Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

submit your photo


Hall of Fame
View past winners from this year

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
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 — ...
58
votes
6answers
12k views

How to make female chest look bigger?

When photographing women they often want the chest to appear as big as possible. I tried with light coming from different positions but was not satisfied with the results. Are there any tricks to ...
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 ...
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, ...
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 ...
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?
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, ...
34
votes
13answers
1k views

What's the best number of shots to combine to produce an HDR photo?

What's the optimal number of shots to produce a high dynamic range Does it vary from scene to scene? Do the capabilities or limitations of my camera factor in? Are there different HDR techniques ...
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 ...
33
votes
7answers
2k views

How does one develop good photographic vision and style?

I am a relatively new photographer. I've only owned my Canon Rebel XSi for a year, however I was researching SLR/DSLR camera gear and photographic theory for over a year before I purchased a DSLR. I ...
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 ...
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?
26
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it practical to shoot portraits by only candlelight?

Is it practical to shoot portraits in candle lights, only, provided there is no flash around? If yes, then for portrait shots, where and how should one place the candles? Are there any specific ...
26
votes
6answers
3k views

How do I keep the horizon straight when taking a photo (without a tripod)?

I use a DSLR and I very often find that when I shoot without a tripod, and with my eye to the viewfinder (as opposed to using LiveView), my photos end up slightly crooked: lines that should be ...
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 ...
25
votes
14answers
1k views

What are your photography tips for people who are casual photographers? [duplicate]

Inspired by this question, what are your photography tips for people who are not even beginners, just the next person with a camera? With that I mean people like me, who own a simple compact class ...
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 ...
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 ...
23
votes
9answers
1k views

How can I take pictures of far-away mountains to the South?

I'm trying to take some pictures of a pair of mountains to my south. The distance is about 20 miles away. I'm running into the following problems, and I'm wondering what you guys might suggest to get ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
21
votes
3answers
6k views

What is Universal White Balance (UniWB)?

How and in what kind of situations should it be used?
21
votes
3answers
2k views

How to photograph smoke?

I have been trying to get images of smoke against a black background. Does anyone have any advice on the best way to do this and a good lens choice and lighting set up for the job?
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?
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I “shoot from the hip” in street photography?

I often hear reference to "shooting from the hip" in street photography. What technique can I use to get candid, yet sharp and focused photographs? While I am interested in any general advice, the ...
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 ...
20
votes
3answers
1k views

What is Miksang Photography?

I'm curious about a photographic technique called 'Miksang photography.' What is Miksang photography? What are some resources for helping me to learn how to 'do' Miksang photography (or incorporate ...
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 ...
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 ...
19
votes
5answers
829 views

What are some effective techniques for photographing subjects who wear glasses?

What are some effective techniques for photographing subjects who wear glasses? I am sorting out my collection of digital images as I install new software, and find there are many images that would ...
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.
18
votes
2answers
2k views

How much contrast should I have?

Or rather: What artistic effect does a high-contrast photo have on the viewer? What artistic effect does a low-contrast photo have on the viewer? How do I know when high contrast is "too much" or ...
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...
17
votes
7answers
822 views

How do you develop 'creative taste' in order to take a good photo?

As someone who's more technically minded than creative I find it hard to know what constitutes a good photo. To me it almost seems like some type of voodoo trying to figure this out and my only ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

When would one need manual focus override?

In lens reviews, ability to override auto-focus manually is often referred to as a good (and important) feature. I have rarely, if ever used that feature, so I feel I might be missing out on an ...
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, ...
17
votes
2answers
791 views

How do event photographers balance “spontaneous” snapshots versus well-executed shots?

I am not a professional photographer, but I often play at "event photographer" for family events and sometimes informal work events. I find myself struggling with a desire to capture candid snapshots ...
17
votes
3answers
645 views

What are some tips for photographing rainbows?

The few times I have tried to capture a rainbow the results have been washed out. Although I have found a polarizing filter to be very useful for sky photography, I'm guessing that it would wipe a ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I get better focus when a subject is moving towards or away from the camera?

When shooting events or action photos, engaging people, I often find that frontal (or rear) perspective may be very expressive, but my problem is focusing when the subject moves towards the camera (or ...
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 ...
16
votes
8answers
366 views

I want to graduate from camera operator to photographer

As a geek, photography is a great subject. Lots of gadgets, physics, electronics etc to debate, discuss and learn about. but how do you transition from being the guy who knows what all the buttons and ...
16
votes
4answers
937 views

How do I create a “day-night” scene in a photo?

I recently came upon the image below, and more like them on Stephen Wilke's website, and was wondering how the image was made. It really seems that there would be some form of post processing, but ...