Get Your Camera Ready for the Holidays

holiday photos
by Mike Arney

Winter holidays are a great time to take lots of cool pictures. And these photos don’t have to be simple family shots – there are lots of opportunities to take lovely photos of Christmas decorations, Hannukah dreidels and winter landscapes. So, let’s make sure your camera is ready for the holidays! Here’s a short checklist that will help.

Check your camera and lenses

The first thing you should do is make sure that your camera is in good working order and the lens (or the lenses for your DSLR) are clean. Use a lens cleaning kit to take care of dirty lenses.

Make sure you have a backup battery

It’s so annoying when your camera’s battery becomes flat when you are about to take a brilliant shot. To prevent that from happening, make sure your camera is fully charged and you have a backup battery.

Make room on your SD card

Do you keep all your unsorted photos on your camera’s SD or microSD card? If yes, then it’s a good idea to move them somewhere else so that you have enough room for new photos. At the very least, sort through your shots, find similar photos and delete the ones you don’t need leaving only the best picture. If you don’t feel like wasting hours on this tedious task, Duplicate Photo Cleaner will help you do the job in minutes. Just run a scan with the similarity threshold set to 80%, examine the results and bulk-delete the images you don’t need.

We wish you happy holidays and lots of beautiful and creative photos!

How to Take Amazing Bokeh Photos

bokeh
via Unsplash.com

We all love those beautiful photos with a dreamy blurry background and magical spots of light. That effect is called Bokeh and it’s all about the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens. Actually, “bokeh” means “blur” or “haze” in Japanese. In this post I’m going to share with you some tips how to take amazing bokeh photos.

Be Close to Your Subject

Most photography blogs will tell you that you need to use the right lens to have nice bokeh. But what if you don’t have a dSLR? Well, the good news is that any lens, even your smartphone camera, can produce some kind of bokeh if you do things right. Read more

5 Tips for Taking Beautiful Flower Photos with Your Smartphone

flower photography tipsThere’s nothing as charming as beautiful photos of flowers. I bet you’ve often wanted to try your hand at flower photography… If only you had all that expensive equipment, right? Wrong! You can take stunning photos of flowers with nothing but your smartphone and here are five tips that will help.

1. Use Soft Light to Avoid Sharp Shadows

Flowers are delicate creations and you’d want them to look that way in your photos. In most cases, flowers look their best when they are shot in soft light, which doesn’t produce sharp shadows. The result is an evenly lit subject with every single detail clearly visible. To achieve this, avoid shooting in direct sunlight and wait for the sun to go behind a cloud. And if you’re shooting indoors, avoid using flash at all costs. Read more

How Placing the Subject Off Center Helps You Improve Composition

photography subject off center
by Eliza Donovan

Composition is the key thing in visual arts. A beautifully composed image looks good even if there are minor technical mistakes, but eve the most technically perfect photo or painting looks bad if it lacks composition. While there are tons of composition techniques you can learn, there’s one really simple thing that improves your images a lot – place the subject off center.

While you can create good compositions with the subject placed in the center of the image, it’s safer for beginners to use the rule of thirds or at least try to put the subject anywhere off center. You don’t necessarily have to concentrate on finding the right third to place your subject, but rather look at the subject through a frame and check the following:

  • do you have enough space around your subject, so that the image doesn’t appear cluttered?
  • how would the viewer’s eye move through the photo and is there anything to guide the viewer’s eye to the subject?
  • does the photo tell a story?

Asking yourself these questions will help you decide how and where to place your subject in the photo and add meaning to your photo.

In the end, it’s all about what works for a particular shot and what doesn’t. Always take advantage of your camera being digital and take several versions of the same photo. This way you’ll be able to select the very best shot when you’re ready for post-production and delete the rest, so that they don’t clutter your computer. Premium DropShots members get a program that finds and deletes duplicate and similar photos called Duplicate Photo Cleaner for free. This program is a great time saver, so be sure you check it out and download the trial version here.

Take Photos with Your Smartphone Camera to Improve Your Photography Skills

Hand holding mobile smart phoneA lot of professional photographers still think that people who take photos with their smartphones are the worst type of amateurs. While everyone is entitled to having an opinion, taking photos with your smartphone can improve your photography skills. Plus the quality of the photos won’t be at all bad because these days mobile devices have fabulous cameras.

The main advantage of your smartphone’s camera is that it’s always with you, so you can start taking photos whenever you see something beautiful and interesting. You can use it as often as you like and easily experiment. Moreover, if you learn to take great photos with all the limitations of a smartphone camera, you’ll progress to taking stunning photos with a better camera. So, here are some tips that will help you improve your photography skills while on mobile. Read more

How to Take Delicious Food Photos

food photographyFood photography is fun and it looks very impressive when done the right way. But making food look delicious in a photo is not as simple as taking a photo of your plate. In this post we’re going to share with you a few tricks that will help you take appetizing photos of any food.

Avoid Using Flash

When you’re shooting food, it’s best to avoid using flash because it will make the food in the photo look flat and artificial because all the little natural shadows will be gone. Your best bet is to use natural light. Read more

Crop Photos Without Losing Any Content with This New Photoshop Feature

Straightening and cropping photos can be so frustrating! You straighten the photo just a bit and then you get those blank corners that make it very hard to crop the photo. Basically, you need to either crop a lot or use Photoshop’s Clone tool to reincarnate missing content. But not anymore because the next version of Adobe Photoshop solves that problem.

Adobe released a sneak peak video demonstrating Photoshop’s new feature called Content-aware Crop that does all the cloning and filling in automatically.

As you can see in the video, this new tools lets you safely straighten images and crop them afterwards without worrying about getting white corners. Moreover, you can magically add content to your photos just like Stephen Nielson did with the rocks.

Even though the tool sounds and looks very cool, you might get mixed results with it in real life because Adobe used images selected for this demonstration. Nevertheless, Content-aware Crop will definitely be a lot of help to all Photoshop CC users as it will help you save a lot of time when straightening and cropping your photos.

 

The Elements of a Great Photo

elements of a great photoTaking great photos is a combination of being able to see the world through a camera lens, technique, and pure luck. Every great photo is a result of several elements working together. While sometimes anyone can get lucky and take the perfect photo by chance, you should be aware of these elements and try to make them work in perfect harmony. In this article I’m going to list the most important elements of a great photo.

Subject

The subject is the most important element of any photo. If your photo lacks a subject, it doesn’t matter how technically perfect it is. Without a subject any photo is a snapshot where the viewer doesn’t really get what you wanted to say. Read more

Tips for Photographing Still Life

still life photographyHave you ever looked at fabulous still life photos thinking “How did the photographer manage it?”. Still life photography is an art and like any art, it can be mastered. Here are some useful tips to help you get started photographing still life.

Construct the Image

Unlike other photography genres where you are capturing a moment rather than an image, still like photography gives you the luxury of spending as much time as you need to construct your photograph. When shooting still life, you can compose everything – the background, the lighting, the subject or subjects, and arrange things the way you want. So take your time and construct the perfect image before you start shooting. Read more