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Sony a6500 vs. a6400

Sony a6500 vs. a6400

Sony a6500 vs. Sony a6400: The Ultimate Comparison

In this article, we break down the differences between the Sony a6500 and the Sony a6400 mirrorless cameras, so you can decide which camera is best for you.

Deciding between two similar cameras can be a tough call, and when prices are similar, it’s important to compare the features and see which is most compatible with your needs.

We did the work for you to make your decision easier, so look at the following side-by-side comparison of the Sony a6500 and Sony a6400 cameras to see which is the best fit for you.

Key Details at a Glance:

Here are the side-by-side key specs of the Sony a6500 and the Sony a6400 cameras:

Sony a6500 Sony a6400
Price New: $998.00 New: $898.00
Release Date 10/6/16 1/15/19
Sensor 24MP APS-C CMOS 24MP APS-C CMOS
Viewfinder EVF EVF
Articulating LCD Screen Yes Yes
LCD Screen Size 3 3
Viewfinder Resolution 2359k 2359k
Lens Type Sony E Mount Sony E Mount
Continuous Shooting Speed 11.0 fps 11.0 fps
Video Resolution 3840×2160 3840×2160
Weather sealed Yes Yes
Image Stabilization Sensor-Shift No
Color Depth 24.5 24.0
Dynamic Range 13.7 13.6
Low Light ISO 1405 1431
Battery Life 350 410
Time-Lapse Recording With app Yes
Touchscreen Yes Yes
Selfie Friendly LCD No Yes
Wireless Connection Yes Yes
Bluetooth Connection Yes Yes
Microphone Port Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
Smartphone Remote Yes Yes
Built-in Flash Yes Yes
External Flash Yes Yes
Lenses Available 115 115
Dimensions 120x67x53mm 120x67x60mm
Weight 453g 403g

In-Depth Comparison:

Looking at key specs of each camera can help give you an idea of which camera will fit your style best, but here we go a bit deeper in-depth to help you understand how these features function within the cameras.

Design

Sony a6500 vs a6400 DimensionsThe Sony a6400 and Sony a6500 have very similar designs, but there are a few differences that set them apart. Beginning with the dimensions, the Sony a6500 is 120x67x53mm compared to the Sony a6400 which is 120x67x60mm.

Due to the difference in depth, the Sony a6400 is slightly thicker in design. It’s not a major change to the camera design, and can be contributed to the hinge LCD screen, in which this camera allows you to flip the LCD screen so you are able to see yourself if you are taking selfies or vlogging.

Sony a6500 vs a6400 - Screen Comparison

Image via Engadget

The Sony a6500 does have a hinged screen though, just not one that will flip completely, instead it works well when angled to shoot above or below eye level.

Sony a6500 vs a6400 - Screen Comparison 2

Image via Imaging Resource

Slightly lighter in weight, the Sony a6400 is 50g lighter than the Sony a6500. Again, the weight difference isn’t a huge determining factor for which camera performs better, but it is important to note that the Sony a6400 is a bit sleeker in design.

Overall, the color, physical design, and dimensions aren’t very different, but when deciding between the two, the LCD hinge design can be a deciding factor. If you know you’ll be using your camera for selfies or vlogging, the design of the Sony a6400 is the way to go.

Image Quality

Another aspect of the cameras with very little difference is the image quality. Due to the 24.2 megapixel resolution, the Sony a6400 may technically have better contrast for some shots, but the difference isn’t very noticeable.

Shot on A6400:

Sony a6500 vs a6400 - Image Comparison

Shot on A6500:

Sony a6500 vs a6400 - Image Comparison 2

Images via Alphashooters

However, the Sony a6500 has built in image stabilization which helps utilize slower shutter speeds without having hand blur. Since the Sony a6500 has image stabilization built in, it makes it a better option for still shots.

The Sony a6500 also has a higher burst buffer, allowing 233 JPEGs or 107 RAW shots to be taken before the camera slows, whereas the Sony a6400 can handle 99 JPEGs or 46 RAW shots.

Autofocus

With the Sony a6400 being a newer model, the autofocus technology has seriously upgraded. The Sony a6500 takes 0.5 seconds to autofocus, while the Sony a6400 can autofocus in 0.025 seconds.

Of course, these speeds depend on the lighting and setting of your shoots, but the Sony a6400 can autofocus pretty quickly. The Sony a6400 has an impressive real time tracking feature that manages to really stick to its subjects, which is convenient for close up shots and far shots with moving subjects.

This camera is great for subjects that are constantly moving, like toddlers, sporting events, or even wildlife. If you’re looking for a camera with revamped autofocus technology that really gets the job done, the Sony a6400 is the better choice.

Low Light Performance

The Sony a6400 has a higher extended ISO, 102400, compared to the Sony a6500, 51200, which provides more flexibility with low light shooting.
Sony a6500 vs. a6400 ISO

Image via Jomaker

This speaks for itself, as the ISO range will allow for better low lighting shoots with the Sony a6400. This isn’t to say that the Sony a6500 doesn’t perform well in low light conditions, though.

As a newer model, the Sony a6400 is equipped with a broader ISO range to help with low light performance while also reducing noise. If you know you’ll be using your camera a lot in low light conditions, the Sony a6400 is a good choice.

Video

Sony a6500 vs a6400 - Video Comparison

Image via Trusted Reviews

The newer Sony a6400 has been marketed towards the vlogging and social media crowd, specifically with the ability to flip the LCD screen to see yourself filming in real time. This addition makes video for vlogs, YouTube, and other self-recorded videos much easier than the Sony a6500.

One downside to this feature, however, is the screen will be blocked if you are using a microphone hot shoe attachment.

The Sony a6500 has built in-camera stabilization, which definitely comes in handy when shooting video. This feature helps reduce camera shake and produces smoother video quality when shooting video that can’t be stabilized with a tripod or rig.

Both cameras shoot 4k video, so the quality is great. With both cameras having a microphone port, quality sound is easy to achieve with these cameras as well.

If you plan on vlogging, you may choose to opt for the Sony a6400, since the features are more geared towards social media and vlogging activities. If you plan on shooting video that can’t be stabilized with a tripod, it’s probably best to go with the Sony a6500.

Final Thoughts

Overall, these cameras are similar in design and technology, with a few differences in autofocus and low light technology, as well as newer vlogging features in the Sony a6400.

It comes down to your purpose when deciding between the two cameras, with the Sony a6500 being a better choice if you know you need in-camera stabilization or a higher burst buffer, and the Sony a6400 having newer autofocus technology and a hinged screen for vlogging and selfie mode.

Nude Photography

The Complete Intro Guide to Nude Photography

The Complete Intro Guide to Nude Photography

In this guide, we provide an introduction to nude photography, along with tips, examples, and recommended gear.

Nude photography can be seen as an extension genre of portrait photography, and can be used for many purposes including artistic endeavors, commercial use, and educational use. Although this form of photography has been known to cause controversy among creatives, as long as it is executed and handled properly, it can deliver amazing and creative results.

Dating back to the earliest forms of art, the naked human form has always been a subject of interest for painters and sculptors alike. Making its way into the modern world, nude subjects have found a way into photography, as many nude photographers use this genre as a way to explore the human form.

While this genre can seem exciting and even a little bit mysterious to some, this guide will help breakdown the basics of nude photography while providing recommended sources and gear as well.

**Caution: This article features nude photos for the express purpose of photography/art. If you are uncomfortable viewing this type of material, please do not continue on.**

What is Nude Photography?

The basic definition of nude photography is a genre of fine art photography that depicts a human nude as the subject with an emphasis on composition and form.

Simply put, nude photography is less about having a nude model, and more about focusing on the human form. Nude photography is best seen as an extension of portrait photography, and it can deliver stunning results when handled correctly.

Nude Photography 0 6

Image via Smart Photo Courses

Although nude photography can sometimes be viewed as a touchy subject, looking at it through an artistic lens can help alleviate some hesitation towards the genre. Many photographers in this genre view the process as a sensual experience for the model and the viewer, as well as a way to strip down to the bare subject of human emotion.

Nude Photography vs. Boudoir & Other Subgenres

There are many reasons for one to get into nude photography, other than just taking nude portraits. Many nude photographers may want to explore promoting body positivity, using the pictures for educational purposes, artistic endeavors, and even commercial use.

Boudoir

Boudoir

Image via Looks Like Film

This style of sensual and intimate portraiture doesn’t necessarily require a completely nude model, but the principles of exploring human form and creating an intimate connection with the camera are the same. Boudoir is typically done by a subject for an intimate partner to enjoy, and can include costumes, nudity, and semi-nude poses.

Educational

This use for nude photography can help create diagrams and educational resources for analysis. When used in an educational manner, nude photography focuses less on the photograph, and more on how the subject can educate its viewers.

These photographs are typically used for illustrative purposes and are usually labeled for the viewer to understand what they are looking at.

Erotic

Nude Photography 0 1

Image via Wikipedia

This subgenre tends to get a bad reputation for being degrading or bordering too close to pornography, but that’s not actually the case (when done correctly).

Even some of the first photographers explored the use of erotic photography, typically photographing their nude subject with consent for other patrons. It’s also important to note that this subgenre is meant to be sensual, rather than exploitive.

Glamour, Advertising, and Commercial Use

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Image via Business Insider

Glamour photography is typically what we think of when we see modern semi-nude advertisements. Think Abercrombie & Fitch or Cosmopolitan advertising campaigns, where the subject is alluring, but the model is never completely nude. This is used frequently in modern day marketing, which adds a commercial section for nude photographers to work in.

Nude Photography Examples

With the basic definition and subgenres of nude photography in mind, take a look at some of these examples to help you get started:

Nude Photography 0 8

Image via Lauren Naylor via 500px

Nude photography doesn’t always mean a full shot of nudity. Subtly alluding to the model’s nudity can create a complex image for the viewer. This shot utilizes a bathtub and steam to conceal and hint at the model’s human form. By leaving the hands, legs, and face visible, the photographer makes sure to keep the subject of the form in tact.

Nude Photography 0 7

Image via Lauren Naylor via 500px

By having your model face away from the camera, you can explore the other side of the human form without revealing too much of your model’s body. This is another way to add a layer of mystery to your photos while also emphasizing the beauty of the human form.

This example also utilizes a dark background with light highlighting the back of the form, which emphasizes this part of the model’s body as the subject of this picture.

Nude Photography 0 10

Image via Lauren Naylor via 500px

Once you get a bit more comfortable, and if your model is okay with it, try moving your shoots outside. This allows you to explore the human form in a new way, and to capture the beauty of the scene around your model. When shooting outdoors, be sure to do it in a secluded area where your model feels most comfortable, and don’t forget to let your model warm up (in clothes) between shots.

Nude Photography 0 9

Image via Jenn via Photo Critic

Lighting can make a huge difference in nude photography. This example shows how this genre can explore the ways lighting affects the human form, as the model’s form is emphasized by the soft light from the window she is facing. Get creative with your lighting, and see what works best for the mood you’re trying to convey.

Nude Photography 0 4

Image via Hans Proppe via Photo Critic

This image illustrates how complex the human form can be, and how it can be used in an abstracted manner to create a photo that requires the viewer to really look at what is happening. By focusing on a nude body, while not emphasizing the nudity but rather abstracting the human form, this example shows how the human form can be utilized for a photo’s composition.

Nude Photography 0 2

Image via Artemisia Artex via Photo Critic

This example of nude self-portraiture shows how you can experiment with the human form while delivering a traditional looking portrait. The traditional studio lighting and framing of the model makes this seem like a normal portrait, and the nude aspect allows the viewer to connect with the human form.

Nude Photography 0 11

Image via Fix the Photo

Once the model and photographer are comfortable with each other, trying out complex poses and different angles can provide nice results. This example utilizes interesting poses as well as monotone colors, which help emphasize the human form.

Nude Photography 0 3

Image via Smart Photo Courses

Working with a nude couple can definitely add options to your shoot. Of course, you’ll have to find models willing to do a nude shoot or find a couple who want a nude photoshoot together. This example shows two people standing hand in hand, but there are endless possibilities for poses when working with two people.

Nude Photography 0

Image via Oliver Vaseechi at Smart Photo Courses

Another example of using a couple for your shoot, this photo shows how it’s possible to create a scene where the subjects are delicately interacting with each other. Again, this photo emphasizes the human form and adds a layer of sensuality without degrading its subjects. To achieve a shot like this, your models must be comfortable with each other and verbal communication is key throughout the process.

How To Get Started With Nude Photography

Getting started with nude photography can be a bit difficult if you don’t know where to begin, but these steps can help you get started:

1. Find a Model

Having a model for nude photography is a bit different than standard portrait models. You’ll need to find a model that is comfortable modeling nude and is interested in shooting with you.

Maybe reach out to previous models you’ve worked with or any friends that have expressed interest in nude photography. Check out any photographers you follow on social media, and if they have a model you think you might want to work with, reach out professionally to discuss a potential shoot.

You can also check out places like Model Mayhem, Model Management, and Musecube for potential models. Just be sure to act professionally and appropriately when reaching out.

2. Get Comfortable With Your Model

Before actually jumping into a shoot, it’s important to establish a connection with your model. Maybe sit down beforehand to discuss ideas, get to know each other a little better, and talk out any awkwardness either of you may be feeling before the shoot.

3. Organize Your Equipment

Shooting nude photography doesn’t require too much fancy gear, but it’ll be helpful for you to know which lenses you plan on using and what props you want your model to work with.

4. Research for Inspiration

You should never copy another artist’s work, but looking through the other portfolios of nude photographers can help inspire your own shoots. See what kinds of poses, lighting, and props you like, and think about ways you could creatively incorporate these in your shoot.

5. Plan Your Shoot

The easiest way to have a smooth photoshoot is to plan ahead. Agree upon your location with your model, whether you work out of an in-home studio, professional studio, or want to try an outside shoot. Have a working idea of pose, props, and what shots you’ll want to get.

6. Get Creative

Try out shots in black and white. Experiment with different props like fabric, flowers, blankets, and bathtubs. Try close-up shots of different body parts, and full frame shots of your model. Just be sure to communicate what you want to try with your model before you actually try anything.

Nude Photography Tips

Like any genre, there are several tricks that can help you get the most out of your nude photography shoots. Following these tips will help you have successful shoots with stunning results.
Black and White Nude Photography

Image via DIY Photography

  • Make sure your model is comfortable. This may seem like a no-brainer, but always keeping a verbal dialogue going with your model is extremely important. You should make sure wherever you’re shooting is warm enough for the model as well because it can get pretty chilly when clothes aren’t involved.
  • Keep your poses simple. Most of the beauty from nude photography is going to come from the human form, so intricate poses aren’t exactly necessary in this situation. You’ll most likely get better shots when your model is relaxed, so the simpler the better.
  • Don’t ignore the details. All of your shots don’t have to be full body nudes. Get creative and focus on different aspects of the human form. Try focusing on the back, stomach, legs, or arms instead of the full frame.
  • Nude photography does not require complete full frontal nudity. Of course, there are instances when you’ll want to get a fully nude shot, but it’s okay to have your model cover themselves with body parts or props. Keeping some of the nudity obscured in shots can help add a layer of mystery to your work.
  • Don’t touch your model. This seems like a bit of a no brainer when working with nude models, especially when trying to create a comfortable space for you and your model, but if you’re used to shooting clothed portraits your brain may be on autopilot mode. Be sure to never touch your model, and work on verbally communicating any ideas or suggestions you may have.
  • Try out black and white. Nude photography is a great time to experiment with black and white photography, since there isn’t really any color from clothing in the shot, and it can deliver some beautiful results. The lighting can really highlight the human form, and experimenting with silhouettes can add mystery to your photos.

Blogs and Recommended Resources

If you’d like to explore nude photography further, we recommend checking out the following resources:

Recommended Gear

Since nude photography can be similar to portrait photography, you can plan on using your standard equipment like studio lighting, lenses, and camera accessories for a shoot.

