Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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Questions regarding technique, as opposed to style, hardware, or software.

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32
votes
12answers
14k views

How can I get dramatic shallow DOF with a kit lens?

I'm currently using an entry-level DSLR with 18-55mm lens and having great trouble trying to creating a blurred background effect in my photos. Now matter what aperture or shutter speed I choose, I'm ...
56
votes
15answers
8k views

How does one focus for landscape photos in very dark conditions?

Tonight I tried my best to take some night landscapes in the darkest of dark conditions. Hoping for an epic composition of the Milky Way and a landmark. Of course, none of my glass could auto focus ...
39
votes
5answers
4k views

When best to use Multi-Zone/Matrix, Spot, or Center-Weight?

What are Multi-Zone/Matrix metering, Center-Weighted metering, and Spot metering? What about Partial? Is there a good rule of thumb, or a few pointers, on when best to use each metering mode?
83
votes
6answers
4k views

How and why do you use an image histogram?

I realize that an image histogram is a graphical display of an images tonal distribution (i.e. horizontal darks to lights, vertical pixel distribution), but how does one really use it and why? I mean, ...
7
votes
8answers
1k views

What macro techniques offer an alternative to expensive optics?

I was wondering what are the alternative macro techniques people use instead of buying expensive macro optics. I know about single lens reverse macro technique; what other alternative techniques allow ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

What is 'freelensing'?

I've recently heard about a photographic technique called 'freelensing.' How do I go about 'freelensing,' and what can I do with the technique?
88
votes
11answers
4k views

How do I approach people for a natural look in street photography?

I am enjoying taking candid photos of people, but the subject is usually someone I know, or it is during some family/friend event, so after a while the people get used to the presence of the camera ...
22
votes
7answers
14k views

How to do the ghost mannequin effect?

I'm looking into taking some product photography and I would like to get the ghost mannequin effect, but I can't find any proper documentation. Something a bit like this: Can you please give a ...
21
votes
3answers
6k views

What is Universal White Balance (UniWB)?

How and in what kind of situations should it be used?
19
votes
6answers
945 views

How do I manage good photos of babies and kids?

Apart from the strain they create by not sitting in one place while in photo shoot, kids do make nice subjects for pictures. I have been trying various scenes, props, etc., to get the best out of my ...
39
votes
13answers
4k views

Why do it “in-camera” rather than in post-processing?

There's a very common attitude among photographers that the appearance of a photo (ex: exposure) should be created using the features of the camera (aperture, shutter, etc; does not include the ...
39
votes
6answers
2k views

What technique and camera settings should I use to capture lightning strikes?

I enjoy getting images of different types of weather and would really like to capture some good lightning shots. I have a feeling that I should be stopping down a bit and taking somewhat long ...
19
votes
12answers
2k views

What's the best way to create a tilt-shift photograph?

Specifically, what's the best way to go about shooting photos that have a fake miniature quality to them, which produces high-quality (and believable) images? Is there some special lens that you can ...
25
votes
13answers
7k views

How does one get manual focus right with a fast-aperture lens?

I have got an old lens (f1.4) that I have to use only with manual focus on a DSLR. Well, it is difficult for me to get the subject on focus. Although on focus according to the viewfinder, the actual ...
6
votes
4answers
7k views

How do I know I have the correct exposure when shooting in manual mode?

I have a Canon XTI which I've been using for a few years now. Most of the time I'm been shooting in one of the "semi-manual" modes like aperture priority or shutter priority, but now I'd like to try ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a photoshop plugin or any other piece of software that can do super resolution?

I want to combine multiple photographs of the same lanscape to increase the resolution of the final image. More details on the method here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super-resolution What software ...
37
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I get photos showing the “shaft of light” effect?

I would like to be able to capture a photo which shows light shafts coming through the window. A famous example is this: I'm guessing this involves a tripod, a long exposure and strong sunlight, ...
20
votes
8answers
2k views

How can I reduce the noise present when taking pictures without lowering my ISO?

I know that high ISOs tend to produce more noise, and some cameras' software can handle that noise better than others, but are there any other settings or conditions tha affect visible noise? I'm ...
26
votes
7answers
5k views

When to use shutter priority instead of aperture priority?

Under what circumstances would you use aperture priority vs. shutter priority and vice-versa? I typically don’t use shutter priority (ever) and favor aperture priority to try to get a max aperture ...
17
votes
3answers
911 views

What techniques do you employ to control contrast in your landscape shots?

Or to put it differently - how to keep the highlights from blowing and shadows losing details? EDIT: I'm mostly interested in what can be done in the field to get me the optimal data to begin with, ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

How are virtual tour photos taken?

I am currently working to design a flash virtual tour, but I know little about how the photographs are taken. Ideally I'd like to be able to take a set of 6 shots from a single focal point, and be ...
12
votes
4answers
418 views

How to keep flash from disrupting the scene?

My friends and I have observed that the act of using a flash in informal settings (for example, pictures of a Christmas party or a busy toddler) tends to draw attention to the photographer and thus ...
111
votes
7answers
18k views

What are the best techniques for photographing overweight people?

I'm not the most lean person on the planet, and many pictures seem to really point this out. While I wish I was simply in better shape, it is simply not the case for me or unfortunately, many ...
29
votes
7answers
3k views

How can I stop my HDR shots looking so fake?

All my attempts at HDR come out looking remarkably fake, how can I reduce the halos effect?
24
votes
5answers
2k views

How to cope with high contrast?

Many times (especially around midday), we encounter lighting situations where the contrast of the scene is too high to capture with a camera. What can we do to create a useful picture in such ...
17
votes
4answers
7k views

How can I make good fountain/waterfall photos?

