Tips

Make the Most of Your Phone Vids

You know your phone is often your best bet for photos, but don’t forget videos too!

Some of the best vloggers are using their phone these days, but how? What are they doing to get smooth shots, clear sound and incredible depth of field?

Well, we’ve figured it out. Check out our best tips and tools for making high quality vids with your phone! Everything you need to hit record.

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See a Silhouette and Snap it

Silhouette shots are one of those styles that seem super easy, but are honestly difficult to get “just right.”

The Phoblographer wrote about three things to keep in mind when shooting silhouette shots, and we think they’re spot-on excellent advice!

  • Highlights way up: This is best achieved in post-processing, but keep it in mind while shooting so you can adjust exposure and focal points.
  • Ship Shapes: Silhouette photos rely on visually interesting shapes rather than color contrast or subject matter. Be on the lookout for unique, but recognizable, shapes.
  • Composition: Keep a good balance of shadow and light, or create drama with slightly more of one than the other.

Check out the Phoblographer’s perfectly put article here!

Photo by Chris Gampat

Tip-Top Tips for Shooting Fireworks

With the 4th of July fast approaching, you’re probably already searching for the best ways to shoot them ‘werks.

We’ve got you covered here with a few quick ‘n dirty tips and an excellent article covering more depth.

Quick Tips

  • Prime Location: Scout out the best location for the show in advance – downwind of the fireworks and free of obstructions.
  • Manual Focus: Your auto-focus is gonna have a rough time here, so don’t rely on it. Manually set your focus to infinity (or a bit closer for Canons.)
  • Low ISO: You’ll want the blacks to remain black, so keep things at or under ISO 100.
  • High Aperture: Wide aperture is key with fireworks, since they’re just made of burning embers. Shoot at f/8-f/16.
  • Low Shutter Speed: Use bulb mode if you have it. If you’re bulb-less, go for the longest shutter speed you’ve got.

Check out even more tips in this article at Digital Photography School.

Photo by Micah Goff

Shooting Stars

Summertime is prime time for astrophotography. Snapping shots of the milky way is tricky, but totally doable when armed with the right info and tools.

So, how about them tools and info, eh?

Tools:

  • DSLR or even a decent point ‘n shoot.
  • Tripod or any way to keep your camera rock steady.
  • Compass. Try an app! (Apple/Android)

Info:

  • Find a super dark area near you using this Dark Sky Finder.
  • Try to go either when the moon is hiding (before it rises or after it sets) or during a New Moon.
  • For a perfectly focused stars, don’t go over 30s shutter speed.
  • For light streaking stars, shoot at 30s or higher.
  • Use a remote shutter or set up a timer prior to each shot.

Even Moar Info:

Check out this write-up on astrophotography, it’s full of excellent tips and ideas.

 

Photo by Sarah & Colin’s Astrophotography

Your Hunk-a, Hunk-a Burning Questions
Answered Here


Meet our stellar customer service team. They’re chock-full of information about all of our shop goodies (also great at telling jokes!)

We picked their brains about some of our most popular products in order to answer your most FAQs.

Don’t see your question? Shoot them an E-mail, they love chatting!

CS FAQ ASAP

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Organizing and Archiving Your Photos

It’s spring cleaning time and that means organizing a lifetime or two worth of photos! Whooo! (Guh.)

Let’s break this daunting task into bite-size pieces, yeah?

Step 1: Choose a place to store photos
Pick one place to stash your snaps and stick to it! This Wall Street Journal article makes it easy to find your perfect storage fit, whether you’re a simplicity-lover or tech-savvy pro.

Step 2: Organize at a reasonable pace.
Set aside just 5-10 minutes a day to organize your photos. Then treat yourself to a cupcake, you’ve earned it!

Step 3: Preserve your favorites.
As you go along organizing, you’ll find a few photos that you want to save – maybe even for generations. Like of your parent’s wedding or that time you met Justin Bieber. In the ever-changing digital age, it’s hard to know what the best archival solution is. Take a few minutes to read through this write-up from Photo District News which covers a 3-point consideration for saving your best shots. *Spoiler alert*: Prints are still king.

Whew, that wasn’t so bad was it? Now … about your closet …

Photo by Geoffrey A. Fowler

Deep Thoughts
on Depth of Field

Ah, depth of field. As photo history geeks, we feel certain in our knowledge that every photographer everywhere has asked the pivotal question: “Hold up, what the deuce is depth of field and why is it important?” Yes, the age-old question.

What is it?

Simply put, depth of field (DoF) is the area of your photograph that is sharp and clear.

While your camera can only focus in on a single point, in your final image the area just in front and behind of that single point will sometimes appear to be in focus as well. How much of your photo is in focus is the DoF of that image.

What is it good for?

A narrow DoF eliminates distractions from your subject and typically used in portrait, wildlife and sports photography. While a wide/deep DoF ensures clarity through the entire image, usually best for landscape, cityscapes and big ol’ group shots.

How can I control DoF?

Depth of field is controlled through focus and aperture settings (the f-stops.) So, if your camera has manual controls, making the aperture number smaller (moving toward toward f/1.4) gives you shallower DoF, and raising it up (toward f/22) will give you a deep DoF and make everything in your photo tack sharp.

Tell me more!

Check out this extremely detailed lesson from Digital Photography School for everything you ever wanted to know about DoF and how to use it to best capture your subjects.

Then, if you’re already picking up what we’re putting down, take your DoF play further by faking extremely shallow DoF (no expensive lenses required.)

So how deep does the rabbit hole go? Depends on your DoF!

DoF: Make it and Fake it
 

Photo by Bruce Wunderlich

With Spring Showers Comes Lightning Photos

Storm season is upon us which means it’s the perfect time to try for some shocking shots.

Lightning photos are hard to perfect but super fun to attempt. Here’s a few tips for getting started.

First and most importantly: Stay safe. Distance is your best friend – use a telephoto lens when possible. Keep your gear dry by setting up under a covered patio or deck.

Second: Long exposures mean you need a tripod, or duct tape and a rock, whatever it takes to get that stability!

Third of all: Every storm is different, so your settings will vary slightly each time. Try these to start with and play around from there –

  • ISO 100
  • f/7 aperture
  • 30 second exposure

For a more in depth tutorial, check out Richard Gottardo’s excellent write-up here covering everything from storm searching to stacking images in post.

And you thought puddle jumping was the best part of a storm…

Richard’s Guide to Photoing Lightning
 

Photo by Richard Gottardo

Stuck Inside?
Indoor Photo Ideas
Save the Day

Non-stop snow have you stranded indoors? Or maybe the flu has you quarantined?

Either way, keep hold of your camera ’cause there’s tons of cool stuff to photograph right there under your own roof!

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got ideas to help you get the ball rolling, from shadows on the wall to everything macro. Together we’ll prove that there’s no need to go far for a great shot. It’s right around the corner. Literally!

4 Ideas For Stuck-At-Home Photos

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Keep Your Night Light Looking Natural

Just ’cause the sun disappears after a certain time of day doesn’t mean your camera has to!

If you prefer using natural light in your photos, then shooting after dark (both indoors and out) can feel a little intimidating.

That’s why we’re here with four solutions for tricky nighttime lighting! You’ll make friends with flash, tripods, and everything else you need so your photo-taking can continue late into the night.

Say goodbye to camera curfews. Night owls, rejoice!

4 Tips For Taking Photos After Dark

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