While most of your typical portrait gear can work for nude photography, there are a few items that will help deliver the best results at your shoots. Try using the gear below for a successful shoot!

  • Longer Lenses (85mm, 50mm, etc). Using these lenses will allow you to get a full-frame body at a distance from your model. If you’re just entering the nude photography world, this is a good way to get comfortable with shooting nude models before getting close with a 35mm lens.
  • Props. Although this isn’t camera-specific gear, it is important to try and get creative using props. These can be simple items like sheets and sheer fabric, or they can be a bit more personality centered like a guitar or flowers. You can get creative with water and body paint, as well, just be sure to talk to your model about their preferences.
  • Lighting reflectors. Studio lighting kits can help emphasize the human form, and using reflectors can also add to your photos.You can also use reflectors to bounce natural light to create a softer effect in your images.

Exploring Nude Photography

Getting into the nude photography world can seem overwhelming at first, but having a full understanding of the expectations of the field including the subgenres, tips, and the recommended gear can help get started.

If you’re interested in exploring this field, be sure to do your research and get creative!

Photography Hacks

101 Photography Hacks, Tips & Tricks

101 Photography Hacks, Tips, & Tricks

One of the best things about photography is how easy it is to get creative, and the opportunities are endless. Buying equipment to produce specific shots can get expensive, but luckily there are tons of cheap and easy DIY hacks to help.

To get you started, this article covers over 100+ different DIY tricks, tips, and hacks you can use to up your photography game.

Read on or use the links below to “jump” to the section you’d like to check out:

DIY Photography Lighting Hacks & Tricks

1. Make a Cardboard Light Stencil

DIY Camera Trick

Image via Fstoppers

This quick hack uses materials you probably already have laying around at home: a cardboard box, print out shape, glue, Xacto knife, and colored wax paper. Pick your shape, cut it out, and start snapping some cool shots.

2. Use Glow Sticks For Long Exposure

DIY Camera Trick

Image via JENerationDIY

All you need for this hack is a few glow sticks, which you can usually pick up at any store

for $1, a model, and a dark room!

3. Use Steel Wool and Fire for Long Exposure

DIY Camera Trick

Image via PeterMcKinnon

For a more challenging and bigger long exposure shot, using steel wool and fire can result in jaw-dropping photos. Be careful though, this hack can be a bit dangerous, so be sure to use an open area and protective gloves if you want to attempt these shots.

4. Create a Makeshift Softbox Using a Shower CurtainDIY Camera Hack 27

Image via COOPH

This trick is a great option for a DIY soft light. All you need is a shower curtain, which you probably already have or can easily grab at the store, something to hang the curtain, a bright light.

5. Make Custom Bokeh Shapes

Photography Hack0 63

Image via How About Orange

This hack is super simple for those wanting to explore the world of Bokeh. Pick your shape, connect your DIY tube to your lens with a low aperture setting, and have fun shooting.

Pro Tip: Work on adjusting your focus and lens to get different styles and Bokeh effects.

6. Create a Reflective Card Using Aluminum Foil & Cardboard

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Image via DIYProjects

Grab a piece of cardboard you probably have laying around and wrap it evenly in tin foil. The easiest DIY reflector in under 5 minutes!

7. Create a Beauty Dish Using an Aluminum Roasting Pan

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Image via DIY Photography

Another simple lighting trick: grab an aluminum turkey-roasting pan, a lambency diffuser (you can even DIY one with this trick), and a colored lid for the diffuser. A few short steps and you’ll be on your way to perfectly lit model shots!

8. Create a DIY Light Table Using Cardboard

Photography Hack0 4

Source

A great prop for product photos. Just grab a cardboard box, some tape, and start putting together this super cool light table.

DIY Flash Diffusers

9. Coffee Filter Light Diffuser

Photography Hack0 21

Image via Sixth Bloom

Here’s for all the coffee drinkers out there! Simply grab an extra filter and a rubber band to make this flash diffuser. It’s so easy you can even do it before you’ve had your daily caffeine intake.

10. Use a balloon for flash diffusion

DIY Camera Trick

Image via Digital Trends

Low on coffee filters? No worries, a white balloon works just as well. Grab your balloon, blow it up, and hold it in front of your pop-up flash for this quick flash diffusion trick.

11. Create a Light Snoot Using a Pringles CanPhotography Hack0 39

Image via Story Blend

This trick might give you an excuse to finish an entire can of Pringles in one sitting, but it’s also super easy for getting more focused lighting in your shots. Just place the can over the flash, and you’re good to go.

12. Build a DIY Flash Diffuser Using a Film Container

Image via Lomography

This hack makes a quick flash diffuser while giving you a great way to repurpose your film containers. Just cut the film container to fit your pop-up flash, and you’ll be ready to start shooting.

13. Bounce Your Flash Using a Business Card

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Image via DIY Photography

This trick is great for a quick way to bounce your flash. Just attach your business card to your pop-up flash, and you’ll be amazed at the difference in lighting.

14. Build a Ring Flash

Photography Hack0 16

Image via Flickr

This hack requires a bit more craftsmanship, but gives some great results. Using a plastic bowl, some foil, and your camera’s pop-up flash, follow the steps and you’ll be ready to snap shots with this flash ring.

15. Use a Paper Plate as a Beauty Dish

Photography Hack0 6

Image via DIY Photography

All you need is a paper bowl that you probably can find in your kitchen. It won’t achieve the exact same look as a beauty dish, but it’ll certainly work as a quick DIY hack to modify your lighting.

16. Create a Flash Diffuser Using a Milk Carton

Photography Hack0 40

Image via Techradar

Got milk? Seriously, that’s pretty much the only thing you’ll need to make this flash diffuser. All you have to do is cut out the milk jug handle and trim it to the size of your flash!

17. Build a DIY Reflector Using PVC

Photography Hack0 46

Image via Flickr

If you have extra PVC pipe, this is a cool hack to try. Attach your flash to the PVC pipe and watch as it bounces off the reflector to help diffuse the light.

18. Create a Flash Grid

Photography Hack0 20

Image via Strobist

This can be done easily with a piece of honeycomb cardboard and a rubber band. Look around any packages or boxes you’ve gotten recently, and you’ll probably be able to pull this hack off without spending any money.

19. Create a Flash Bounce

Photography Hack0 44

Image via Instructables

Just grab some cardboard and a cheap mirror, and you’ve got a super easy DIY bounce flash.

20. Create a DIY Flash Diffuser Using Airline Barf Bags

Photography Hack0 14

Image via Digital Photography School

If you are the travelling type, you may have this trick laying around in your unpacked suitcases. Slip an airline barf bag (or any white bag) over your flash for an instant diffuser.

21. Use a Cigarette Pack as a Flash Diffuser

Photography Hack0 64

Image via Instructables

If you have an empty box of cigarettes laying around (or if smoking isn’t your thing, any box around the same size) slip it over your flash and open the top for quick diffusion.

22. Velcro and Foam Flash Booster

Photography Hack0 51

Image via TipsDIY

This hack allows you to use foam and velcro to focus your flash to areas you directly want to highlight in your photos. It’s cheap and easy to make!

DIY Backdrop Ideas

23. Build Your Own Lightbox Using Poster Board

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Image via Techradar

So easy! Just tape a sheet of paper over a well-lit window and place your subject in front. There’s no hassle to get some quality product shots, so just be sure to adjust your Exposure Compensation accordingly.

24. Use Wallpaper as a Backdrop

Photography Hack0 49

Image via MrsBeachBride

A super simple way to get a great backdrop. Just find a wall with cool paper and start snapping!

25. Fake a Backdrop Using Your Laptop

pppp 1

Image via Photography Juice

Pressed for time to get some product pictures or maybe just not sure what to use as a background? No worries, just pull up an image of your choosing on your laptop and start snapping.

26. Build a Lightbox Using Cardboard

Photography Hack0 52

Image via Maeling Designs

This trick may take a bit of time to make, but it’s totally worth it. Lightboxes can be expensive, but if you have a box, some tape, and tissue paper, you can make one yourself. Just follow the steps above, and you’ll be ready to experiment with the lighting of your new box in no time!

27. Create a Portable Seamless White Background

simple small product sweep setup2

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Image via Fstoppers

This trick is great for getting the perfect seamless background in your product pictures. Simply grab some poster board, sweep the board, and hold it up using two clamps. Seamless and painless!

28. Create a Collapsible Light Box

Photography Hack0 38

Image via Instructables

For those looking to save space, this collapsible DIY lightbox may be the better option. All you need is some foam core and an exacto knife to get started.

29. Add Bokeh Using Tinfoil

DIY Camera Hack 01

Image via COOPH

A super quick way to create silver bokeh using an item most likely in your kitchen drawers right now. Add a mirror under the item you’re shooting, and you’ll be ready to test out your newest bokeh creation.

30. Create a Textured Background Using a Cloth

DIY Camera Hack 04

Image via Fstoppers

Using a cloth is a super easy way to add some texture to your background. This is great for product pictures when you want something a little more interesting than the plain white background, and using the sweep technique will keep the seamless look.

31. Create backdrops using your TV

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Image via Grafdom

Similar to using your computer screen, this trick allows you to have a bigger backdrop for your photo.

32. Try a black tile for your product photography

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Image via Expert Photography

Try using a black backdrop with a black tile underneath your product for a crisp image with an interesting reflection. It’ll add to any simple product picture without being too distracting.

33. Use trees or bushes for a backdrop

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Image via DIY Joy

Have your model stand in front of trees or bushes to create an immersive nature photo.

Camera Lens Hacks

34. Use a Magnifying Glass for Macro Photography

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Image via Digital Photography School

Thinking about trying macrophotography, but don’t have a lens for it yet? Try it out with a magnifying glass to get those up close shots. You can even leave the magnifying glass in the frame for a unique picture

35. Remove Your Lens for a Macro Effect

Photography Hack0 5

Image via Improve Photography

This hack is pretty neat, and super easy to test out. All you have to do to shoot in macro is take off your lens and hold it in front of the camera. This only works in manual mode, and using a tripod will help keep the images sharp.

36. Use a Beer Cozy to Protect Your Lenses

DIY Camera Trick

Image via Digital Photography School

Need a quick and easy way to protect your lenses while travelling or doing a shoot? Slide them in a beer cozy, and they’ll be good to go.

37. Use a Wine Rack to Store Your LensesWine Rack Lens Storage

Image via Petapixel

If you are looking to organize all of the lenses you have laying around, this hack is perfect for you. Any wine rack will work, and you can store multiple lenses on it.

38. Use Pantry Shelves to Store Lenses

Photography Hack0 25

Image via DIY Photography

Another simple way to store your lenses safely and efficiently, just use pantry shelves. This is great if you have a lot to store and you’re trying to save space!

39. Wrist Rubber Band to Prevent Zoom Creep

Photography Hack0 58

Image via Lifehacker

Avoid the annoying problem of your camera lens moving due to gravity by using a wristband to prevent zoom creep.

40. Create Colored Lens Filters Using Markers

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Image via My23skidoo

This DIY hack is easy and tons of fun. All you need is paper, scissors, plastic and string. Simply cut out the plastic shape and get creative by adding a design with markers.

41. Build a Macro Lens for Your Phone

DIY Camera Trick

Image via DHMakerBus

This hack is pretty easy, and will allow for macrophotography on your phone. All you need is an old laser pointer, a hairpin, and some tape. Just grab the focusing lens out of the laser pointer, use the hairpin to hold the lens, and attach it with tape.

42. Use a Plastic Cup for Macro Photography

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Image via Petapixel

Another trick for easily exploring the world of macrophotography, and you probably have all of the materials you need already. Just grab some plastic cups from the kitchen, and tape one to your lens. This also works as a way to add soft light to your subject.

43. Build a DIY Tilt Lens

Photography Hack0 57

Image via Maciekpp

These instructions will teach you how to DIY your own tilt lens, so you can work with tilt-lens photography to capture some awesome pictures.

44. Use a Coffee Cup Sleeve as a Lens Hood

Photography Hack0 29

Image via DIY How To

Another use for your morning cup of joe. Just reuse the coffee sleeve from your cup to create a quick lens hood.

45. Create a Macro Lens Using a Toilet Paper Roll

DIY Camera Hack 12

Image via COOPH

You can try macrophotography by attaching an empty toilet paper roll to your lens and camera. Super simple with great results.

46. Create a Lens Filter Using Your Sunglasses

DIY Camera Hack 13

Image via COOPH

Use your sunglasses for a quick lens filter. Just hold them up to your lens and start shooting!

47. Create a Lens Filter Using Colored Plastic Bags

DIY Camera Hack 23

Image via COOPH

Place a few colored plastic bags around your lens for an easy hack to get the colored lens filter. This trick also adds a bit of a soft light effect around the photo’s edges!

48. Use Drinking Glasses as a Lens Filter

DIY Camera Hack 37

Image via Wolfeye

You probably have tons of glasses in your kitchen cabinets, so give them another use by grabbing one and trying it out as a lens filter for a cool effect.

49. Create a Lens Filter Using Markers & Plastic

DIY Camera Hack 28

Image via Olivier Schmidt

This crafty hack adds soft light and color to your shots easily. Just place the plastic over your lens, use a marker for your desired color, and start snapping those shots.

50. Use Reading Glasses for Macro Photography

Photography Hack0 30

Image via GadgetHacks

If you have a pair of reading glasses lying around, or you can buy a cheap pair at any store, you can use one of the lenses over your camera lens for instant macrophotography.

Cool Photography Effects

51. Window Blinds Effect

Photography Hack0 47

Image via List AKA

This is an easy way to create a window blind effect if you don’t actually have window blinds. Just use a piece of paper, cut “blinds” into the piece, and hold it up to the light to create the desired effect.

52. Multi Person Illusion

DIY Camera Trick

Image via 5-minute Crafts

Create the illusion of multiple people using only one model by utilizing the panorama feature on an iPhone. Just start on one side, have your model run to the next spot once the shot has moved past them, and you’ll have a multiple person picture.

53. Use Cloth to Achieve a Soft-Focus EffectPhotography Hack0 15

Image via Artfido

Another quick and easy way to create a soft focus, just wrap a piece of cloth around your lens to achieve the desired effect.

54. Use a Smartphone to Create a Reflection Effect

Photography Hack0 61

Image via My Modern Met

All you need for this hack is your smartphone! Place it at the base of your camera lens, and your images will have a reflection effect to create fantastical issues.

55. Add a Film Burn Effect Using a MatchDIY Camera Hack 41

Image via Bored Panda

This simple trick will create the illusion of film burn on your images. Just light a match and hold it in front of your lens while shooting.

56. Use a Flashlight to Add a Lens FlareDIY Camera Hack 43

Image via Peter McKinnon

By bouncing the light of a small flashlight off your lens, you’ll create an easy lens flare effect on your images. You can even try this with the flashlight on your phone, so you don’t have to worry about carrying around extra equipment.

57. Create a “Haze Effect” Using a Sandwich Bag

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Image via Petapixel

Create a simple hazy look for your photos using a plastic sandwich bag. Slide the bag around the edges of your camera lens, and you’ll achieve this effect easily.

58. Create a Soft Focus Lens Using Clear Plastic & Vaseline

Photography Hack0 41

Image via Free People

Using a piece of clear plastic and vaseline, you can create a soft focus lens that allows you to get creative with the design. Spread vaseline onto your plastic and use in front of your lens while shooting. The more vaseline in one area, the more opaque the outcome will be, so get creative with the different effects this can make!

59. Create a Lens Flare Using a CD

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Image via Bored Panda

You can create a lens flare using a CD to reflect the light back into your images at different angles. For best results, don’t forget to remove your lens hood before trying this out.

60. Create a “Grid Effect” Using a Tea Strainer

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Image via Christina Key

You can create grid shadows using an old tea strainer. Just hold the strainer at different levels of light in front of your subject to create this shadow effect.

