Use Back Button Focus to Pre Focus

Sometimes it’s useful if the shutter button doesn’t focus. Instead you press another button to focus. I’ve used it in the past when shooting street photography (focus on the ground and I know anything a metre away will be in focus), and at night on a tripod when taking long exposure shots of moving lights. Back button focus is when you don’t use your shutter button to focus the camera. Instead you’ll use a button on the back of your camera. Not every camera can do it but check your manual or use Google to search for your camera name and “back button focus”. Here are two good videos describing… Read More

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How to clean your camera sensor

One of the horrors of owning a DSLR and using multiple lenses is the dread of getting dust on the camera sensor. In small amounts it’s visible whenever you shoot using a small aperture like f/22 but if you leave it go too long you’ll see round smudges show up on your every day snaps at f/8 or f/4 too. This video describes part of the process I go through when I clean my camera lens. A Nikon body is used in the video but the method is similar for Canon and other manufacturers. I only have a blower and soft brush but they have served me well over the… Read More

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Long Exposure Photography through Stacking

The usual way of taking long exposure photos is by leaving the shutter open for a long time. This requires either a dark location or ND filters of some sort on the end of your lens. There is another way and that’s called image stacking. In a nutshell, you take a series of well exposed photos of short exposure for the same duration you’d use for a long exposure shot. Then in development you create a number of images files which are then merged together to create a final “averaged” image. You can use Photoshop, GIMP, Imagemagick or I presume many other apps to create this image. I used Imagemagick… Read More

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Shoot … in the Style of Garry Winogrand

Tomorrow I’ll be braving the streets with Cork Streetphotography taking photos in the style of Garry Winogrand. I’d never heard of Garry but a quick Google brought me plenty of digest. First this documentary, filmed in 1982, that showed his technique and friendly nature: Then I came across this excellent blog post about the man. To summarise his technique: Shoot, shoot, shoot. Garry Winogrand shot with a 28mm lens. That’s fairly wide, so he was always in the thick of the action. No telephoto lens allowed. He would frame his shot by looking through the viewfinder, so no shooting from the hip. You can see in the video above how… Read More

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Use Lightroom Collections to Publish Photos

Since I started posting photos online I’ve always created two images: A web sized version to go online. A full size version for my archive. This has served me well as I have from time to time changed the software I use to develop photos. Otherwise, I might have the web version and not be able to recreate a full size version for printing or other uses. Up until very recently after I worked on an image I would add it to an “inphotos” default collection (press B), then right-click and export twice.¬†Once for web, once for full size. I had to do this for each image.¬†Sometimes I could select… Read More

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The Brenizer Method – shallow DOF and wide angle

I love shallow depth of field and the Brenizer Method (or bokeh panorama) is an intriguing way of achieving that in a wide angle shot. Basically, with your lens zoomed in you take many overlapping photos of your scene like you would a panorama but you don’t go for the traditional 360 degree image. It’s more like 50-90 degrees, or what a “normal” lens would see. The beauty of the technique is achieving a very shallow depth of field because your lens is zoomed in and the DOF is shallower still than it would be wide open, or so I’ve read. I haven’t managed to take such a photo yet!… Read More

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Quickly Match Exposures in Lightroom

I had no idea this existed, but then I’ve rarely had to match the exposures of multiple files. When I used the GIMP to edit photos I would play around with multiple exposures more often but Lightroom can extract so much information from RAW files it covers 99% of my image development. tl;dr – fix the exposure of one image, select other relevant images and click on Settings->Match Total Exposures.

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Shoot manual mode with E-TTL flash just once

If you have an external flash (and this even applies to the onboard flash but that’s a lot weaker) for your DSLR try shooting with the camera in manual mode and let the flash light the scene for you. Canon flash units use E-TTL to figure out what power to use, Nikon and other manufacturers use something similar. In the bad old days photographs had to figure out the right settings with a light meter but now the tiny computer in your flash does the job automatically. This means you have a lot more freedom with your camera. Instead of shooting in Program or auto mode switch the dial to… Read More

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Save instead of Export in GIMP 2.8

Version 2.8 of GIMP saves images as .xcf files by default when you hit CTRL-S. I remember a development version did this years ago but it was reversed before final release due to user feedback AFAIR. I can understand the reasoning behind this decision but I hate it. It really, really bugs me. I don’t think it’s going to change in the future but if you must have your CTRL-S “save as a bloody jpeg because I said so” there is a way around it. You’ll use keyboard shortcuts. Go to Edit->Keyboard Shortcuts and then search for export. Now change the shortcut to CTRL-S for either “Export…” or “Export to”.… Read More

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