Latest Posts

Why Using Your Smartphone to Shoot Street is a Good Idea

If you happened to read my previous articles about why street photography is dying, you would probably already know why I’d think using your phone to do some street photography is a good idea, especially if you are a new photographer.

Anyway, here are some reasons why:

  • Composition and Light Takes Priority

As greatly improved as today’s smartphone cameras are getting, they are still nowhere near the quality of a good APS-C or full-frame sensor camera. This means that they are limited in what they can do, especially when it comes to low light situations. As a result of these limitations, when shooting street with your phone you are more likely to focus on how to use available light and better compose your shots.

  • You’ll Always Have Your Camera

A lot of photographers find it hard to take their cameras with them all day, and give this same excuse for not taking enough photos. If you use your phone as your street camera, you won’t have to miss any more crucial shots no matter where you are.

  • You’ll Learn to Tell Stories

As a street photographer, it is important to tell stories through your shots. With a smartphone, you focus more on the content because there’s only so much your phone can do as far as the quality and ‘look’ of photos is concerned. You will start observing everything around you when you have your camera with you at all times, so you will see things that you would otherwise ignore.

  • Learning will Come Quicker

All of the afore-mentioned benefits will lead to much quicker learning for you in the art of street photography. You will take more photos, notice more compositions, use light more efficiently, and tell stories through your photos rather than just using fancy lenses to make photos that look pretty.

So, in conclusion, if you want to step into street photography and don’t have a camera to help you, using your smartphone camera may actually help you become a better street photographer than using a DSLR or mirrorless camera would. Â

Top 7 Unusual Places for Abandoned Photography

Everything alive is bound to die one day or another. This statement does not apply only to living things, but also to objects we hold dear, the things we own and use every day, and the buildings we live in. Places, especially, become stark reminders of this notion when they are abandoned. Buildings start being reclaimed by nature and the very ground they stand upon. Their walls crumble, their windows break, and people are reminded of how time can change the world we live in.

To help you better understand what I mean, here is a collection of images showcasing some of the most unusual and abandoned places that make for some great photography.

  1. Belgium’s I.M. Cooling Tower

The massive cooling tower’s standout feature is the hole in the center that looks like a black hole. This hole sent hot water down through small troughs and slats made of concrete, cooling the water as it traveled. Now, the massive structure is abandoned and clad in green, giving you the chance to photograph its raw beauty.

Image Credits: brokenview

  1. Australia’s Floating Forest

No other place in this list speaks of nature’s perseverance more than the floating forest that has developed over more than a hundred years on top of a large ship in Homebush Bay. Not only is that, but the sight is something that offers the opportunity for some truly breathtaking and meaningful photography.

Image Credits: Bruce Hood

  1. Ukraine’s Radioactive City

The once nuclear city of the Soviet Union, the city of Pripyat is a ghost town reminding humanity of the disastrous nature of nuclear technology. Since the Chernobyl Disaster of 1986, the city has been radioactive and unfit to live in. You can take guided tours of the city, however, and photograph the after effects of nuclear disaster firsthand.

Image credits: Barry Mangham

  1. Italy’s Abandoned Mill

This wheat mill was left isolated in 1866, and stands to this day alone in seclusion. It is an utterly eerie sight, and once again shows how nature can find its way into any abandoned structure. You can visit the mill in the Valley of the Mills if you want some truly haunting photos.

Image credits: Dale Tennyson

  1. Georgia’s Train Station

During the War in Abkhazia, this train station was abandoned. This abandoned location stands out amongst the others in this list as it still has a good amount of its original plaster work and wooden furniture intact. This, combined with its abandoned nature, makes it a very interesting place for a photography excursion.

Image credits: Ilya Varlamov

  1. Russia’s Wooden Houses

If you want to visit some other unusual places that are beautiful to look at but have been left in isolation, then these small buildings in Russian forests might be something up your alley.

Image credits: Andrew Qzmn

  1. China’s Underwater City

And last but not the least, the underwater city known as the Lion City, in eastern China is perhaps the eeriest of all the locations in this list. The city is said to be over 1300 years old and has stayed submerged since 1959.