61. DIY Soft-Focus Filter With Pantyhose

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Image via Giga

Using pantyhose, black or nude colors are recommended, you can achieve a soft-focus filter by attaching the pantyhose to your lens with a rubber band.

62. Use a Plastic Bag to Achieve a Softbox Effect

DIY Camera Hack 05

Image via Bored Panda

You probably have tons of plastic grocery bags lying around your house, so make use of them by trying out this quick hack. Tie a bag by it’s handles and simply hold it in front of your flash to achieve an easy soft-box effect.

63. Create a Bokeh Effect Using Battery Powered Lights

Photography Hack0 3

Image via SLR Lounge

DIY this Bokeh effect by using battery powered string lights. The lights are lightweight and small enough to travel with you on shoots, plus their flexibility can give you endless possibilities for pictures.

64. Use Fishing Wire to Create a Lens Flare

Photography Hack0 55

Image via Expert Photography

By attaching fishing wire to your lens, you’ll be able to create a lens flare in your photos. The lines won’t actually show up, and you’ll be able to see the effect created by the light hitting the wire and spreading out across the image.

DIY Camera Rigs

65. String Tripod

DIY String Tripod

Image via Wix

This trick helps eliminate camera shake and is way easier to work with if you don’t want to carry around a bulky tripod. Using a bolt, string, and a washer, you can DIY this rig in a matter of minutes. Just tie a long piece of string to the bolt on one end and the washer on the other, and attach the bolt to the bottom of your camera where you would typically screw in a tripod mount.

Whenever you’re ready to start shooting, simply step on the washer and pull the camera up to create tension.

66. Make a Macro Photography Lighting Rig for Compact Cameras

Photography Hack0 34

Image via Wildlife Gadget Man

This trick requires some handy work, but is definitely worth the effort. Using two LED desk lamps and following a few steps, you’ll have a lighting rig for your macro photography ready to go.

67. Make your Gorilla Pod Magnetic

Photography Hack0 31

Image via Petapixel

This trick can make your already handy Gorillapod even more useful. Using magnets that fit inside the feet of your Gorillapod, carefully drill a hole and place the magnets inside. Although, it’s important to know this trick will void the warranty on your Gorillapod.

68. Build a Tripod Using a Hand Clamp

Photography Hack0 62

Image via Lifehacker

This hack is quick and easy if you have the right tools to try it out. Just attach your camera with a screw to a hand clamp, and then use the hand clamp to position the camera wherever you’d like.

69. Make a Flexible Selfie Stick

Photography Hack0 50

Image via Petapixel

This hack is great for creating a flexible selfie stick that works with cameras, not just smartphones. This can also act as a stand-in for any flexible tripod, so follow the steps and get super creative with your shots.

70. Use a Lamp as a Tripod

Photography Hack0 2

Image via Improve Photography

Not as practical as some of the tricks on this list, this hack makes use of a lamp instead of a tripod. If you’re at a party and want to take a group picture while simultaneously impressing your guests, this is a cool hack to try. Simply remove the lampshade, and screw your camera where you’d typically place it on a tripod.

71. Use a Bag of Lentils as a Makeshift Tripoddiy camera hacks 7

Image via Digital Camera World

This hack is a crafty way to reduce camera shake, especially when using long lenses. With an old pair of jeans, a bag of lentils, and a little bit of sewing, you’ll have a pretty unique tool to use for camera stabilizing.

72. Create a Beanbag Tripod

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Image via Do It Yourself Divas

Similar to the hack above, this bean bag acts as a tripod and stabilizer for your camera. Your sewing skills don’t have to be perfect to get to work on this easy bean bag, and it’ll provide quick support for your camera during shoots.

73. Create a DIY Flash Mount Using a GPS Holder

Photography Hack0 28

Image via DIY Photography

This hack is pretty simple to try, simply place your flash into a GPS holder and start shooting!

74. DIY Tripod Umbrella Holder

Photography Hack0 12

Image via DIY Joy

Another quick hack for shooting in the rain! This is better for light rain, and it’ll protect you and your camera easily.

75. Stabilize Your Camera With a Tennis Ball

Photography Hack0 35

Image via Lifehacker

Attach a tennis ball to the tripod area of your camera for an instant stabilizer. The weight of the tennis ball will reduce camera shake without getting too much in the way while shooting.

76. Makeshift Smartphone Tripod

Photography Hack0 60

Image via Scoop Whoop

Make a quick and easy tripod for your smartphone to get the perfect Instagram shot. All you need is two binder clips and a small piece of cardboard.

77. Use Cardboard to Get Easy Overhead Shots

DIY Camera Trick

Image via Hungry Panda

This trick works best with a smartphone and a remote clicker. Using a piece of cardboard and tape, you’ll be able to get the coolest overhead shots hands-free.

Cool Photography Props

78. Use a Smoke Emitter in the Background

Photography Hack0 26

Image via Picture Correct

Using a smoke emitter can add some interesting vibes to your pictures. This prop can be used for all kinds of shoots, so feel free to get creative with it.

79. Try Out a Crystal Ball

Photography Hack0 22

Image via Picture Correct

Using a crystal ball can give you really cool results pretty easily. This prop flips the scene, which adds something interesting for the viewer to look at.

80. Try Out a Sun Catcher

Photography Hack0 45

Image via Picture Correct

If you want to add cool light effects to your photos, try out a sun catcher. This works similarly to a prism to break up the light rays, and it delivers awesome results.

81. DIY Bounce Wall

Photography Hack0 19

Image via Expert Photography

Bounce your flash with this cheap DIY bounce wall. This hack is great for creating soft light to your photos.

82. Build a “Ring of Fire” Using Wire & SparklersDIY Camera Hack 17

Image via COOPH

Sparklers are an easy prop to add cool effects to your photos. This trick shows you how to create a “ring of fire” using sparklers, which gives the effect of fire without the danger.

83. Add Steam Using a Simple SteamerDIY Camera Hack 18

Image via Nicolesy Blog

This trick is great for any foodie or product photographer. Easily add steam to your pictures by using a simple steamer that’s out of the shot.

84. Use Tinsel as a Prop

Photography Hack0 10

Image via Expert Photography

Grab some of your holiday tinsel and hold it up to your camera lens to reflect the light for some really cool effects.

85. Shoot Through a Window for Softer Light

Photography Hack0 18

Image via Expert Photography

Use a window for portrait photography if you want softer light and possibly some texture from reflections!

86. Try Using Lace in Your Self-Portraits

easy camera hacks how to improve photography skills 84 599d4e0a5a67f 700

Image via Bored Panda

Use lace over your subject and camera to add a simple dreamy effect with interesting shadows.

87. Use a Hair Dryer to Add a Wind Effect to Hair

Photography Hack0 24

Image via Bored Panda

Have your model, or an extra person, hold a hairdryer out of the shot to DIY the blown out hair look.

88. Use a Spray Bottle

Photography Hack0 42

Image via SLR Lounge

All you need for this trick is a spray bottle and some water. Spray a bit of water into your shot, and let the light do the rest.

89. Create a Reflective Photo With a Mirror

DIY Camera Trick

Image via Hungry Panda

Use a mirror with your model to create a unique shot. Just find an interesting scene for the mirror to reflect and snap your pictures.

90. Shoot Through an Object to Force Perspective

DIY Camera Trick

Image via Petapixel

Using cylindrical items to shoot through can force a different perspective and has some seriously unique outcomes. By using a plant pot and dirt, this example makes it seem as if the photo was taken from the hole being dug.

91. Use Plexiglass to Capture Water Shots

DIY Camera Trick

Image via Petapixel

By holding a big sheet of plexiglass in front of your camera, you can capture some intense water shots without worrying about damaging your equipment or obscuring the shot.

92. Use Colored Beads for Bokeh Effect

Photography Hack0 8

Image via Get Fractals

Pick up some cheap plastic beaded necklaces for your next shoot, and you’ll be able to capture their colored reflections in your picture to mimic a Bokeh effect.

Everything Else

93. Use Paracord to Make a Wrist Strap

Photography Hack0 59

Image via Digital Photography School

If you’re not a big fan of camera straps, or need something a bit smaller, you can use paracord as a wrist strap. It’s durable and easy to attach!

94.Use a PEZ Dispenser as a Hot Shoe Attachment for Kids

Photography Hack0 54

Image via Improve Photography

Kids can be a tough subject to shoot, but adding something to your camera for them to focus on can be a huge help. A PEZ dispenser fits on your camera’s hot shoe, and as a bonus, you can give out the candy to kids when they’re behaving.

95. Use a Hands-Free Headset as a Camera Remotediy camera hacks 21

Image via Instructables

By following these simple steps, you can easily turn a $3 hands-free headset into a camera remote.

96. Protect Your Camera From the Rain Using a Ziploc Bag

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Image via Purple Summit

Shooting in the rain can pose some problems, but by using a Ziploc bag and gaffer tape, you can protect your camera during rainy shoots. Keep in mind this doesn’t completely waterproof your camera, however, so it’s best to use this trick in light rain instead of a downpour.

97. Create a Rain Guard Using a CD Spindle (Case)

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Image via Lifehacker

Another way to protect your camera from rain is using a CD spindle and a plastic bag. Cut out the spindle to the size of your lens and attach it with gaffer tape. Protecting your camera during rainy shoots has never been easier.

98. Use a Fish Tank as an Underwater Housing Case

DIY Camera Trick

Image via The Buff Nerds

This trick allows you to take cool underwater shots without ruining your camera. Using a fish tank and following the instructions will have you ready to take your shoots to the next level.

99. Remove Tourists From Your Photos

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Image via Bored Panda

Want to get beautiful scenic shots, but tourists keep getting in the way? Here’s a solution to the problem many travel photographers face every day. Just follow the steps, and you’ll have great shots with no tourists.

100. Create a Slider Using a Towel

DIY Camera Hack 07

Image via Sheldon Evans

Using a towel can help you get a smooth slide in any video. Just put your towel on a flat surface, and place your camera on the towel. Once you start filming, drag the towel across the surface for a quick DIY slider.

101. Create a Timelapse Using an Egg Timer

DIY Camera Trick

Image via TWiT Tech Podcast Network

This video shows you a simple way to use a GoPro and an egg timer to create a timelapse. Just follow the steps to try out this cool trick.

Now Get Out & Start Shooting!

With all of these DIY hacks to try, it’s time to get excited and start planning your next shoots. These new ideas are a sure way to get the creativity flowing, but it’s important to know you don’t have to DIY everything just to keep photography cheap.

Grid50 is here to make buying (and selling) camera gear easy and affordable, so if you need a new lens or rig for any of these projects, be sure to check out the Grid50 marketplace.

What are some of your favorite photography hacks? Let us know in the comments below!

Photography Terms

Photography Terms Glossary

Photography Terms Glossary

Whether you’re new to photography or just looking to find the meaning of a particular photography term you’re unclear on, this glossary covers some of the most popular and commonly used terms used by photographers, providing an in-depth definition and resources you can follow to learn more about that specific topic.

To quickly find the term you’re looking for, use the links below to “jump” to the following letter:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Aperture

You can simply refer to aperture as the size of the lens opening. Think about it, much like a window; the larger the window, the more light it will let in. The same goes for a camera lens, the wider the opening, the more light it will let in, resulting in a brighter photograph and vice versa.

Aperture Diameter

Image via B&H Photo Video

Aperture is measured using f-stops, which is a measure of the diameter of the lens opening. The larger the reading, the narrower the aperture. For instance, f/1.8 is wider than f/22. If you want a narrow focus resulting in a crisper image, you should use a higher f-stop (ex. f/8, f/11, f/22, etc.). A lower f-stop will let in more light, which can be useful in low-light situations or night photography.

Typical cameras lenses will have a minimum and maximum aperture of f/1.8 and f/22. The more expensive types of cameras will have a maximum of f/1.4 or larger. You will find such cameras very useful where the light conditions are low.

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Aspect ratio 

The aspect ratio is the ratio of the height to the width. The camera sensors will determine the dimensions, but you can alter them in post-processing or in your camera settings. The typical ratio is 3:2 and 4:3.

Aspect Ratio Graphic

Image via Expert Photography

If you are, for example, taking pictures for Instagram, you will go with 4:5 due to the multiple cropping. Many modern digital cameras will give you the option of 4:3, 3:2, or 16:9.

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Button Focus

You probably already know that when you half-press the shutter button, your camera will autofocus. However, in some situations, you will want to take a photograph without the autofocus function. You can use back button focus in this scenario:

Button Focus Graphic

Image via ApogeePhoto

You can find the button on the back of your camera and will use it to focus on the image you want to photograph. You must, however, first disable the out-of-focus from the shutter button.

Depending on the specific camera you have, it will come as default on the AF-On button. Many professionals actually prefer to use the back-button focus rather than to rely on the autofocus.

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Bokeh

Bokeh refers to the rendering or visual quality of the out-of-focus areas in an image. It’s often an aesthetic quality that photographers aim for, and you can typically increase the amount of bokeh when zooming in on a subject using a zoom-lens.

Bokeh Example

Image via Photography Life

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Bracketing

Bracketing refers to the situation where you take a series of pictures in a sequence but with some variations.  For example, you could use different shutter speeds to take multiple images with varying levels of brightness, which is known as exposure bracketing.

Bracketing

Image via We Are So Photo

Most cameras have a bracketing menu that will allow you to capture bracketed pictures in a row automatically.

In focus bracketing, your aim is to shoot sequential images at different distances. Some of the settings for bracketing include ⅓, ½, and full-stop increments. The advantage of bracketing is that you ensure that you capture the image in the right exposure.

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Burst Mode

With burst mode, you can continue snapping photos as long as you hold down the button. However, you can only continue to take pictures until the buffer is full. The speed will depend on the type of camera you have and is measured in with the frames-per-second (FPS). For example, 6 FPS would mean you can snap 6 images per second.

Shutter Speed Example

Image via How-To Geeks

Burst mode can be a great option for capturing quick moving objects, making it perfect for nature or sports photography.

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Candid

Candid photography is when you take a picture without the subject posing for it. You will find many photographers using candid portraits for social occasions such as weddings, events, and birthdays.

Candid Example

Image via Pexels

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Card Reader

A card reader is a device that will allow you to transfer data from your camera memory card to your external storage on your computer or external hard drive.

SD Card

Image via Pexels

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Chimping

You may have observed some photographers constantly check the camera display every time they take a single shot. It is especially prevalent among beginners. This act is sometimes referred to as “chimping” because photographers will look at their camera while saying “Ooh, ooh, ooh!” like a chimpanzee.

Chimping

Image via The Discerning Photographer

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Composition

Composition is how you arrange the elements in your photograph. Some features in the picture will immediately attract more attention and therefore have more visual weight. The correct arrangement of the visual weight will determine the kind of image you take. The purpose of the picture will determine the composition.

Composition Example

Image via PetaPixel

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Contrast

Contrast is the difference between light and shadows in an image. When there is high contrast, you get an emphasis on the variation, thus stronger texture and color. Low contrast pictures, on the other hand, may look dull in appearance.

Contrast Example

Image via Expert Photography

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Depth of Field (DOF)

When you focus your camera on a particular image, you will see that some of the objects are very close, while others are very far away.  The distance between the foreground and background is the Depth of Field (DOF).

The aperture and distance to the subject will determine the DOF. You can control the DOF by increasing or narrowing the aperture. The wider the aperture, the narrower the DOF.

Depth of Field Graphic

Image via Expert Photography

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Diaphragm

The diaphragm is the device that will control the aperture. Most modern DSLR cameras have an iris diaphragm that allows you to increase or decrease the aperture due to the overlapping blades.

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DSLR Cameras

Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) are some of the most popular cameras in the market today.  You get a digital sensor and reflex mirror, which will direct light to the optical viewfinder from the lens.

Canon Camera

Image via Precision Camera & Video

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Dynamic Range

The dynamic range is the difference between the darkest and lightest values in an image, and this term is usually used in reference to a camera’s ability.

