses
  3. Tripod
  4. External flash

Most importantly, go out and shoot! The only way to get better is to shoot everyday and keep honing your skills.

Photography Editing

Photography Editing

Which photography editing tools are most demanded by photographers?

Want to start editing your photos but not sure which software to use? Here are some software suggestions most demanded by beginner photographers!

  1. Adobe Lightroom CC
  2. Adobe Photoshop CC
  3. GIMP
  4. Pixlr
  5. Fotor
  6. PicMonkey

What are some affordable monitor options for photo editing?

  • Dell S2418H: $160 from Amazon, a powerful monitor at a very affordable price
  • Acer G277HL: $175 from Amazon, a 27-inch monitor that offers full HD IPS screen
  • BenQ EL2870U 28″ 4K HDR: $347 from Amazon, 4K monitor at a very reasonable price but does not come with USB ports

Which photo editing software is better – Lightroom or Photoshop?

Both are excellent editing softwares, but they do have their differences. Photoshop is more complex than Lightroom. If you are purely using it for photo editing, then we recommend using Lightroom as an everyday option. However, if you are making huge adjustments, alterations, and manipulations, Photoshop would be the better option. In terms of organization, Lightroom is a better suited software for filing large quantities of photos. It also has an automatic raw files processor in the system. You can use SmugMug to easily import all your photos into Lightroom and start editing immediately. Another great thing about Lightroom is that you can name your folders, use keywords and color tag your photos for easier access.

I have a logo that I made from Photoshop that I like, but when I try to blow it up, it becomes pixelated. I’m wondering how I can make that image larger so I can use it for my profile and other things?

If you are saving files for print (or even for web), always make sure that the resolution is at 300 PPI. Anything less than 300 PPI will not be adequate for high quality printing. You’ll also want to save your logo as a PNG-24 file, not JPEG. PNG files are lossless, and are more geared for logos and complex images. Another option is to save your logo as a SVG file, also known as Scalable Vector Graphics. SVG files are also lossless like PNG, and will remain sharp at any resolution. The only drawback for SVG files is that they are much bigger, and will require more memory storage.

Does cropping an image affect the photo resolution?

Yes, anytime you are cropping a photo from its original size, the resolution will decrease. This is not a huge issue if you are posting or printing the photo on a smaller scale. However, if you are printing out large prints, you will want to check the resolution of the photo after it’s been cropped. Make sure the resolution is high enough for large prints.

How do you save a high resolution logo created in Photoshop?

Go to File > Export > Save for Web Legacy > PNG 24. Under “Quality”, you can select “Bilinear”. There are many ways to save your logo files, but we find that PNG-24 is much better at retaining sharpness and detail compared to other files like JPEG.

Photography Courses / Education

Photography Courses

Who are the leading online photography education providers?

What colleges are good for photography education?

Want to pursue your dreams of being a successful photographer? Thinking of pursuing higher education to improve your artistic abilities? There are many excellent programs out there that will train and delve you into the world of photography.

We understand it takes hard work, experience, and passion to be a successful artist. Here is a list of colleges that may help you narrow down your choices.

  •  Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  •  Harvard University
  •  California College of the Arts
  •  University of California(Los Angeles)
  •  School of Visual Art
  •  University of New Mexico
  •  School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  •  California Institute of the Arts

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