Image credits: china.org.cn

Why Street Photography is in Jeopardy

In this digital age, it is much easier than some decades ago to take pictures. This is both a good thing and bad in my opinion. It’s good because, of course, more people have access to cameras these days, hence allowing them to pursue their photographic ambitions. On the flip side, a very negative effect of this is that many kinds of photography, including street, are becoming more about capturing every single mundane thing around you and putting it up on Instagram rather than actually caring about the story you’re telling the world.

While there are merits to going out and shooting the streets, the fact that so many people are doing it these days is not helping anyone. Let’s see how the digital age of photography is slowly ruining street photography.

It’s Too Easy!

The foremost reason why a majority of ‘street photography’ these days is not up to par is because it is way too easy for anyone to pick up a half decent camera and go into the streets without a second thought. At the time when street photography was at a high, people had to carry heavy gear outside, they had to wait full days for that one shot that would make sense to them. I’m not saying that the advent of cheaper and lighter cameras is bad, but the sheer presence of a multitude of them means that anyone can pick one up and go out without any real interest in street photography.

These kind of photos are also considered good examples of street photography by some.

 

As a result, you see so many similar photos these days that it is nearly impossible for anyone to stand out. Steaming coffee cups on rainy days, yellow taxis in a monochrome urban setting, thoughtless juxtaposition of elements; these are what constitute a major chunk of street photography these days. And it’s quite sad.

Reflections in puddles are found in every nook and cranny of the internet.

 

The Real Stuff is Lost

In the midst of all these coffee cups and sign boards, the really good street photographs, taken by people who actually care about their content and spend days in its pursuit, are lost. Any good, really good, street photographers that exist in the world remain undiscovered because there is so much saturation throughout the internet that it takes a lot of work and patience to stumble upon something promising.

And that is the main reason why I think street photography is headed towards its doom.

Simple Ways to Get Sharp Photos

Do you ever wonder why your camera can’t take photos as sharp as those you keep seeing on the internet? While sometimes this is simply because of a better camera, mostly the reason for photos that are not so sharp is because photographers tend to omit some important things from the process of taking a photo. These simple tips and tricks can help improve your photos’ overall sharpness a great deal, so go through them carefully.

  1. Use an Appropriate Aperture

Yes, a wider aperture helps you take photos with a faster shutter speed but you also need to understand that the smaller the f-number is on your camera, the shallower the depth of field will be. This is great for portraits, where you would want the background to be blurred out and the subject is perfectly still for you to focus properly, but the same aperture setting will not be suitable for a busy scene because your camera might not focus precisely on the point you want it to focus on. So use a narrower aperture for busier scenes to get more in focus.

  1. Use a Low ISO

The ISO is the biggest culprit for bringing unwanted noise into your photos, and hence cause them to look blurry. Keep this value as low as you can during day time, and find out what the maximum usable limit of your camera’s ISO is for night shots. The lower values can be offset with a wider aperture and slower shutter speed to get ideal exposure.

  1. Shoot in RAW

You won’t believe the amount of detail you can pull from your image if it was shot in RAW format. For example, if you take a RAW photo with a low ISO and later find out that the exposure isn’t perfect, you can get a great deal of light back into your image simply through the RAW processing.

  1. Give Your Camera Some Stability

First, you should learn how to properly hold your camera to minimize the shake while taking a photo. Then, you should invest in a tripod for any sort of stationary shooting. A tripod is an essential device to taking tack sharp photos of landscapes, architecture, or the night sky. If you like to walk around while taking photos, consider buying a monopod instead. This added stability goes a long way into making your photos sharp and well-focused.

  1. Use Optical Zoom

A great advantage of cameras with interchangeable lenses is that you can easily slap on lenses of different focal lengths. It’s always better to zoom into your subject optically rather than cropping them later on your computer. Cropping an image digitally almost always leads to drop in quality, so it’s better to either get closer to your subject when shooting or investing in a good telephoto lens. You can even get compact cameras with super zoom lenses these days.

 

So the next time you go out to take photos, keep these tips in mind. You’ll see how much difference these simple tricks make to the overall quality and sharpness of your photos.