Dynamic Range

Image via How-To Geek

This is measured in “stops.” Dynamic range is most effective when taking photos with high contrast, and cameras with a higher dynamic range will produce the most detailed pictures.

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Exposure

Exposure refers to how much light reaches the camera sensor.  It determines how bright or dark the final image is. Shutter speed, ISO, and aperture determine the exposure. You can also specify the exposure levels manually, automatically, or through the use of shutter and aperture priority.

Exposure Example

Image via Exposure Guide

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Exposure Compensation

Exposure compensation is a setting that allows the camera to brighten or darken the image, depending on your settings. For example, if you are taking a picture and you realize that the light is too bright, you can input negative exposure compensation to take a darker photo. The typical camera will allow the use of compensation of 1/2, 1/3, or full-stop increments.

Exposure Compensation

Image via REI

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F-Stop

Sometimes referred to as the F-Number, F-Stop is the ratio of the lens focal length to the diameter of the pupil. In simpler terms, F-Stop is the number your camera gives when you change the aperture. When displayed on a camera, you will see the F-Stop written as a fraction like “f/8, f/2, or f/22.” Since it is expressed in terms of fractions, and f/8 would be larger than an f/22.

Aperture Size Example

Image via Expert Photography

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Filters

Filters are the attachments you put on the front or back of your camera. They impact the quality of light, which reaches your sensor while others will prevent scratches on your lenses. Typically you find filters made of plastic, resin, or glass.

Lens Filter Set

Image via Camera Gear Store

Most cameras will allow you to attach the filter without any special requirements. Others will require that you have a separate mounting system to utilize them. There are different types of filters available, and one such filter is the polarizer, which will accentuate or block polarized light. You reduce the haze and reflections in your photo. Other types of filters include dark or neutral density filters, color, and graduated filters.

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Focal Length

The focal length, typically expressed in millimeters (mm), is a system used to measure the distance between the center of the lens and the sensor of the camera. Focal length is used to describe the angle of view of a lens, not the physical size of a lens.

Focal Length Graphic

Image via Nikon

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Focusing

You cannot get the right picture without focusing. Many lenses will only allow you to focus on a particular distance each time while anything outside the range will lose focus.

Most cameras will give you a wide range of out-of-focus options, including single-servo versus continuous-servo AF, which will tell the camera to auto-focus on a stationary object or to move when your subject moves.

If you are taking photographs of landscapes, you will most likely use the single-servo, or if, you are capturing movement, you will most likely use the continuous option. Other options for focusing include single autofocus point, automatic autofocus points, and 3D tracking autofocus points.

Focusing Example

Image via ShutterRunner

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GIF

A GIF or Graphic Interchange Format is an image file that you can use to create still or animated images.

GIF Example

Image via TwistedSifter

You get no sound, and if you code it in a certain way, you can load sequential pictures. You would typically use them for entertainment purposes, and they are a fantastic way to create memes. GIFs are 8-bit 256 colors.

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Golden Hour (or Magic Hour)

Golden Hour Example

Image via Ryan Loughlin

Sunset and sunrise photos are popular with most people who consider themselves photographers, but to capture that perfect shot, you need to be at the right place during the golden hour. This is the period right before sunset and sunrise when the sun is low on the horizon, and you get light with a red or orangish shade.

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High Dynamic Range (HDR)

Camera sensors cannot necessarily distinguish features in the same way the human eye can.  When you are focusing on an image that has some shadows, you have the option of capturing either the image or shadow, resulting in poor exposure of the other.

You can correct this problem by creating a high dynamic range (HDR) images. It requires that you take two photographs and blend them together so that you utilize the parts with the best exposure. You will need the right software to do this, such as Photoshop. The trick to getting the right images is to take as many HDR photos as you can so that you capture the movement for easy blending.

HDR ExampleHDR Example

Image via Exposure Guide

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Hot Shoe

You will find the hot shoe at the top of the camera, and it allows you to mount or trigger different devices. Such devices include wireless transmitters, electronic flashes, GPS devices, standard microphones, viewfinders, and field monitors.

Hot Shoe Graphic

Image via Photokonnexion

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Hyperfocal

Hyperfocal refers to the distance where the focus provides a deeper depth of field. You will find landscape photographers using it so the scenes are as sharp as possible.

Hyperfocal Distance Graphic

Image via Martin Bailey Photography

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Image Stabilization 

If you do not have a very steady hand when holding your camera, you will need the image stabilization feature. The different kinds of stabilization features include emergency stabilization, which is in the lenses and will work by moving the lens elements to compensate for any movement.

Image Stabilization Example

Image via Premium Beat

You will also find body or IBIS stabilization that will move the sensor.  Not only does it stabilize the camera, but you will also find the picture very useful in low light conditions.

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ISO

ISO refers to the light sensitivity levels of the camera. A camera that has ISO 100 is not sensitive to light and is excellent for daytime shooting. An ISO 3200 camera is very sensitive and is fantastic for low-light conditions. To get the right kind of exposure, you need to balance the ISO with shutter speed and aperture.

ISO Triangle

Image via Digital Photography School

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Jaggies

Jaggies refers to how curves or angles will appear in a digital image. They usually take the appearance of a staircase, and the number of pixels will determine their appearance. You will often find jaggies in photographs you take at lower resolving powers.

Jaggies

Image via Definition.net

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JPEG

Many people will save image files using the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG). It is the default format for many photographs, but they have the main disadvantage of being heavily compressed.

You only get to see an 8-bit color, unlike other cameras that can give you up to 14-bit color. The latter will provide you with access to 16,384 shades of red, green, and blue, while the former only gives you access to 256 shades of the same. The main advantage with JPEG is that the files are small in size, and you will not have compatibility issues with many applications.

JPEG Example

Image via Kinsta

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Lens Flare

When you use a mirror in the dark and have multiple sources of light on, you will get some flare due to the light bouncing off the surface of the mirror. The same situation may occur in camera lenses, although some have multiple anti-reflective coatings that reduce or minimize the reflection.

Lens flare is not always a negative thing because it can result in some pretty amazing pictures, especially where landscapes are concerned. It can interfere with the subject matter and the quality of the image. You must invest in a camera with the right kind of anti-reflective coating to take care of this problem.

Lens Flare Example

Image via PictureCorrect

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Light

Any picture you take is highly dependent on the light. That is why you see professionals carry around equipment to ensure that they get the right quality of light.

Light Spread Example

Image via DIY Photography

It is also not strange to hear a photographer insist that he or she needs to take pictures at a particular time to capture the best light. If you look at it in the broad sense, there is really nothing like good or bad light because it will depend on the type of picture you want to take.

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Long Exposure

Long exposure is a technique that uses shutter speeds of more than thirty seconds to create a blurred effect on moving elements. This technique is commonly used for light or water subjects, but there are numerous other uses for it.

Long Exposure Example

Image via Exposure Guide

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Macro Lens

A macro lens is a lens that is optimized for taking extreme close-up shots of small subjects. The focus of a macro lens is much closer, which allows you to fill a frame while capturing as much detail as possible. Macro lenses are great for capturing product and nature images.

Macro Lens

Image via FotoZZoom

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Metering

There is a particular way your camera will read light, especially with regards to darkness, contrast, and brightness. It will suggest the exposure so the final picture has the right level of intensity.

Metering Modes Example

Image via Matador Network

Most cameras have a default setting of mid-gray because the metering system may face some confusion when there is too much black or white in the scene. The result is white or black scenes end up being grey. It is at this time you should take advantage of exposure compensation for the right exposure.

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Megapixels

Simply put, megapixels are the resolution of the camera sensor. Expert photographers will tell you that while it is essential, the sensor size has a more significant role to play in regards to the quality of the image.

Megapixels Graphic

Image via Photography Life

Recommended Resources:

Noise

Noise is the random variation in brightness or color that can sometimes result in a grainy veil that obscures details in photos. Although it’s impossible to have a picture without some noise, it’s important to note an extreme amount of noise will make any picture unusable.

Camera Noise Example

Image via Photography Life

Recommended Resources:

Overexposure

Referring to the brightness of an image, overexposure means the image is extremely bright, or in some instances, parts of the photo are pure white.

Overexposed Example

Image via SLR Lounge

This can be used as a technique for photographers, if they want an extremely bright image, but it typically refers to an image that is brighter than it is supposed to be.

Recommended Resources:

PNG

PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics. It’s a file type commonly used for web images because it creates a larger file, however, it’s not typically great for print images as the pictures may become distorted.

Photo Editing

Image via IvanExpert

Recommended Resources:

Panning

Panning is the continual horizontal movement of a camera scanning a moving subject. It’s used to create the feeling of motion without blurring the subject of the photo.

Panning

Image via Digital Photography School

Recommended Resources:

Prime Lens

A prime lens is a fixed focal length, which means they are optimized to a specific focal length. Unlike a zoom lens, a prime lens generally has better optical performance with sharper images.

Prime Lens Example

Image via Digital Photography School

Recommended Resources:

RAW

A RAW file is an uncompressed version of an image file that allows for greater control over the final image. RAW allows for more control over white balance adjustments, sharpness and noise adjustments, as well as image data. Compared to a JPG image, however, RAW files take up more space and aren’t universally compatible.

RAW Image

Image via Finding the Universe

Recommended Resources:

Red Eye

Red-eye refers to the effect a flash may have on the eyes of a photographic subject. The red-eye effect is typically associated with point-and-shoot cameras and pop-up flash attachments on DSLR cameras.

Red Eye Graphic

Image via Photokonnexion

This happens when the light from the camera flash is reflected off the back of the eye into the camera lens. Although it can be annoying to deal with, red eye is easily removed with post-processing software.

Recommended Resources:

Resolution

Resolution is the measurement of the pixel plane, and is used for measuring in most equipment like cameras, scanners, and digital images. Resolution is measured in pixels, which means the higher the pixel, the better the resolution. Resolution plays a big role in editing images, especially when resizing pictures.

Resolution

Image via University of Michigan

Recommended Resources:

Saturation

Saturation is the intensity of a color. The color is more vivid with higher saturation, and closer to gray when the saturation is low.

Saturation Example

Image via Medium

This is another key component when editing photos, and it’s important to understand saturation so you can avoid over-saturating a picture. When the colors in the picture are too vivid from saturation, the photo is distorted and looks unnatural to the viewer.

Recommended Resources:

Shutter

A shutter is part of the camera that allows light to pass for a period of time, which exposes the sensor to light, making it possible for a permanent image to be created. There are different types of camera shutters, and the two most common are leaf shutters and focal plane shutters.

Aperture Example

Image via Premium Beat

Recommended Resources:

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter remains open, which can be controlled to capture different kinds of images. Shutter speed is measured in seconds, and by changing the speed, a camera is able to capture moving subject or low light images more effectively.

Shutter Speed Example

Image via VirtualPhotographyStudio

Recommended Resources:

Telephoto Lens

A telephoto lens is a lens with a long reach, which can be used to magnify and capture a subject that is far away. Telephoto lenses are great for nature photography or getting action shots at sporting events, as well as just adding distance between you and your subject if needed.

Lens Example

Image via BorrowLenses

Recommended Resources:

Time-Lapse

Time-lapse is a series of photos taken over a period of time. The period of time can be minutes, hours, or even days. When the series of photos is played back, time seems to move at a faster rate than which the series was taken.

Time Lapse GIF

Image via Giphy

Recommended Resources:

Tonal Range

The tonal range is used to describe color quality and the tones ranging from the darkest and the shadows to the highlights and brightest whites.

Tonal Ranges

Image via Digital Photography School

Whites are the brightest part of an image, where details are indiscernible, while highlights are the bright areas where the texture and detail can still be seen. In contrast, blacks are the darkest parts of an image, while shadows are dark areas with discernable details and texture.

Recommended Resources:

Viewfinder

A viewfinder is the part of the camera used to focus and compose the subject of an image. Viewfinders can be optical or electronic. Optical viewfinders are common on DSLR cameras, and they allow you to see precisely what is in the shot by looking through the lens. Electronic viewfinders are typically displayed on the LCD screen.

Viewfinder

Image via Improve Photography

Recommended Resources:

Watermark

A watermark is an image, text, or logo placed over a photo to make it more difficult to copy or use the photo without the photographer’s permission.

Watermark Example

Image via Computer Hope

Recommended Resources:

White Balance

White balance is the adjustment of colors for a natural looking image, as well as the camera’s ability to color correct in different lighting conditions. The temperature of a color affects how an image will turn out, which in turn may require white balance adjustments to make the image look more natural.

Correct White Balance Example Bad White Balance Example

Image via Photography Life

Recommended Resources:

Wide Angle Lens

A wide angle lens has a short focal point with a wide field of view. This lens can be used to capture more of a scene while allowing for close-up detail without eliminating the background of a photo.

Wide Angle Lens Example

Image via Adorama

Recommended Resources:

Zoom Lens

A zoom lens can vary its focal length and angle of view by physically moving the optic elements. A zoom lens covers a range of focal lengths, which allows you to take varying pictures without having to switch out lenses to get a different length or angle.

Zoom Lens Example

Image via Photography Life

Typically, a zoom lens is not as sharp as a prime lens, but it’s nice to use a zoom lens for event photography or photojournalism when you need to be able to switch angles quickly.

Recommended Resources:

The Best Places to Buy Used Camera Gear Online

The Best Places to Buy Used Camera Gear Online

Discover the best places to buy used and new camera gear online, and the pros and cons of using buying on each website.

Buying new camera gear can be an exciting process, but it’s also an expensive decision. Used camera gear is a great way to get new equipment at a lower cost, and there are a few good places to check out for buying options.

It’s important to make sure you’re getting the best value, experience, and highest quality gear, so check out our list of the best places to buy used gear:

Grid50

Grid50 Homepage ScreenshotHere to make the buying process safe and easy for users, Grid50 is a great place to buy used gear. Grid50’s marketplace is strictly for photo and video gear, which makes searching for items so much easier than other sites, since there’s no sorting through non-camera/video equipment.

Grid50 Shop Page ScreenshotGrid50 allows you to search for specific items, as well as shop by category. Each posting has photos and a description of the item, so it’s easy to tell the condition of the product before buying. You can also make offers on items, so you can try to score a better deal.

Customer service is a priority at Grid50, with customer support that can be reached by phone, email, or live chat. The marketplace also has user terms that help protect buyers from bad equipment, unlike other marketplaces such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

Lastly, Grid50 has an extensive blog with helpful resources to enable visitors learn more about the craft–making it an all-in-one site for buying, selling, and learning.

Pros:

  • Low sellers fees (3.5% of the total sale vs. 10% on eBay)
  • A photo/video-specific marketplace
  • Easily reachable customer support
  • Buyer and seller protection

Cons:

  • While there are thousands of users and listings, Grid50 is still growing as a marketplace
  • You have to ship your item (which may or may not be a hassle to you)

Craigslist

Craigslist Homepage ScreenshotCraigslist is an established classified advertisements website, which makes it slightly different than most marketplace websites. Even though it has gotten some bad press from different stories, it can be a great place to buy used camera gear! 

The website has been around since 1995, so many people use it as an established place to sell their old equipment, making it very likely to find what you’re looking for.

Craigslist Photo/Video Section Screenshot

Also, Craigslist is conveniently organized by location, so you can browse local classifieds to find the closest deal to you. Plus, all of the sales and purchasing is done through the buyer and seller, so you’ll never have to pay extra fees or percentages to Craigslist.

However, Craigslist is not regulated, so there aren’t any procedures in place to protect the buyer from scams or bad deals. It’s important to know the value of the item you’re looking for, as well as ask for clear images and information regarding the product before you buy.

Craigslist also requires you and the seller to agree on a way to get the gear, which means some person-to-person transactions may be suggested. Another con of Craigslist is that everyday seller can’t typically accept debit or credit payments, so it’s important to check what payment options are available. Most importantly, it’s good to remember that on Craigslist if a deal seems way too good to be true, it probably is.

