How I Became a People Photographer
May12

How I Became a People Photographer

It may come as a surprise to some of you but I didn’t start out to be a people photographer. Back in the day, when Mary and I opened our studio, we divided the workload: She photographed people and I photographed things, mostly architecture and some products. Every now and then because of scheduling and availability I would shoot a few business portraits but people were really Mary’s game. When she took an extended sabbatical from...

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Setting Exposure for Studio Lighting
Apr24

Setting Exposure for Studio Lighting

Metering studio lighting is done in the same way as it when shooting with natural light: By using a light meter. But you’re going to need a handheld light meter that also reads flash output. In most cases, the aperture that the flash meter provides will be close enough for your first test shots but you should take the time to look at the test image’s histogram and refine the exposure though repeated test shots until you have the...

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The Quest for Proper Exposure
Apr17

The Quest for Proper Exposure

“Available light is any damn light that is available!” – W. Eugene Smith At workshops and PhotoWalks the number one question that I get from attendees is about proper exposure. You would think that with all the automation built into today’s cameras that would be the last question they would ask but it is the first. That’s why, to me, the exposure compensation control is one of the most important parts of a digital camera....

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Sometimes You Have to Bracket
Feb02

Sometimes You Have to Bracket

just as pianists have to practice their scales, I think photographers should practice exposure. Obtaining  correct exposure is critical for maximizing quality and  more so for digital capture than for film. The exposure latitude—the ability to over or underexpose a captured image—is greater with color negative film than for any other type of media. Slide film, on the other hand, has the least amount latitude, especially on the...

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Shooting Available Light  Travel Photography
Jan31

Shooting Available Light Travel Photography

My favorite lenses for indoor available light photography are fast prime focus lenses but I still use zoom lenses  when traveling because you rarely have the kind of choices for camera locations and positions you have under more controlled conditions. If you care about image quality, forget the digital zoom feature found on some cameras. It simply crops and saves a small portion of the sensor’s data, then interpolates this new,...

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Proper Exposure & ‘The Sunny 16’ Rule
Jan27

Proper Exposure & ‘The Sunny 16’ Rule

“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”—T. S. Eliot If you agree that lighting is one of the key elements that differentiate a good photograph from a snapshot, then it’s necessary to understand proper exposure. Believe it or not, there was a time when cameras did not have built in light meters, let alone automatic exposure. In those days, photographers either used a hand-held exposure meter or...

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What’s the Correct Exposure?
Nov15

What’s the Correct Exposure?

In a recent post about digital infrared photography I talked about the importance of obtaining the proper exposure, but as significant as it is for IR—and it may be more noteworthy—it’s crucial for every photograph that you make. That’s because proper exposure is a perfect storm of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO that produces a pleasing result. Pleasing to whom, you might ask? You are the ultimate arbiter of what is...

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