 

How to take Photos in the Dark

Digital photography has come a long way in recent years. Things that were not easily achievable before can now be done through a smartphone. Small lenses can take your camera’s sight to the moon, small bodies can produce images previously only achieved by heavy DSLRs, and fast action can be frozen in an instant.

However, there are still a few things that camera makers are constantly trying to improve upon. One of these is low light photography. While this type of photography has also come a long way, it still is not an easy process to get a perfect shot at night. Till that day comes when all you have to do is press the shutter button to take a great low light photo, here are some tips to help you be better at night photography:

Use a Wide Aperture

Using a lens with a wide aperture is essential if you want to take night photos easily. While it is possible to get a decent low light photo with a narrower aperture, a wider lens is going to make the job much easier because it pulls in more light into the camera sensor. This has two subsequent effects; you don’t have to lower your shutter speed too much and you don’t have to crank up your ISO to an unusable level.

Buy a Tripod

Long exposure photography is a great way to take creative night photos. For this purpose, you need to use a tripod to make sure your camera stays still during the long exposure. You can take photos of the stars, create light paintings, and much more with the help of a steady tripod.

Start Using Lights

You should also use some external lights to brighten up your scenes. There are some great DIY solutions that you can employ in your photography, so you don’t have to spend too much money on these either. Sometimes even a simply flashlight can help you create an amazing long exposure shot at night, or a simple diffuser in front of your camera’s built-in flash can help take a great portrait.

Find the ISO Limit

New photographers are often attracted towards high ISO numbers. Of course, a higher ISO means a brighter image, but it also means an uncontrollable amount of noise in your image. So before you start taking the ISO way up, learn what its upper limit is that can be used without ruining image quality. Do some tests in your room with the lighting turned down, and see how high you can take the ISO before you start seeing visible noise. Most cameras are good up to 800 ISO, and many can go till 1600 before showing too much noise.

So keep these tips and tricks in mind the next time you go out to take some images at night or in the dark. You don’t have to use up too much money or put in a lot of effort to learn how to take good photos in the dark.

 

 

How to Choose the Right Camera for Your Needs

I see a lot of new photographers trying to find the best camera out there, with no knowledge of what each type of camera is best suited for and what their own needs are. Most people, when they want to get into photography, tend to go out and buy a DSLR camera when they might not even need all that power.

If you want to buy your first camera, it would be very helpful for you to actually do some research as to which kind is best suited to your needs. But first, read this post to get a basic idea of what each camera type is and what you can achieve with it.

Compact Cameras – From Casual to Enthusiast

If the extent of your photographic endeavors will be taking photos at family vacations and parties, you could get by with a compact camera. While most compact cameras come in small bodies with not-so-great sensors, there are those that are aimed at enthusiast and professional photographers. These, unlike DSLRs, can be had for quite cheap and are lightweight and small enough not to be burden.

So take a look at some of the best high end, manually controlled compact cameras available because chances are that these will be all you need.

Bridge Cameras – For a More Ergonomic Photographic Feel

If you want a camera that handles like a DSLR but doesn’t vary in quality based on what lens is attached to it, then you should look for Bridge Cameras. These cameras usually have larger sensors than typical point-and-shoot cameras, and complete manual controls for your creative needs. They also typically have super-zoom lenses, so they can be used for a variety of shooting needs from casual family photos to landscape and action photos.

Mirrorless Cameras – A Lighter and Smaller Alternative to DSLRs

If you are even slightly involved in photography news or technology, chances are that you have heard the term mirrorless camera. These are what many people call the future of photography, as they combine an immense amount of power in bodies that are a little larger than an enthusiast compact camera. Mirrorless cameras have fast autofocus, small bodies, and a massive lens collection. They can even be used with lenses that are not originally made for them through the use of adapters. So if you want a DSLR just because it’s the more ‘professional’ type of camera, do some reading about mirrorless technology.

DSLR Cameras – A Matter of Personal Choice

As previously mentioned, a mirrorless camera is as close as it gets to a full blown DSLR. However, DSLRs do have a few advantages still over mirrorless cameras. These include quicker autofocus for action and sports, and a larger variety of native lenses created for these cameras. Ultimately, the choice between one and the other comes down to personal preference, and both these systems can be used for professional photography.