Pros:

  • You don’t have to deal with shipping your item
  • If you’re buying an item, there’s a good chance you can pick it up that day
  • No seller or buyer fees

Cons:

  • While generally safe, there is still a risk when meeting someone you don’t know to buy or sell expensive camera gear
  • Very little customer support
  • No buyer or seller protection

eBay

eBay Homepage Screenshot

eBay is another marketplace that has been around for over 20 years and is a go-to site for many buyers. Since eBay has such a large user base, it’s easy to find what you’re looking for pretty quickly.

Unlike Craigslist, eBay has options to buy from verified sellers, which eases your mind when trying to make sure you’re getting a good deal. eBay items are shipped directly from the seller, which makes transactions easier than those on Craigslist.

eBay uses a bid model on many products, however, meaning the price you originally see on the listing might not be what you end up spending. Some items have a ‘Buy Now’ option, which allows you to purchase immediately and skip the bidding process.

eBay also offers a feedback section for sellers, making it easy to be sure you’re buying from a trusted source and getting the best deal possible.

Unlike Grid50, eBay is a marketplace for all items, so it’s important to remember their customer service may not be able to answer camera-specific questions. They are a large marketplace too, so getting in touch with customer support can sometimes be difficult. When using eBay, always be sure to do your research on a product and pricing before you buy!

Pros:

  • eBay is a large, established marketplace and there are thousands upon thousands of listings
  • A large variety of search and filter options to help you find what you’re looking for

Cons:

  • If you plan to sell on eBay too, total sale values fees can be quite high, with 10% being the norm
  • eBay is a photo-video specific marketplace, so customer support may not be able to answer camera-related questions
  • Since eBay is so large, it can be tough to quickly get in touch with customer support

B&H Photo Video

BH PhotoVideo Homepage Screenshot
B&H is a camera store that sells both new and used equipment. They are a legit retailer, so you can rest assured that what you see is what you’ll get.

B&H also inspects and tests their used products, and rates the item on its condition so customers always know the state of the gear before purchase. However, B&H’s website uses stock images on their used products, rather than real photos:

BH PhotoVideo Used Section Screenshot

So you are only able to read an item rating and description of the condition before the product is shipped to you.

Unlike eBay and Craigslist, B&H only sells camera gear, so there’s no sifting through miscellaneous items, and their customer service representatives can help with photography-specific questions regarding their products. Another nice perk from B&H is their warranty and return policy. All items come with a 90 day parts and labor warranty, as well as a 30-day return policy, which can help ease your mind when purchasing expensive gear.

Pros:

  • Large, established, and trusted seller
  • Easy to reach customer support (their number is listed right at the top of their website)

Cons:

  • B&H doesn’t use actual photos of their used inventory (there are only stock photos)
  • Not as wide of a used inventory as Grid50 or eBay

Adorama

Adorama Homepage Screenshot
Similar to B&H, Adorama is a site for new and used camera gear. Their site features item rankings and specific descriptions, which give customers an idea of what condition the gear is in before they purchase.

Again, though, Adorama only provides stock images for their used inventory, so you can’t see the actual condition until after you make a purchase:

Adorama Used Section Screenshot

On the plus side, their customer service is available via phone and live chat, so their representatives are easily reachable if you have any questions about their gear. Also, Adorama provides a 90-day warranty, as well as a 30-day return policy. However, it’s important to note that some of their products are marked as ‘final sale’ in their descriptions.

Pros:

  • Established and trusted seller
  • Easy to reach customer support via phone, email, and live chat

Cons:

  • Again, like B&H, Adorama doesn’t use actual photos of their used inventory (there are only stock photos), so you won’t know exactly what you are getting until you receive your item
  • Not as wide of a used inventory as Grid50 or eBay

What Is Your Favorite Place for Buying Used (or Even New) Camera Gear?

These places are great options for buying used gear! However, we’d love to hear what you think! Let us know in the comments below about any experiences you’ve had with these sites (good or bad) and if there’s anything we missed!

Gifts for Photographers

99 Gifts for Photographers: From Cheap to Unique

99+ Gifts for Photographers:
From Cheap to Unique (Updated 2020)

Not sure what to buy that photographer in your life for their upcoming birthday, Christmas, or just as a gift to show how much you appreciate them? No worries! We have you covered.

We compiled a list of 99 gift ideas for photographers, categorized by cost and uniqueness, so you can find the perfect gift based on your budget and photographer friend’s interests.

Use the links below to “jump” to that section or read on to find the gift idea you’re looking for:

Cheap Gifts for Photographers ($10 & under)

1. Camera Lens Coffee Mug

Camera Lens Coffee Mug 

Image via Walmart

What is it?

A fun item for your favorite “photography is life” friend. This mug will keep their drink hot during sessions or while they’re editing pictures at home.

How much does it cost?

$8.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Walmart.com.

2. Flexible Tripod

Phone Camera Remote

Image via Walmart

What is it?

This phone tripod will make getting that perfect shot easy for any photographer. It comes with a remote clicker that connects easily through bluetooth, and the small size and flexible legs make it super easy to take this tripod on the go!

How much does it cost?

$8.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Walmart.com.

Looking for affordable tripods? Try browsing our selection of new and used tripods here.

3. Battery Charger

Camera Battery Charger

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Nothing is more frustrating for a photographer than dealing with low batteries during a shoot. This product comes with a car charger adapter, so it’s the perfect gift for long lasting charge.

How much does it cost?

$9.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com.

4. Zeiss Lens Wipes

Zeiss Lens Wipes

Image via Walmart

What is it?

These lens wipes are perfect for helping any photographer to quickly wipe away pesky smudges and dust during shoots. This pack comes with 50 pre-moistened, individually wrapped wipes, so they’re super easy to throw in a bag and use on the go!

How much does it cost?

$2.97

Where can I buy it?

Available at Walmart.com.

5. Camera Magnets

Camera Magnets

Image via MagnetsbyDesign

What is it?

These magnets are great for hanging appointment reminders or favorite pictures on the fridge or any magnetic board. The vintage design is guaranteed to add a little flair to anyone’s life!

How much does it cost?

$4.50

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

6. Camera Zipper Pull

Camera Zipper Pull

Image via BeadBrilliant

What is it?

This zipper pull can be added to sweatshirts, backpacks, and key rings, making it the perfect accent for any photography enthusiast.

How does it cost?

$8.00

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

7. Appointment Book

Photography Appointment Book

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Perfect for keeping those appointments and deadlines organized, this planner is small enough to fit in most bags or purses, and the cool design on the cover will help get the planning done in style.

How much does it cost?

$6.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

8. Memory Card Case

SD Card Holder

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Most photographers are constantly juggling multiple SD cards, so this case is perfect for keeping everything in one place. It’s waterproof and fits 12 SD cards plus 12 MicroSD cards.

How much does it cost?

$8.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

9. Gaffer Tape

Gaffers Tape

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Gaffer tape is a must-have since it works as well as duct tape, but doesn’t leave a residue. Great for photographers to use without worrying about messing up their expensive equipment.

How much is it?

$9.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

10. Lens Cleaning Kit

Lens Pen

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This lens cleaning pen and cloth duo makes a great stocking stuffer. It gently sweeps off dust as well as absorbs oil without damaging the lens, and it’s the perfect size for taking on the go.

How much does it cost?

$7.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

11. Camera Sling Strap

Camera Sling

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Made to be compatible with any DSLR camera, this strap attaches securely with an adjustable fit. It has a quick release feature for easy adjusting, and it’s padded for comfortable all-day wear.

How much does it cost?

$9.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

12. 2-in-1 Portable Card Reader

USB

Image via Amazon

What is it?

For an easy transfer from SD card to computer, this 2-in-1 Portable Card Reader is a great product. It’s compatible with SD and MicroSD, and it reads cards simultaneously, so there’s no need to deal with the hassle while transferring pictures.

How much does it cost?

$9.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

13. Vintage Instant Camera Sticker

Vintage Camera StickerImage via Steecky

What is it?

Help them show off their love of photography with a cool vinyl sticker that’ll look great on their laptop or water bottle.

How much does it cost?

$2.96

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

14. Balance Card

White Balance Cards

Image via Amazon

What is it?

These three balance cards are great for setting color balance, they’re compatible with any digital camera, and they’re small enough to fit in pockets or on a keychain.

How much does it cost?

$7.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

15. Vintage Camera Prints

Photo Prints

Image via RareVintagePosters

What is it?

Help your favorite photographer decorate with these super cool vintage camera prints. This set of 6 prints allows you to choose your background color, so you can customize it to make the perfect gift.

How much does it cost?

$8.00

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

16. Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs Book by Henry Carroll

Photography Book

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This book is a quick read with images and hands-on tips, making it the perfect present for anyone wanting to learn more about DSLR photography.

How much does it cost?

$9.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

17. Flash Aimer

Flash Diffuser

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This Flash Aimer is used to distribute light over a wider area, while softening the light. It’s compatible with almost any external flash device.

How much does it cost?

$7.95

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

18. Lens Cleaning Air Blower

Camera Cleaner

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Another cool gadget to clean lenses without causing any damage. This product gently blows air to remove dirt and dust from the camera.

How much does it cost?

$6.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

19. Screen Protector

DSLR Camera Screen Protector

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This 3-pack of tempered glass screen protectors will keep expensive gear safe without hindering camera usability.

How much does it cost?

$6.59

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

20. Camera Earrings

Camera Earings

Image via ObsessoriesLA

What is it?

A cute accessory for any photography lover.

How much does it cost?

$10.95

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

21. Camera Iphone Case

Phone Camera Case

Image via Amazon

What is it?

A great gift for anyone who loves shooting on their iPhone, but still wants to look like they’re using a digital camera.

How much does it cost?

$9.48

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

Photographer Gifts Under $25 ($11 to $24.99)

22. Lighting Reflectors

Light Reflector

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Reflectors are helpful for redirecting light in photographs. This pack of 5 reflectors offers different colors, so the photographer can choose what works best for the image their trying to create. These Neewer reflectors are also portable, so they’re great for any photographer that is constantly on the go.

How much does it cost?

$16.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

23. Crystal Ball

Crystal Ball for Photography

Image via Amazon

What is it?

The perfect gift for any photographer wanting to nail the crystal ball technique! This JIHUI photo prop can be used to get a few unique shots this holiday season.

How much does it cost?

$13.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

24. Memory Card

Memory Card

Image via Walmart

What is it?

A practical gift, so your favorite photographer doesn’t have to worry about clearing space on their already full memory cards!

How much does it cost?

$11.49

Where can I buy it?

Available at Walmart.com

25. MicroSD Memory Card with Adapter

SD Memory Card Adapter

Image via Walmart

What is it?

The perfect gift for making sure no one ever struggles with MicroSD compatibility again.

How much does it cost?

$24.95

Where can I buy it?

Available at Walmart.com

26. Instax Mini Twin Film Pack

Fujifilm Instax

Image via Walmart

What is it?

Know someone that loves using their Instax camera, but is always running low on film? This is the perfect way to help capture those retro pictures!

How much does it cost?

$12.88

Where can I buy it?

Available at Walmart.com

27. LED Continuous Light Lamp

Lights

Image via Amazon

What is it?

These tabletop lights are adjustable and come with two different light gels to give the choice between warmer or cooler lighting options. Perfect for still photography!

How much does it cost?

$17.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

Check out some other lighting gift options at Grid50!

28. Fabric Backdrop

Black Backdrop

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This backdrop is great for model and portrait shots! It’s lightweight, wrinkle resistant, and dusts off easily, making it perfect for back-to-back sessions.

How much does it cost?

$17.90

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

29. Phone Photography Kit

Phone Lens Camera Kit

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This kit makes the perfect gift for friends who are always shooting on their smartphone. It comes with a tripod, bluetooth shutter, and a 4-in-1 lens kit.

How much does it cost?

$18.88

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

30. Camera Bag

Camera Bag

Image via Amazon

What is it?

You can never go wrong by giving a camera bag, and this one is perfect for holding a camera and several accessories!

How much does it cost?

$14.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at amazon.com

Want more camera bag options? Check out our selection of new and used camera bags here.

31. Amazonbasics 60inch Tripod

Amazon Basics Tripod

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Tripods are great for stabilizing and elevating a camera during shoots, and this one is compatible with most digital and video cameras. It’s lightweight and comes with a carrying case, making it easy for travel.

How much does it cost?

$23.49

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

32. Camera Buddy

Camera Buddy

Image via KiriDecor

What is it?

If you know someone who does child or pet photography, a camera buddy can be a great gift. These cute buddies are plush, so they won’t damage the lens, and they’re perfect for grabbing a child’s attention during sessions. Plus, you’ll have a fun time deciding which buddy goes best with your friend’s personality!

How much does it cost?

$22.00

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

33. Protective Lens Pouches

Lens Bags

Image via Amazon

What is it?

These pouches are convenient for anyone who is constantly on the go, but doesn’t want to be weighed down by a heavy camera bag. They’re made out of neoprene, making them durable and waterproof, and they come in four different sizes, so they’ll fit any lens!

How much does it cost?

$14.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

34. Photographer Gift Box

Photographer Gift Box

Image via Grinshire

What is it?

This unique box is the ultimate self-care present for stressed out photographers. It comes with a photography themed keychain, scented soap, a scented candle, and matches.

How much does it cost?

$24.00

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

35. The Photographer’s Playbook

The Photographer's Playbook

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This bestseller on Amazon has photography assignments, ideas, and narratives from professional photographers. A great book to inspire creativity and teach about the medium.

How much does it cost?

$19.98

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

36. Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Blue Light Glass

Image via Amazon

What is it?

If constantly looking at a computer screen to edit pictures is causing major fry-eye, blue light blocking glasses can be a helpful gift. These glasses are designed to relieve eye fatigue that occurs when staring at screens, so any photographer will be thankful for these during long editing sessions.

How much does it cost?

$16.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

37. Portable Power Bank

Portable Power Bank

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Make sure their gear never dies mid-session by getting a portable power bank. This product has two USB ports and an LED flashlight feature.

How much does it cost?

$19.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

38. Hanging Photo Display

Hanging Photo Display

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Great for showing off all of their cool shots, this photo display has four color options and 40 removable clothespin for hanging pictures.

How much does it cost?

$19.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

39. Convertible Liner Gloves

Phone Screen Gloves

Image via Amazon

What is it?

These gloves are great for keeping hands warm and protected. With slip through thumb and index finger caps, this pair is perfect for operating a camera during outside sessions.

How much does it cost?

$22.74

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

40. DSLR Cheat Sheet Cards

DSLR Cheat Cards

Image via Amazon

What is it?

These durable plastic cards are pocket sheets for quick references while shooting. A great gift for anyone just getting started in DSLR photography.

How much does it cost?

$21.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

41. Smartphone Stabilizer

Smartphone Stabilizer

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Perfect for getting steady shots and video on any smartphone, this rig even has mounts for adding LED lights and microphones.

How much does it cost?

$15.96

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

42. Retro Camera Socks

Camera Socks

Image via Amazon

What is it?

These bright socks are a fun way to show some love for photography.

How much does it cost?

$11.50

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

43. Color Changing Acrylic Camera Lamp

Camera Night Light

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Brighten up a photographer’s desk with this cool color changing lamp.

How much does it cost?

$16.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

44. Coffee Mug

Camera Coffee Mug

Image via Amazon

What is it?

A fun mug for providing caffeine boosts during editing sessions.

How much does it cost?

$11.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

45. Photography Prism

Optickle

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Used to add colors and reflections to pictures, this prism is a great accessory for encouraging some unique shots.

How much does it cost?

$14.97

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

46. Multi-pocket Vest

Camera Vest

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Perfect for holding as many accessories and gadgets needed during an outdoor session, this lightweight vest is a great gift for adventurous photographers.

How much does it cost?

