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Entries in Photo Tips (11)


How-To Photography Help - Focus Lock and the Rule of Thirds



Don’t have a clue about what focus lock and the rule of thirds are, and why they're important? You're not alone. Focus lock and the use of the rule of thirds are important, yet overlooked techniques that will improve the quality of your photographs. Here's an audio interview from the New York Institute of Photography to discuss what they're all about. 

Audio Link: Focus Lock - The Rule Of Thirds [11:33m]



We're the New York Institute of Photographya distance education school teaching photography since 1910 - over 100 years of knowledge and experience. Listen to the following podcast to learn more about who we are and what we do.




The Key to Pleasing Compositions

Photo: Smash & PeasThere isn't anything magical about developing a photographer's eye. There's a lot to be said for observing as much as you can about the world around you and appreciating the wealth of details. But when it comes to still photography, you need to "edit" your world view by placing four walls or a frame around your subject, cutting off the rest of the world and asking your audience to focus on a specific part of what you've seen.

The Rule of Thirds is a good way to help you with composing what your photographer's eye spots. Your goal is to create a final image - bordered by a frame - that's both dynamic and pleasing. The following video from UK photographer and teacher Mike Browne runs you through the rule as well as a few basic examples. If you're not already using this easy way to compose your shots, try it out and you'll see the difference between applying the rule to your subject ... versus a static composition with your subject completely centered. 



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Photographing Water Reflections to Mirror the World's Beauty

Photograph: Dichotomy by Stefano Corso
A still lake, pond, or puddle .. the reflections of solid objects in water ... that's been a favorite subject for countless painters and photographers. Capturing the shapes and colors of trees, rocks, and people in softer, muted hues is what reflection photography is all about.

There are many good tips about the best conditions and techniques for taking photographs of water reflections. Here are a few tips I snagged from a forum string:
  • The best reflection shots happen with well illuminated subjects against a clear blue sky. That means the sun should not be in front but in back of your position.
  • Its often more interesting to have something in the water itself be visible, either by sticking or growing out of it. 
  • Shallow bodies of still water make for excellent shots, including small ponds and even puddles.
  • Use a tripod. Smooth out the water a bit with long (1 to 4 second) exposures. Stop down. Use f/16 or smaller for great depth of field. Expose for the reflection and then drop down on shutter speed.
  • Polarizers are worthwhile when working with reflections because they help control the amount of reflected light you get. 

In my Video Pick for this week, I wanted to show some photographs that Suellen, an otherwise unnamed photographer from Canada, shot on a beautiful Thanksgiving Day on Lac Philippe in Quebec. I was struck by her skillful piecing together of the shorelines in multiple images - the strong line emphasizes the strength of the real-life shapes on top of the shoreline and the symmetrical-but-shimmering reflection in the water below. These pictures, even though taken of a still and quiet series of reflections, show tremendous drama, movement, and color. So go out and take some water-reflection pictures to capture the natural majesty of this colorful season!



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Jesse Kalisher: Pro Photographer Secrets

I found that the "secrets" in the following Jesse Kalisher video were really essential tips for taking better photographs and growing as a professional. The North Carolina pro-photographer-and-globetrotter's secrets include:
  1. Take a lot of pictures. Some of your photos will be keepers and capture the scene in a way you could never have imagined possible. You'll see one of Jesse's photos of the Taj Majal showing a flock of birds in flight that didn't attract his attention at first; he was too busy looking at the seven workers in the foreground.
  2. Have your camera always ready. Hang it on a strap around your neck, have your film or digital card loaded and primed, and know that you just might walk into something amazing. Develop the reflex to lift the camera up and start taking pictures right away.
  3. Look behind you - sometimes that's where the best picture might be. I love the example Jesse gives of taking a picture of a man approaching him with a water buffalo - but then he turned around and took another amazing picture of the pair walking off into the sunset. In other words, be prepared to explore all angles of your subject.
  4. Keep learning. Jesse talks about the need to avoid the phobia of reading and understanding every setting, button, and trick in your camera manual so you'll know what your equipment is capable of producing. The latest generation of digital cameras are sophisticated, computer-driven instruments, and mastering the owner's manual is important. I might add that once you have the technical aspects down cold, it's vital to let your creativity kick in so you direct the camera to do your bidding.
  5. Have fun. Photography should be about capturing the joy inside of you as you witness an amazing subject. Your photographs should transport the viewer to where you are emotionally as well as physically. Becoming a professional photographer is all about cultivating passion and enjoyment, and doing your best work in that exalted inner space.

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Your Fireworks Photos

Just before the 4th of July, we asked our NYIP Facebook Fans to help us amass the greatest collection of fireworks photos ever. They came through in a big way, sharing the photos that they took on and around the fourth with us all month.

We chose the best of the best and included them in a slideshow below. We hope you enjoy!

And you can visit for tips and tricks on how to capture amazing photographs of Fireworks.