So now that you know a little about the different choices in cameras that you have, do a little thinking as to what you want to use your new camera for before making the purchase.

 

Start Using Social Media to Your Advantage

Social media has really changed the way the world communicates with one another. So many people around the world get their information exclusively via social media websites, be it Facebook, Twitter, or any else.

So when you know that these social platforms have so much reach and so much potential, why haven’t you started using them for your personal benefit as a photographer?

Get Your Work Seen!

Once you upload something on a social media site, you’re putting it in front of millions of potential eyes. It’s important, therefore, to put up work that you want people to see. You also need to learn how to label and title your photos properly. Whichever site you choose to showcase your work, it’s important that you understand how you can maximize the reach of your art.

For Facebook – Make a Page

As a staggering amount of people who use social media regularly are on Facebook, uploading your photos here can be huge. But your Facebook account probably has your friends and family added in it too, which means you might post more casual photos on the website from time to time.

That is why it is important that you make a professional Facebook page for your work. This will help you create a distinction between casual uploads and those that you want potential buyers and clients to see. Upload to your page regularly, write engaging captions and, if possible, run a paid promotion for some time to get more followers.

For Instagram – Be Distinct

Being distinct on Instagram entails two things. First, you should use separate accounts for professional and casual posts. And second, you need to define your individual style.

The former condition is important because once someone opens up your Instagram profile, they see the first few photos you’ve posted right away. These photos, if you are trying to make a name for yourself, should not be casual family ones but rather very carefully chosen ones that you want people to see.

The second condition is important because Instagram is filled to the brim with exceptional photographers from around the world, and it is very hard to make your name here in more niches than one. So take some time to develop your skills, learn what kind of photos you excel in taking, and then make an account on Instagram. Try to upload only within your selected niche, so that your profile has a theme to it when someone opens it. Also, hashtags are important and they need to be precise and well-thought.

Whether you choose to make your photographer profile on Facebook or Instagram, you can be sure of having potential access to millions of customers. All it takes is some commitment, hard work, and a dedication to taking photos. Be smart about what you upload, and how frequently you upload, and try to be regular with your posts. Keep your audience engaged with interesting captions and stories about your images, and your social media presence will sky-rocket before you know it.

Need to up your Instagram Game? There’s an App for that!

Instagram is one of those social media platforms that are not only fun to use but also provide some serious amount of exposure, depending on how you use it. People have been using the platform for years to engage with their friends, expand their social circles, and even sell their products or promote brands to turn it into a viable source of income.

Now, if you’re wondering why your photos don’t get the attention you want them to get, maybe you need to start doing some things differently. There are a lot of ways to get more attention on Instagram but if you ask me, the first thing you need to do is make sure your posts are as visually stunning as they can be. To do that, you should raise your editing skills to the next level by using any number of the following apps and tips. (more…)

Use Your Smartphone to Photograph Birds

It was in 2007 when the first iPhone was announced. The next decade would see phone manufacturers compete with one another rigorously to create a better device. Every component of the smartphone, from the screen to the speaker, saw rapid development over this time. One of the only few aspects of smartphone design that seemed to lag behind was the camera. While manufacturers had managed to cram in a lot of megapixels into their phone sensors, they could only be used for taking casual photographs at family events. (more…)

The Free Way to Edit Photos on a Mac

Whether you like Mac OS or you are a diehard Windows fan, like me, you can’t really deny the stability and impressive performance that Macs are usually known for. Yes, they may be expensive and may not have all the features you could get from a Windows machine in a similar price range, but it is still a fact that a massive number of people around the world have no problem spending a little more money to gain the added stability that comes with a Mac. (more…)

Things Every Photographer Must Know

Photography has turned out to be one of the best hobbies nowadays and people are being much interested in learning about the subject more and more. It is a passion for some, love for some other and a way of living for a few more.

Photography isn’t as easy as it seems. You need a lot of dedication and will power to bring a photograph to life. As they say, photographs talk about moments so you must make sure you are able to bring the moments into life. (more…)