$24.98

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

47. Photography Umbrella

Light Umbrellas

Image via Amazon

What is it?

A great tool for studio lighting, this umbrella is lightweight and compatible with all studio flashes.

How much does it cost?

$16.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

48. Flash Gels

Color Gels

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This color kit is the perfect tool for creating awesome color scenes or improving color balance. It includes 20 gels, and is compatible with most cameras.

How much does it cost?

$11.96

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

49. Empty Sandbags

Camera Sand Bags

Image via Amazon

What is it?

A practical gift for keeping light stands and other equipment in place. This 4-pack of heavy-duty sandbags is sure to be useful during sessions.

How much does it cost?

$15.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

50. Film Is Not Dead Bag

Film is not dead bag

Image via OccasionallySix

What is it?

This little bag is perfect for storing small camera accessories. It’ll make a great gift for photographers who still love working with film.

How much does it cost?

$22.91

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

51. Camera Beanie

Photography Beanie

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This hat is a cute way to stay warm during outdoor shoots.

How much does it cost?

$14.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

52. Camera Cord Wrist Strap

Camera Wriststrap

Image via EshopMall617

What is it?

This wrist cord is perfect for any photographer who wants a comfortable camera cord without the hassle of a bulky strap.

How much does it cost?

$13.23

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

53. Universal Lens Cover

Universal Lens Cover

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This product is great for protecting any lenses from damage. It’s stretchable, shock-absorbent, and compressible.

How much does it cost?

$19.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

54. Water Repellent and Anti-Fog Drops

Water Repellant

Image via Amazon

What is it?

These drops are great for protecting your action camera from fogging during a shoot, and they repel water, so your shot will always be as clear as possible.

How much does it cost?

$14.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

Photographer Gifts Under $50 ($25 to $49.99)

55. Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs

Photography Exmaples Book

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Ansel Adams explores technical problems while providing a narrative about each aesthetic with these photos. Perfect for photographers who want to dive deeper into the mind of a master.

How much does it cost?

$29.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at amazon.com

56. David Busch’s Guide to DSLR Photography

David Busch's Guide to DSLR Photography

Image via Target

What is it?

David Busch has a guide for almost every DSLR camera, and they make the perfect present for beginners.

How much does it cost?

$25.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Target.com

57. Background Paper

Background Paper

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Perfect for model, portrait, and object photography, Savage Background Paper is great for making smooth and even backdrops. With tons of color options, there will definitely be something for everyone!

How much does it cost?

$35.00

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

58. Digital Photo Frame

Digital Photo Frame

Image via Walmart

What is it?

This digital photo frame is a great way to show off multiple pictures without having to choose a single favorite! It has an automatic slideshow feature, true color display, and the sleek black frame will look great in any room.

How much does it cost?

$39.00

Where can I buy it?

Available at Walmart.com

59. Phone Camera Lens Kit

Photo Lens Adapter

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Another great option for a smartphone photographer. This 5-in-1 Lens Kit is easily portable, works for long-distance shooting, and prides itself on giving a “DSLR Lens feel” to the mobile experience.

How much does it cost?

$29.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

60. GoPro 3-way Grip Arm Tripod

GoPro Tripod Arm

Image via Amazon

What is it?

The GoPro Official Mount can be used as a tripod, camera grip, or extension arm making it a versatile gift to help any photographer get a variety of action shots.

How much does it cost?

$32.94

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

61. Go Pro Performance Chest Mount

GoPro Harness

Image via Amazon

What is it?

The GoPro chest mount is compatible with all GoPro cameras, so it’s a great gift to encourage any adventurous photographer to try some more action-packed activities. This mount is lightweight and fully adjustable for all body sizes.

How much does it cost?

$28.59

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

62. 50-in-1 Action Camera Kit

GoPro Accessory Kit

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Great for anyone that is constantly using an action camera to get the coolest action footage. This kit comes with tons of gear like suction cup mount, wrist strap, backpack strap, and a mini retractable tripod.

How much does it cost?

$22.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

63. Digital SLR Photography All-in-One for Dummies

DSLR Photography for Dummies

Image via Target

What is it?

This book gives a complete overview of Digital SLR Photography, so it’s perfect for all skill types who want to learn a little more about the craft.

How much does it cost?

$27.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Target.com

64. Portable Hard Drive

Portable Hard Drive

Image via Amazon

What is it?

A portable hard drive is another essential for photographers. This product is compatible with any computer, and it uses drag-and-drop file saving, making it super easy to transfer files.

How much does it cost?

$45.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

65. Photography Idea Cards

Photography Ideas Cards

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This gift is a unique way to help get those creative juices flowing. With 72 idea cards, this deck is sure to inspire cool shots.

How much does it cost?

$27.95

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

66. Lens Filter Kit

ND Filters

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This kit includes most of the basic lenses photographers may need, along with lens hoods and carrying cases.

How much does it cost?

$39.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

67. Vinyl Backdrop

Vinyl Backdrop

Image via Etsy

What is it?

This cool waterproof backdrop is made with high-quality vinyl, so it’ll hold up during any session, and the color adds the perfect pop for pictures.

How much does it cost?

$31.59

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

68. Photo Backdrop Board Kit

Photo Backdrop Board Kit

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Perfect for any product or flat lay photography, this kit comes with 7 designs to create the best layout. 

How much does it cost?

$34.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

69. Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescent Light Bulb

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Make sure the lighting is always perfect by gifting this 2-pack of fluorescent bulbs that are great for studio sessions.

How much does it cost?

$23.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

 70. Backdrop Support System

Backdrop Kit

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This system makes it easy to switch between muslin, paper, and canvas backdrops, while providing a durable frame to hold everything in place sessions. 

How much does it cost?

$41.60

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

71. Pose Guide

Model Poses Guide

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Help make those modeling sessions a little less awkward by gifting this pose guide. It has over 1,000 ideas for photographers and models, so there will be no more stopping to figure out what pose to do.

How much does it cost?

$25.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

72. Waterproof Camera Case

Waterproof Camera Case

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This case allows you to take photos in up to 16 feet of water. It’s perfect for any photographer who wants to get right in the underwater action.

How much does it cost?

$49.95

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

73. Pre-Cut Photo Mat Pack

Photo Frame

Image via Amazon

What is it?

A pack of 25 pre-cut photo mats is perfect for any photographer who enjoys showing off their work. These acid-free mats provide a professional finish to any picture.

How much does it cost?

$33.95

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

74. Photographer Sweatshirt

Photographer Sweatshirt

Image via OneOKGo

What is it?

This cozy crew neck is great for minimalist photographers who want to rock their profession on a sweatshirt.

How much does it cost?

$28.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

Photographer Gifts Under $100 ($50 to $99.99)

75. Polaroid Originals Instant Film Camera

Polaroid Instant Film Camera

Image via OneOKGo

What is it?

Share some nostalgia with your favorite photographer, and get them a colorful Instant Film camera to capture all of the holiday cheer.

How much does it cost?

$83.85

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

76. Portrait Studio Lighting Kit

Portrait Studio Lighting Kit

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Perfect for helping set up a portrait shoot, this kit comes with three bulbs, two umbrella reflectors, two 86-inch light stands, one 28-inch light stand and carrying bags. 

How much does it cost?

$59.10

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

77. Zecti Camera Backpack

Zecti Camera Backpack

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This Zecti Camera Backpack is an Amazon’s Choice product that fits one DSLR camera, four lenses, a laptop, and other small accessories. It’s waterproof and durable, so all of the equipment stays protected.

How much does it cost

$76.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

78. Polaroid Instant Printer

Polaroid Photo Printer

Image via Bestbuy

What is it?

Another great option for the mobile photographer, this printer connects easily through Bluetooth to any compatible iOS and Android product and prints photos in about one minute.

How much does it cost?

$99.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Bestbuy.com

79. Photo Studio Light Box

Photo Lightbox

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This product is handy for any photographer that spends a lot of time shooting products and still items, or great for anyone who does their own product photography.

How much does it cost?

$69.86

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

80. LED Colored Camera Light

LED Colored Camera Light

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Bring some color to their photography with this LED Full-Color Output light. Controlled through an app, this light is easily adjustable and long-lasting.

How much does it cost?

$59.89

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

81. Camera Stabilizer

Camera

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This stabilizer supports any camera up to 2.1lbs, and it makes getting steady shots extremely easy.

How much does it cost?

$64.95

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

Looking for more stabilizer options. Check out out our inventory our used and new stabilizers here!

82. Ring Light Kit

Ring Light Kit

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This kit comes with a ring light, light stand, soft tube, color filter set, smartphone holder, and carrying case, so it’ll help get the perfect lighting for self-portraits and videos.

How much does it cost?

$99.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

83. Rode VideoMic

Rode Shotgun Mic

Image via Amazon

What is it?

Get the best audio for any video with this microphone. It’s powered by your camera’s microphone input, so there’s no hassle in setting it up.

How much does it cost?

$69.00

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

84. GorillaPod

Joby Tripod

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This product is a super flexible tripod that can be transformed to get almost any shot. It can grip, wrap, and stand, so it’s perfect for any photographer who wants to experiment without having to worry about the security of their equipment.

How much does it cost?

$63.94

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

Personalized Gifts for Photographers

85. Personalized Camera Strap

Personalized Leather Camera Strap

Image via PortlandLeather

What is it?

This strap is the perfect gift for adding a personal touch. It’s high-quality leather finish is durable, and looks beautiful with any camera.

How much does it cost?

$39.20

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

86. Photographer Shirt

Photography Shirt

Image via StarkAmbition

What is it?

This cheeky shirt is great for any photographer with a sense of humor. It’s comfortable and high quality, which makes it perfect to wear while shooting or editing.

How much does it cost?

$19.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

87. Personalized Camera Notebook

Personalized Camera Notebook

Image via CulturalBindings

What is it?

A great gift for jotting down ideas, appointment reminders, and any other notes! This notebook is customizable including paper type and size, so you can find the best fit for any photographer’s needs.

How much does it cost?

$8.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

88. Glass USB Flash Drive

Glass USB Drive

Image via KraftandJute

What is it?

This flash drive is as pretty as it is practical. It’s totally customizable, from the color to the size. Perfect for delivering pictures in fashion!

How much does it cost?

$18.50

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

89. Personalized Camera Ornament

Camera Ordament

What is it?

A great gift for photographers who loves Christmas!

How much does it cost?

$19.95

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

90. Personalized Leather Camera Bag

Personalized Leather Camera Bag

Image via CameraCaseStudio

What is it?

This bag is made from PU leather, and can fit one camera body with attached lens and one extra lens. There are several color options, and you can personalize it with a monogram.

How much does it cost?

$56.70

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

91. Personalized Portfolio

Photography Personalized Notebook

Image via lorgie

What is it?

Although most portfolios are online now, this stunning customized portfolio is a great gift for anyone who still believes in the art of printing their work. You can customize the timber and binding color, as well as names or logos can be engraved into the wood.

How much does it cost?

$63.90 

Where can I buy it?

Available at 

Etsy.com

92. Water Bottle

Water Bottle

Image via MysticCustomDesignCo

What is it?

Help a photographer stay hydrated during long sessions with this personalized water bottle.

How much does it cost?

$22.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

93. Lens Cap Holder

Lens Cap Holders

Image via CreativeCloisters

What is it?

Make sure the lens cap never gets misplaced again. These lens cap holders are customizable, so they can add a little flair to any DSLR camera.

How much does it cost?

$6.74

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

94. Business Card Holder

Business Card Holder

Image via PrettyPictureGiftsCo

What is it?

Help any professional photographer network with a custom business cardholder.

How much does it cost?

$13.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

95. Custom Waterproof Sticker Labels

Custom Waterproof Stickers

Image via ActiveTrends

What is it?

These will help label any cameras and equipment, plus they’re waterproof and scratch proof, so there’s no worry about them getting messed up while handling the camera.

How much does it cost?

$29.75

Where can I buy it?

Available at Etsy.com

Everything Else:

96. Adobe Creative Cloud Plan

Adobe Photoshop Plan

Image via Bestbuy

What is it?

The Adobe Creative Cloud includes Photoshop and Lightroom, and it’s great for photographers who want to be able to access their pictures from anywhere.

How much does it cost?

$119.99

Where can I buy it?

Available at Bestbuy.com

97. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB Tripod

Vanguard Camera Tripod

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This tripod for DSLR cameras has adjustable legs for extreme low angle photography, a smooth rotating ball head, and is lightweight. It’s great for more experienced photographers who need a flexible, yet sturdy tripod option.

How much does it cost?

$119.47

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

98. Canon EF-S 10-18mm Wide Angle Lens Kit

Canon Wide-Angle Lens Kit

Image via Amazon

What is it?

This lens kit comes with the Canon EF-S 10-18mm Lens, a three-piece filter kit, a soft lens pouch, a five-piece cleaning pack, and a lens cap holder, so it’s definitely a big bang for your buck. The lens is great for getting ultra-wide-angle shots, and it comes highly recommended by photographers.

How much does it cost?

$249.00 

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

99. Lume Cube 2.0 Bundle Kit

Lume Cube 2.0 Bundle Kit

Image via Amazon

What is it?

A great product for lighting, the Lume Cube is compact and lightweight, so it’s portable and easy to use during any session. This kit includes color gels and a light diffuser to help get the right lighting every time.

How much does it cost?

$195.00

Where can I buy it?

Available at Amazon.com

100. Insta360 GO

Insta360

Image via Insta360

What is it?

The Insta360 is the world’s smallest stabilizer camera. It’s perfect for the adventure photographer in your life.

How much does it cost?

$199.00

Where can I buy it?

Available at Insta360.com

Find the Perfect Gift for the Photographer in Your Life!

We hope this buying guide was helpful to you and that you were able to find that perfect gift for your photography friend or family member. While these gift ideas are great, we also recommend checking out the Grid50 marketplace, to view our selection of new and used camera gear.

There’s a good chance you’ll find something at an amazing price and surely surprise that special someone!

Commercial Photography

Commercial Photography 101: What is it & How do You Get Started?

Commercial Photography 101: What is it & How Do You Get Started?

In this guide, we take an in-depth look at commercial photography. We cover exactly what commercial photography is, examples, tips, and recommended gear to help you get started.

Want to turn your passion for photography into a rewarding career?

Commercial photography is a competitive field, but with the growth of digital advertising, the need for commercial photographers has skyrocketed. If you are already a hobby photographer, you may want to put those skills to use and specialize in commercial photography.

Not only is it a fun and rewarding career, it’s also quite lucrative. This commercial photography guide will cover everything you need to know to get started as a commercial photographer, including the equipment you’ll need, how much you can expect to make, and some tips for shooting better photos.

Read on or use the links below to “jump” to the section you’d like to check out:

What is Commercial Photography?

Nail polish by Ellenllyy

Photo Credit: Ellenllyy via Pixabay

In the most basic terms, commercial photography simply means taking photos for commercial use — think business, advertising, and product photography.

Commercial photography is used by companies who want to promote a product, lifestyle, or brand. Many of the photos you see on popular stock photography websites are commercial photographs.

Commercial photography is used by advertising agencies, marketing firms, tourism bureaus, and small business owners whose goal is to sell their brand using carefully curated photographs.

The Difference Between Commercial Photography & Advertising Photography

The terms advertising photography and commercial photography are often used interchangeably, but there are distinct differences between the two.

ice cream cone by Steve Buissinne

Photo Credit: Steve Buissinne via Pixabay

Both are used for promotional purposes, but with different intent, techniques, and equipment. Commercial photography is used to capture products in the best light possible and is often used in portfolios, catalogs, brochures, ads, and digital marketing. It is all about showcasing a product or brand.

Advertising photography includes elements of commercial photography, but it is much more involved.

Instead of simply capturing a product or brand, advertising shots must tell a story, evoke strong emotions, and persuade the viewer to make a purchase. Commercial shots are usually bright, clear, and simple so that the product can shine. Advertising shots make use of creative props, lighting, and editing techniques that may be highly stylized, bold, or dreamy, depending on the campaign and the motives of the ad.

