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Which Filters Do I Need?

As photography has advanced, filters become less and less necessary.  The old black and white photographers used a lot of filters.  Now we use very few (and some none at all).  The only filters I personally use – or that I really think are useful – are Polarizing filters, Neutral Density filters, and Graduated Neutral Density […]

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How Much Editing is Too Much?

Unfortunately, there is no answer to this question.  Different people have different ideas on this topic.  Some people want everything to appear natural, and the tipping point for them is when their photos does not.  Others couldn’t care less about that and in fact don’t want their pictures to appear natural.  Neither approach is correct.  […]

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How Can I Get Great Background Blur?

I know you want me to tell you a secret or a gadget that will get you great background blur easily.  Don’t worry – I will do so – but first please indulge me while I stress the fundamentals. Aperture Settings As you likely already know, getting a blurred out background or shallow depth of field […]

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Should I Get a Variable Strength Neutral Density Filter?

I actually do not recommend you getting a variable strength neutral density (ND) filter.  That might surprise you.  It is not that I don’t agree that they are a wonderful idea (they are), it is just that I don’t think they work properly. A variable strength neutral density filter is actually not a neutral density […]

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What Strength Neutral Density Filter Should I Buy?

Common strengths of neutral density (ND) filters are 3-stop, 6-stop, and 10-stop.  I recommend that you start with a 6-stop, but any of them will be fine. I find that a 6-stop filter is powerful enough to achieve virtually any goals I might have in terms of lengthening my shutter speed.  At the same time, […]

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Creating Great Photos: What It Takes

If you are reading this, it is because you have a passion for creating great photographs.  You think a lot about how to improve your photos.  You work at it.  Probably a lot.  So let’s talk a little about how to do that.  Specifically, what does it take? But First, What It Doesn’t Take You […]

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Find Creativity in Photography: Connect the Dots

or Using the Practical to Become Creative Do you want to become more creative? I think we all do. But how do you do that? By focusing on creativity itself? I really don’t think so. In fact, I don’t think you can really teach creativity. But at the same time, I don’t think creativity is something you […]

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The Lens for Your Next Big Trip

A question I seem to get pretty frequently is, “I’m going on a big 2-week trip to [exotic location], so what lens do you think I should buy?” My answer usually surprises them. I tell them don’t buy any lens at all. Rather, rent a lens. Judging from the surprise I get when I tell […]

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Photo Organization Made Simple

My guess is that you want your photos to be organized, but do not want to spend any time worrying about it. You want to be able to find your photos quickly. There is nothing worse than looking through a bunch of folders for a photo you know you have somewhere, but being unable to […]

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The Color of the Sky

We all know the sky during the day is blue. We know that clouds are white (or grey). And we know that the sky can turn different shades of yellow and orange at night. But why? When you are photographing in the outdoors, the sky is such a huge part of your pictures that it […]

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A Little Cleanup Can Go a Long Way

About eight or nine months ago, I took this picture of a sheep in Ireland: I really liked the picture for a lot of reasons. First of all, it isn’t that often that you can catch a relatively close-up, frontal view of a sheep like that. It certainly isn’t unheard of, but I’ve been to […]

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Goal Setting in Photography

As I write this, we are in the final few days of 2016. As with the end of every year, we are all being bombarded with calls to set new goals for the coming year. Everybody talks about New Year’s resolutions, for example. If you follow any productivity or self-help resources, this is the time […]

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Do I Need to Learn Exposure?

You already know I’m going to say “yes”; but I think there is a little more to it than you might expect. I approach questions like this with a degree of caution. The reason is that I’ve seen answers from experts in other contexts go horribly wrong. For example, I’ve always been interested in sailing. […]

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