I have a Canon Digital EOS Rebel XT camera, and I wonder how you could take photos of moving water like rivers, waterfalls and fountains...
16
votes
7answers
726 views

How can I make nice, professional looking corporate portraits?

I have been asked to shoot a couple of portraits at work for a conference brochure. I am a keen amateur but never really shot corporate portraits. I will use a Nikon D40 and the 50mm 1.4G. I am ...
8
votes
4answers
620 views

Is there a typical settings order before shooting?

Suppose we have time to shoot with an DSLR. Before actually shooting, some settings have to be adjusted to get a picture. Suppose we have a brand new DSLR in hand and every setting has to be defined. ...
6
votes
2answers
778 views

How can I get more of this macro photo in focus?

I want to make a full focus on the body, for example: I need to have a clear focus on the each balls in the photo. I used just single point focus. In this picture I used: shutter speed: 8 ...
66
votes
10answers
15k views

How should I photograph falling snow?

We don't get much snow in the UK, so I don't have much experience photographing it, and when I tried photographing falling snow last year I found it very hard to capture the snowflakes in the air — ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

How are mini-planet photos created?

Here are some examples of what I mean on Flickr -- though I would be open to a better source of examples.
21
votes
6answers
569 views

Are there specific techniques/filters for snowscapes?

It is fast becoming winter, and this will be my first winter that I have a decent camera, so I was wondering how to make the most of the seasons beauty. I am wondering if there are any techniques ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

How to maximise contrast range of distant landscapes with blue haze?

Distant landscapes often appear hazy, washed-out and blue due to Rayleigh scattering. What can be done to maximise the contrast range of the exposure when photographing such scenes? For example: ...
12
votes
12answers
2k views

How do you protect your camera when taking pictures in inclement weather?

Title basically speaks for itself: How do you protect your equipment when you are shooting in severe conditions? Rain? Severe heat/cold? Snow? Fog? ... Other? What sorts of techniques do you use to ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

Can manual focus be faster than autofocus?

Recently I've gotten into street photography, and I've noticed there are some situations where it is technically impossible to autofocus, to be precise, when you have moving objects and don't want to ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the best techinque to smooth skin?

I am toning a senior portrait right now and am wondering what the best skin smoothing technique is. Think glamor. I know how to take care of blemishes, but I'm looking to enhance that silky skin look. ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Tips for Shooting Crowds, Political Demonstrations, Rallies and other 'Lively' Events

Over the next few months I'm going to be spending weekend time documenting a number of demos and rallies here in the UK. They events are to be held outdoors, during the day and may become ...
8
votes
1answer
838 views

What technique and settings should I use to capture meteor showers?

I'm just starting out with astrophotography and have read that this years most spectacular meteor shower display (at least where I live in Canberra, Australia) will be the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower: ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

What's the best way to take a picture of an LCD or CRT screen?

I have seen many bad pictures of LCD and CRT screens. How do I get a good picture of an LCD or CRT screen?
3
votes
2answers
659 views

What advice would you give for taking photos on a boat cruise at night?

Tomorrow I will be going on a boat cruise in the evening in London. I will no doubt be looking for photo opportunities on the boat, both of people, as well as the landmarks/surroundings. I'm pretty ...
41
votes
5answers
6k views

How can one learn to shoot with both eyes open, and what are the advantages?

Greg made an intriguing comment in this answer (emphasis mine): One of the things we're supposed to do when we're shooting is keep both eyes open; That helps avoid fatigue from shooting for hours, ...
33
votes
7answers
9k views

What methods do macro photographers use to get so close to butterflies, bees, insects and the like?

I have seen some super macro photos of things like butterflies and bees that left me wondering how the photographer is able to get so close to the subject long enough to take a photo. Most of the ...
22
votes
5answers
10k views

How does Peter Lik manage to capture the stars in such detail in the following photograph?

Here's the picture: I'm curious to know what techniques (i.e. shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc...) he uses to capture the stars so vibrantly (assuming it wasn't Photoshopped). I'm guessing it was ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the Black Card Technique?

I have found interested comments on 500px: Non-HDR-processed / Non-GND/ND-filtered / non-blended● Black Card Technique and group on Flickr. Could somebody explain how to and cons and pros of this ...
22
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I meter for long exposures (10+ minutes)?

One of my longstanding interests is long exposure night photography. However, many of the situations where I am shooting require exposure lengths on the order of 10 minutes, which is far beyond what ...
13
votes
4answers
535 views

What techniques should be used when attempting bird photography?

I'm pretty new, and was just playing with the D7000 kit taking pictures of birds in the area. I asked for my photo critiqued in Chat, led to some good general purpose information I think is applicable ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I create a grayscale with color highlighting effect in Lightroom?

Highlighting certain area with color, leaving the rest grayscaled — what is the name of this effect in photography? What is the most precise way to achieve this effect in Lightroom?
13
votes
9answers
858 views

How to compare RAW photos quickly?

It's not uncommon for me to return from a hike or outing and have 500+ images to "sift" before getting started on post processing. Is there a better way to compare 5-10 photos of the same image ...
10
votes
3answers
863 views

How to get the best results with resizing an image?

I've heard that resizing your image from 100% to the desired size is not a good way to resize an image. Given developer/photographers like Fred Miranda have written tools to help resize your images ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

How to capture details of the moon?

I just purchased a D5100 and I am slowly learning the basics. I mostly shoot landscape/scenery shots. I have been trying to capture the full moon unsuccessfully. It looks focused in the ...