Beer by Free Photos

Photo Credit: Free-Photos via Pixabay

Both commercial and advertising photography are powerful marketing tools, and while they certainly overlap, they require a different skill set, different tools, and a different budget.

Types of Commercial Photography and Finding Your Niche

product flat lay by marijana1

Photo Credit: Marajana1 via Pixabay

A great way to be successful as a commercial photographer is to specialize and excel at one type of photography. Choose a niche based on your interests and work toward creating a portfolio of your very best shots. Here are some common types of commercial photography to help you narrow down your niche.

  • Product Photography – There is a huge need for product photography across the globe, and talented photographers will always be in demand. Product photographers usually work in studios with controlled lighting, but some product shoots happen outside with natural lighting.
  • Headshots – Headshots are modern portraits that are used for professional profile images in brochures, resumes, websites, and on social media. Traditionally headshots are taken from the shoulders up and can be captured outdoors or in a studio setting.
  • Real Estate and Architectural Photography – Real estate photographers can work in both urban and rural areas and are charged with showcasing a property inside and out in order to make a quick sale. Real estate photographers will use a combination of natural and artificial lighting and a variety of wide-angle lenses.
  • Drone Photography – Drone photography is a very specific type of commercial photography that is often used in conjunction with real estate photography, but is also used by tourism boards and event marketers. Photographs are shot from the air, enabling you to capture buildings or events from unique angles. Drone photography isn’t for beginners, but it’s a fun way to specialize and financially lucrative.
  • Food Photography – It takes quite a lot of talent to make food look enticing in a photograph. Food photographers work almost exclusively indoors, often in a studio setting, but you may be required to shoot on-site at restaurants and commercial kitchens. Food photographers often work with food stylists to make every morsel shine.
  • Fashion Photography – If you have experience shooting people and portraits, you should consider fashion photography. Companies hire fashion photographers to capture models wearing specific brands or engaging in different experiences. Fashion shoots can be outdoors or in the studio, but you should excel at giving direction and posing people on the fly.
  • Workplace Photography – Also known as environmental portraits, workplace photography images will feature people at work — chefs in the kitchen, office workers at their desks, and construction workers using the tools of their trade. Workplace photos are used in brochures, websites, and advertising, and are usually shot on-site.

Commercial Photography Examples

Now that you have an idea of the types of commercial photography you can specialize in, let’s take a look at some examples featuring each type.

Here is an example of classic product photography. This curated image of color-coordinated work-out gear was shot in a studio setting and features several brands:

Dumbells and sneaker by Steve Buissinne

Photo Credit: Steve Buissinne via Pixabay

Headshots are often used by models and actors and should feature a close-up of the model’s facial features, usually from the shoulders up. This headshot was created in the studio against a dark background:

Headshot by John Harper

Photo Credit: John Harper via Pixabay

While real estate shoots consist of many indoor and outdoor images, the front of the building in good lighting is one of the most important shots to capture. This image was shot at dusk with lights on throughout the house for a warm and welcoming glow:

Real Estate image by Pexels

Photo Credit: Pexels via Pixabay

This carnival image was shot with a drone at night so as to better capture the lights and festivities of this colorful scene. Using an image like this is a great way for marketing teams to promote special events:

Festival drone shot by Daria Nepriakhina

Photo Credit: Daria Nepriakhina

Fabulous food photos need precise styling and perfect lighting, which is best accomplished in a studio. In the photo below, notice the props – cherry tomatoes, sage leaves, and peppercorns that compliment the perfectly cooked pizza:

Pizza by Zuzana Gazdikova

Photo Credit: Zuzana Gazdikova

Fashion images are used to highlight clothing, experiences, or products. Images are often created in the studio, but a natural setting can really add to the finished photo. In this photo, the green trees and garden really show off the red dress that the brand is trying to promote:

fashion photography by Zigmars Berzins

Photo Credit: Zigmars Berzins

Workplace photography sessions vary wildly in scope and require a photographer who is willing to always be on the go and prepared for anything. One day you could be shooting an oral surgeon in an office setting, and the next day you find yourself shooting a firefighter training as in the photo below:

Firefighter by David Mark

Photo Credit: David Mark via Pixabay

How Much Do Commercial Photographers Make?

If you are just starting out, you may be wondering how much you should charge as a commercial photographer. Your fees will vary depending on where you live, the scope of the shoot, and whether you need to hire additional contractors to help with the project. According to PayScale, the average salary for commercial photographers is $45,990.

One of the benefits of becoming a freelance commercial photographer is that you can set your fees based on your skills and experience. As your skill and reputation grows, so will your bottom line.

How to Get Started in Commercial Photography

Photographer by S. Hermann F. Richter

Photo Credit: S. Hermann & F. Richter via Pixabay

Assuming you already have a passion for photography, as well as some skill with a camera, becoming a commercial photographer isn’t complicated. As with any new business venture, you will have to spend time creating a business plan, buying the proper equipment, creating a website, and advertising your services.

The very first step will be deciding exactly what you want to shoot and choosing a niche to specialize in. When you are just starting out, you should be ready to shoot everything from breakfast cereal to sports cars, but eventually, you will want to find a niche where you excel and feel comfortable as a commercial photographer.

Choosing a niche will also help you keep equipment costs down, as you will find that what you need for fashion shoots is very different from the equipment needed for real estate photography.

Once you’ve narrowed down your photography niche, you can begin taking steps to find clients and grow your business. Here’s a step-by-step guide for getting started in commercial photography.

Step One: Create a Business Plan

A business plan will help you refine your goals, secure funding, and develop a marketing strategy.

Following your business plan will help you stay on track as you grow your client base, and enable you to make smart, strategic decisions about how to invest in your business and price your services.

Your commercial photography business plan should include the legal structure of your business, a description of your products and services, your target market, key marketing strategies, an operations strategy, and a projection of your income and expenses.

Creating a business timeline as part of your plan will help you take actionable steps to grow your business. Check out Expert Photography for a more comprehensive guide to writing a photography business plan.

Step Two: Secure Funding If Necessary

A successful commercial photographer will need specialized equipment that will require an initial investment. If you have the funds to purchase what you need before getting started, congratulations! If you don’t, you can either purchase your equipment slowly over time or you can obtain a small business loan to help you get started.

Photography equipment is expensive, and it’s a good idea to have backup equipment in case something in your toolkit fails while on a shoot. Make a list of the equipment you think you’ll need to get started, as well as funds for marketing, website creation, etc., and decide if you will need a loan to get your business off the ground.

The Small Business Administration is a great resource for finding financial resources to start your business, and they have offices in each state. Banks and other lenders will want to see a well thought out business plan before funding your start-up costs, so make sure you have that done before you apply for a loan.

Step Two: Purchase Necessary Equipment

To get your commercial photography business off the ground, you will need to invest in cameras, lenses, external hard drives, SD cards, lighting equipment, computers, and editing technology. It can be overwhelming to figure out what you need, and what purchases are the most important. Some items you will need right away, and some you can budget for as your business grows.

Specializing in a niche and following your business plan will help you figure out exactly what you need now and what can wait until you begin to pull in some income. We will go into the recommended equipment for starting out further below, but you will definitely need two camera bodies, lenses necessary for your niche, storage solutions, and a computer with editing software to get started.

Do your research, and buy the best equipment you can afford.

Step Three: Develop a Commercial Photography Portfolio

Showcase your best work in an online portfolio that is dedicated to your commercial photography. You can create a simple website by purchasing a domain name and signing up with a hosting service, or you can hire a web designer or tech-savvy friend to create a portfolio website for you.

Your online portfolio should only feature your very best work, so if you don’t already have commercial clients, you may want to offer your services at a discounted rate so you can showcase samples of your work.

Step Four: Advertise Your Services

Your website will act as a digital advertisement highlighting your best work, but if people can’t find your website, you will have a hard time securing clients.

Additional advertising outlets should include both digital and print and will vary depending on your location and your niche. Start by creating business cards, advertising your website with Google and Facebook, and putting up flyers around your city and town. You should also join your local chamber of commerce to network with small business owners who might need your services.

Recommended Photography Gear for Getting Started in Commercial Photography

camera lenses for commercial photography by TeeImages

Photo Credit: TeeFarm via Pixabay

You could invest hundreds and thousands of dollars in your commercial photography business, but that isn’t usually a wise decision when you are just starting out. The following pieces of gear are the bare necessities for getting started. If you are already a hobby photographer, you will find that you already have some of these items:

  • Two camera bodies – If you have a decent DSLR or mirrorless camera, you will be able to get started with what you have. If it’s time to upgrade, do some research beforehand, and purchase the best camera you can afford. If you are already attached to a certain brand, it makes sense to stick with it, so you can use the lenses that you already own. It’s important to have two camera bodies in case one malfunctions during a shoot. Not having a backup could very well ruin your relationship with your client and crew.
  • A variety of lenses – The lenses you need for your commercial photography business will depend largely on your specialization. Real estate photographers, for example, will want a variety of wide-angle and tilt-shift lenses, and product photographers will want prime and zoom lenses with a wide aperture. Start with the necessary lenses that you can’t work without and make additional purchases as your business grows.
  • SD cards – Keep a collection of SD cards in your camera bag so that you have them when you need them. Two 16GB – 32GB cards should be enough storage for most shoots.
  • Extra camera batteries – Determine how long a battery lasts in your camera and buy enough for a few days of shooting. You should be charging your batteries before every shoot, but having spares is always a good idea.
  • External hard drives – After each shoot, you will want to save your photos to your computer, a cloud-based service, and an external hard drive. If one of these storage solutions fail, you will have a backup ready to go.
  • Tripod – Tripods are a necessity for shooting crisp, clear photos. The tripod you choose should be sturdy and lightweight with a head that is easy to adjust.
  • External flash – You will be using a variety of flash and external lighting equipment for photoshoots, but to get started, you can purchase an external flash for better illumination of your subject.
  • Camera gear bag – You will quickly realize how much equipment you have to carry to your photoshoots. Protect your gear with a dedicated camera bag that has room for your camera bodies, lenses, and tech equipment.
  • Computer with Adobe editing tools installed – You should have a computer that is powerful enough for all of your editing needs. A minimum of 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage should be sufficient to start. Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop set the standard for editing tools and are well worth the investment.

Commercial Photography Tips

Once you’ve got things up and running from a business perspective, you can start perfecting your craft and taking amazing photographs for your clients.

  • Use a wide aperture – If you are photographing products, food, or headshots, use the widest aperture (lowest f-stop) that your camera and lens can accommodate. This will showcase your subject while making everything else disappear into a blurred background.
  • Add a tilt-shift lens to your kit – For real estate and interior shots, use a tilt-shift lens to ensure that your vertical lines remain straight. Wide angle lenses will add an obvious distortion to your shots.
  • Always use a tripod – Commercial photoshoots will almost always require a tripod for crisp images. Practice setting up your tripod and adjusting it quickly so it will become second nature on the job.
  • Experiment with every conceivable angle – No matter what type of commercial photography you pursue, the composition will always be the most important element in your shoot. Explore your subject matter from every angle until you find the perfect shot.
  • Practice your craft every day – Commercial photography can be your passion and your career. Get out and shoot every day to improve your skills.

Get Out There & Start Shooting!

Good commercial photographers are in demand all over the world. If you have skill with a camera and an eye for detail, then commercial photography is a great way to take your love for photography to the next level.

Tumblr Photography Blogs Graphic

51 Tumblr Photography Blogs You NEED to Know

51 Tumblr Photography Blogs You Need to Know

Whether you are a seasoned or aspiring photographer, these Tumblr photography blogs should be on your radar.

Tumblr is a useful site where you can showcase your photography or look for inspiration. Plus, if you need advice or want to learn more about this art form, try reaching out to some of your favorite photography bloggers. Many of these blogs feature an “Ask Me Anything” box where you can connect directly with these photographers.

If you are ready to find some new photographer bloggers to follow, keep reading. We’ve gathered a list of over 50 Tumblr photography blogs you should know about:

No Ordinary Sunset

San Francisco Bridge

No Ordinary Sunset is a travel and photography blog where the photographer shares her “quest to capture the most extraordinary sunsets and a home for all the memories in between.” This blog can be a great source of inspiration for travel and landscape photographers.

Chris Burkard Studio

Chris Burkard Studio

Although Chris Burkard rarely updates this Tumblr account, the archive is filled with crisp, bright images of the outdoors. Scroll through this Central California artist’s portfolio for inspiration on nature photography.

Tobishinobi

Tobishinobi

This award-winning photographer offers a unique perspective on cities, streets, and architecture. On Tobishinobi’s Tumblr, the artist often provides a description of how he captured the shot.

Time LightBox

Time LightBox

For those interested in photojournalism, the Time LightBox Tumblr is a notable resource. Although no longer regularly updated, browse the archive for compelling photographs and news stories.

Photography Week

Photography Week

This Tumblr blog is associated with digital magazine Photography Week, which is a great resource for photographers of all levels. As you scroll through the blog, you can read excerpts from past issues and gain insight into how specific pictures were captured.

Portrait Page

Portrait Page

Instead of focusing on the work of a single photographer, Portrait Page curates interesting portraits from a variety of artists. By following this blog, you will be exposed to multiple perspectives and gain inspiration for taking compelling and modern portraits.

Spaces | Debora Smail

Spaces | Debora Smai

Debora Smail is a “Freelance Visualist specializing in Culinary, Editorial & Photojournalistic Photography.” Her Tumblr page is filled with unique shots of interior spaces. If you are interested in shooting restaurants, retail stores, or other interiors, check out Debora Smail’s page to help get your creative juices flowing.

Sonya Yu

Sonya Yu

This archived Tumblr page is the portfolio of San Francisco-based photographer Sonya Yu. As you browse her page, you will find a selection of photographs covering a wide range of subjects, including children, dogs, food, landscapes, and interiors. The vibrant and inviting pictures each tell a story and are worth studying for novice photographers.

Donny Tsang

Donny Tsang

Donny Tsang describes himself as “a photographer who explores culture through food. Working in a photojournalistic style, I capture candid moments of food makers in their kitchens.” His Tumblr page is filled with captivating images of fried chicken. He has worked with many culinary clients, including Food & Wine Magazine and Serious Eats, and is an artist that all inspiring food photographers should be aware of.

Ben Lowy

Ben Lowy

Ben Lowy started his photography blog as a way to showcase the images he captured around the world using his iPhone. Now, his blog is a photo journal of his daily experiences. This blog is a great demonstration that inspiration for great photographs can be found anywhere.

The World We Live In

The World We Live In

This archived Tumblr blog The World We Live In features a collection of interesting photographs from around the world. Browse their collection to gain inspiration and to get a glimpse into how a variety of photographers see the world. Expect to see plenty of impressive travel photographs on their blog.

L’oeil Ailleurs

L’oeil Ailleurs

For those interested in learning about the story behind the photograph, scroll through the collection on the L’oeil Ailleurs Tumblr photography blog. To accompany each picture, the photographer includes a blurb about their history and sources of inspiration. Some of the stories also include information about the cameras and equipment used to capture the shot.

Show Me Pictures

Show Me Pictures

Show Me Pictures has an interesting portfolio that focuses on the gritty and seemingly trivial aspects of everyday life. By capturing these elements in an artistic way, the photographer brings importance to these moments. If you need inspiration for taking this style of picture, browse the collection on the SMP blog.

The Photographers Directory

The Photographers Directory

According to their blog, “The Photographers Directory aims to project photographers on Tumblr on to the global stage, by recognizing and showcasing their original creative work.” Photographers can submit their original work to the site’s curators. When you review this blog, you will notice that most of the pictures include a helpful description of how the shot was captured.

Forgotten Iowa

Forgotten Iowa

Cody Weber is a photographer from Keokuk, Iowa. He spends his time traveling throughout the state. His blog, Forgotten Iowa, is a collection of the images he has captured along his journey. His images all tell a unique story of a place that is often overlooked by photographers.

National Geographic Found

National Geographic Found

Nat Geo no longer updates this account, but you should still browse the collection to check out these interesting captures. National Geographic Found was a blog dedicated to images from their archives. These vintage pictures can help you get an even greater appreciation for the history of this art form.

Original Photographers

Original Photographers

This curated blog is useful for anyone interested in learning from multiple artists. Original Photographers takes submissions and gathers original images from photographers across the world. Instead of only seeing the perspective of one artist, you can get an idea of how many different artists see the world.

Online Journal by Megan McIssac

Online Journal by Megan McIssac

Any aspiring photographers without formal training should follow Megan McIssac’s blog. This self-taught photographer began taking pictures when she was 7 years old and today she works as a freelancer. Her clients include Levi’s, Netflix, NoMad Hotels, and more. Browse her portfolio or take advantage of the question and answer section on her blog to learn from the artist.

RUSH

RUSH

If done well, black and white photographs are very compelling. Although this style can feel forced or tired at times, the RUSH blog shows how black and white can be used well. Scroll through the archive for an impressive collection of striking black and white images.

American Photo

American Photo

Photographers are inspired by many different things. Some want to capture aesthetically-pleasing shots. Others want to tell a story with their image. If you are working towards photojournalism or storytelling, browse the collection on the American Photo blog. Their curated archive shows how seemingly simple images can be used to tell an important story.

Please Excuse the Mess

Please Excuse the Mess

Please Excuse the Mess is a unique collection of eye-catching photographs. The images don’t seem to keep to a single theme, which makes them interesting and worth a look. Gather some inspiration from the eclectic mix of images in this archive.

Kyle Thompson

Kyle Thompson

Kyle Thompson is a 25-year old Portland, Oregon-based photographer. Many of the images in this blog are self-portraits. Kyle often answers questions, so feel free to ask him about his work or peruse the FAQ section on his blog to learn more about his camera equipment and editing style.

On Off Up Down

On Off Up Down

This blog is a portfolio of the Halifax-based artist Nick Wilkinson. His work mainly focuses on editorial and portrait pieces. Many of his images are black and white and showcase how to tell a story with everyday objects and locations.

Josh Hedge

Josh Hedge

Josh Hedge is a 27-year old self-taught photographer and author based in Australia. Other self-taught photographers will enjoy following his blog for motivation and inspiration. The main themes of his work center on nature, animals, and travel.

JW Photo Diary

JW Photo Diary

Johnathan Wykes is a UK photographer whose portfolio is featured in the blog, JW Photo Diary. In this blog, you will see examples of fashion photography, portraits, and street captures. Wykes has a distinct style that new photographers can learn from. His portfolio shows that you can create a signature look that connects your work without making each image look exactly the same.

Photographers on Tumblr

Photographers on Tumblr

If you don’t want to follow a bunch of different Tumblr photography blogs, consider following a curated blog like Photographers on Tumblr. This account pulls the most interesting and captivating original images from a variety of photography accounts. Following this account is a great way to find new photographs and gain inspiration from many unique sources.

Boohwanj

Boohwanj

If you are interested in nature photography, Boohwanj is a great account to connect with. The photography in this portfolio is compelling and crisp. The artist also offers an “ask” section on their blog so you can try to engage with the photographer and learn from their experiences.

Daniel Casson

Daniel Casson

Daniel Casson is a freelance photographer who began his photography career on Instagram. His work quickly attracted thousands of followers and today he works for a variety of notable brands including Land Rover, UK National Lottery, and Dominos. Follow his work on his blog or reach out with a question to learn tips from the photographer.

Takashi Yasui

Takashi Yasui

Takashi Yasui is a Tokyo-based lifestyle photographer. He uses his images to tell a story about daily life in Japan today. He often focuses on the gritty and interesting aspects of city life. Other photographers can follow his blog to gain inspiration for their own lifestyle shots.

RiverWind-Photography

RiverWind-Photography

RiverWind-Photography is a collection of original nature images inspired by the famous American photographer Eliot Porter. These images mainly focus on the Pacific Northwest. Other nature photographers might enjoy browsing this portfolio for inspiration or connecting with the photographer through their blog for advice or mutual knowledge-sharing.

Freddie Ardley

Freddie Ardley

Freddie Ardley is a landscape, portrait and fine art photographer. His work is inspired by the “incredible diversity of landscapes on Earth.” Ardley works as a staff photographer for Citizen Magazine and his blog showcases his unique and whimsical style.

Xuebing Du

Xuebing Du

The photographer Xuebing Du explains that they “explore the beauty of nature by emphasizing texture, light, and color.” You can explore their portfolio to get a glimpse at the impressive and interesting way the artist captures vibrant scenes in nature. This is a great blog to follow if you want to test your creativity and learn how to push the boundaries of light and color.

Reflections

Reflections

Reflections is the blog of Berlin-based photographer Olaf Meyer. He regularly posts interesting scenes of the outdoors, so this is a great follow for anyone looking to build their own nature photography skills. His blog features an “ask me anything” section, so feel free to reach out to connect with this artist.

Nature-Hiking

Nature-Hiking

Robert is a 26-year old Amsterdam-based photographer. His blog focuses on images he captures during summer backcountry hiking trips. If you are an aspiring photographer or use this as a hobby, Nature-Hiking is a great blog to follow. Robert’s work shows that you shouldn’t stop taking pictures even if it isn’t your full time job.

Swedish Landscapes

Swedish Landscapes
If you are interested in landscape photography, consider following the Swedish Landscapes Tumblr blog. This page is dedicated to original photographs of the changing seasons across Sweden. This photographer often notes when the photos are unedited so you can get an idea of the images they can capture without Photoshop.

Hannah Aspen Photography

Hannah Aspen Photography

Hannah Aspen is a 25-year old photographer with a background in the fashion industry. By “drawing inspiration from fine art, music and poetry, she hopes to unveil pieces of her dream world in her images.” If you are interested in landscape or editorial photography, this is a great blog to follow. She also offers an “ask me anything” section so you can learn more about her style and inspiration.

Street Photographers on Tumblr

Street Photographers on Tumblr

If you are interested in street photography, check out this collection. This blog is dedicated to reblogging the best street photography across Tumblr. By following Street Photographers on Tumblr, you can see the best street photography images without needing to follow multiple artists.

Sam Shatsky

Sam Shatsky

Sam Shatsky is a self-taught adventure photographer from the Pacific Northwest. His work “focuses on the unconventional side of photography, creating unique and abstract travel scenery focusing on a wide range of subjects, compositions and environments.” By following his blog, you will find inspiration for moody and edgy shots of nature.

Yuji Hirai

Yuji Hirai

Yuji Hirai is an Osaka-based photographer who focuses on travel and lifestyle shots. He uses his work to attract overseas visitors to travel to Japan. His blog is a great example of how you can use photographs to capture a feeling and inspire action.

Uwhe-arts

Uwhe-arts
This blog is the portfolio of German photographer Uwe Heinze. As you scroll through his collection, you will get a feel for the interesting perspective of this landscape and nature photographer. Following photographers who offer many different styles can help you expand your own perspective.

Steven Scarcello

Steven Scarcello

Steven Scarcello is a landscape photographer with an impressive portfolio. His work mainly focuses on rugged scenes. If you are looking to capture natural vistas, follow his blog for inspiration on framing the wilderness.

Good Morning, Hypocrite

Good Morning Hypocrite

Vinnie is a pilot who also captures interesting scenes on his travels. Use the “ask me anything” section to learn how he captures his shots and where he finds inspiration. His Good Morning, Hypocrite portfolio is mainly focused on nature and landscape photography.

Kelsey Lorene

Kelsey Lorene

Kelsey Lorene uses both a camera and her iPhone to capture the images on her blog. Her work shows that black and white photographs can be used to emphasize the story behind the image. Browse her portfolio for inspiration or use the “ask” section to learn more about her work.

El Oso Con Botas

El Oso Con Botas

Breaking away from the landscape and portrait photography we’ve focused on so far, this blog showcases compelling food photography. Scroll through the archive of El Oso Con Botas to find inspiration for staging and capturing images of food that make you want to reach through the image and take a bite.

Toma EvsuVdo

Toma EvsuVdo

Toma is a Russian-based photographer who specializes in food, portraits, and travel. If you also don’t want to box your own photography into one category, this is an inspiring blog to follow.

Rachel Anthoney

Rachel Anthoney

Rachel is a semi-amateur photographer who enjoys capturing nature and exterior shots. She offers a portfolio with the story behind each image, which is a great resource for learning about her captures. Connect with the photographer to learn even more about her style.

Ikinuki

Ikinuki

The blog Ikinuki describes itself as “day-to-day ordinary” images. But as you scroll through the portfolio, you will soon realize that the ordinary can still make extraordinary shots. Use this blog to remind yourself that great images can come from anywhere.

PWH3

PWH3

PWH3 focuses his work on the streets of New York. PHW3 is very transparent about his work. He explains, “I have used a variety of cameras over the years and still use different cameras for different situations. Depending on where I’m going, I’ll bring along a Lumix GX1, Lumix G3 or an Olympus EM-10. I also use a Nikon D5100 and a Nikon D90.” He also mentions that he enjoys editing his images and this is a great blog to follow if you want inspiration for the post-processing side of photography.

With Wild

With Wild

With Wild is a blog that focuses on nature photography. Use the “ask me anything” tab to ask the photographer questions about how they capture the perfect shot of animals and other natural scenes.

Claudio Blanc

Claudio Blanc

Caludio Blanc captures images of daily life in Buenos Aires. Many of the images are black and white. Browse the portfolio for inspiration on capturing your own interesting images of seemingly ordinary tasks.

Dithymy&Karen

Dithymy&Karen

This blog is a collection of the original photography by Wanwisa Hernandez. Follow this blog to see images of nature, animals, and portraits. Or, ask the photographer questions about their work to help improve your own skills.

Expand Your Photography Inspiration

Feeling inspired to launch your photography career or expand your hobby? Browse the Grid50 marketplace to find the photography and video gear you need to get going! We also offer a selection of resources on photography tips and tricks to help you expand your skills.

Urban Photography Guide Graphic

Urban Photography 101: What is It & How Can You Get Started?

Urban Photography 101: What is It & How Can You Get Started?

In this article, we take an in-depth look at urban photography. We discuss what it is – what it isn’t – and cover examples, tips, and recommended gear to help you get started.

We understand that you’re bursting with enthusiasm to go out and capture some quality urban photographs. We get it; it’s a great genre to practice. But before we free you into the urban wild, we want to ensure you have all the tools needed to go out and survive on your own.

We’ve designed this guide to be fun and educational. So by the end of this article you will have all the knowledge and power required to create incredible urban photographs. So let’s get started…

Read on or use the links to below to “jump” to the section you’d like to check out:

Urban Photography Explained

Urban photography has risen in popularity over the past 10 years. It’s the kind of genre that allows photographers to push creative boundaries and explore the nuances of their environment. In its simplest form, urban photography is the documentation of the urban space.

The urban space tends to pertain to cities that have raw characteristics such as architecture, brickwork, streets, and a well-populated area. A common misconception, however, is that urban photography is the same as street photography; it isn’t. Here’s why…

Urban Photography vs. Street Photography

Street photography is a very broad term for candid photography. Street photography can exist in cosmopolitan cities, smaller towns, and even on the beach. While urban photography is similar to street photography, it is its own genre and focuses on a very specific approach and type of area of photography.

For the most part, urban photography is shot candidly. However many hipster-style brands lend from the urban aesthetic and build it into their fashion and portrait photography.

We should also point out that urban photography is not limited to including people in images.

Urban Photography Examples & Styles

Urban Geometry Photography

Urban geometry photography is especially popular. This kind of work focuses on the relationships between color, shapes, and architecture that all exist within the urban space.

LA-based photographer, George Byrne, is an excellent example of how a person can use the urban landscape to create visually compelling images.

His work is best described as abstract urban photography. As you can see below, his images, do not have an obvious subject, but rather they take different parts of the scene, bring them together, and make a full image from them:

George Byrne Instagram

Source

As you can see from the image below, urban geometry photography completely removes any living subject from the photograph.

Sidewalk Photo

Photo Credit: Dan Ginn

Can you see how the shapes all make an individual contribution to the image?

Let’s break it down…

In the background, the pathway acts as a leading line across the upper section of the photograph. On the center-right of the image, the yellow road marks create a triangular shape that points towards the foreground. The foreground consists only of a simple traffic cone that adds more value to the photograph.

It’s important to notice that each of the three components are not overbearing. None of them “take over” the image. They are very subtle in their placement, but together they’re a powerful force that encourages the audience to stay with the image.

Candid Urban Photography

Person walking next to graffiti

Photo Credit: Dan Ginn

Candid Urban Photography is the style that most resembles street photography. The above photograph was taken in downtown Manhattan, on the outskirts of the more populated areas.

So, what makes this an urban shot?

Firstly, the exposed brickwork of the building gives the image an edgy, rural aesthetic. Combine that with the graffiti and you begin to get an artistic, urban vibe. The human element makes the shot candid, as people are unknowing participants in the photograph, giving it an extra layer and more context.

While the use of bright color is not exclusive to urban photography, having it within the frame makes the photograph pop more, making it more attractive to the eye.

Urban Portrait Photography

Urban geometry photography

Photo Credit: Dan Ginn

This photograph is from a preplanned photoshoot. It’s set in the back streets of London, where you often find derelict buildings that are perfect for creating an urban theme.

Again, the exposed brickwork is a key player in this image. As are the shadows from the metal fencing, that are included to create shapes and drama over the two main subjects. The dark tones add an extra layer of an urban mood, providing a rustic undertone to the urban street style shot.

How to Get Started in Urban Photography

Getting started in urban photography is easy. Unlike other genres of photography where you need a range of equipment, with urban photography all you need is a camera and plenty of ambition.

The best tip to get started is to go out and shoot.

Honestly, the biggest barrier people have with urban photography is having the confidence and motivation to actually get outside and create the images. While you should set high standards for yourself, don’t put too much expectation on your shoulders too soon.

Becoming good at urban photography takes time. It requires a lot of effort, failure, and learning. So what if you don’t create amazing photographs right away? The fact you’re getting out there is

more than what most do, that’s a win in itself.

People walking blur

Source

Also, learn to enjoy the process. In photography, people become so focused on the end goal. In this case, it is, of course, the image. But what about everything leading up to that point? The walking, the of scouting locations, the analysis of a scene, right through to deciding to take the shot?

All of that is important, and it’s fun. If you can learn to enjoy each point of the full process then you will last a long time in urban photography. And in time, the quality will arrive and from that point, the sky’s the limit!

It’s also wise to research the work of other, more established, photographers. Be careful not to just copy their work, but rather, use it as a way to influence your own. A good book for your reading is Urban Photography by Tim Cornbill. It offers a 193-page look at the genre of urban photography.

Urban Photography Tips

Here are some tips and ideas to help you gauge an idea of how to make compelling urban photography.

Know Your Areas

A very important part to capturing great photographs is knowing where to find them. To do that you need to become an expert in the urban parts of your area, and beyond if you intend to travel.

Using Google Maps is a great way of saving locations, making it easier for you to navigate when you get out to shoot.

Google Maps graphic

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Also, save locations that you stumble across randomly. The more you know where you’re going, the less time you need to spend on navigation, and the more time you can spend on shooting.

Know Your Camera Settings

Urban photography can move at a fast pace. Because of this, it’s crucial that you can set the right camera settings quickly and easily.

To do this, we recommend shooting in Aperture Priority mode. Don’t be too proud to step of Manual mode, it does not make you any less of a photographer.

Because light changes quickly, only having to focus on the aperture settings means you have a better chance of getting the correct exposure when shooting urban photography.

If you would like to add some motion blur to your images, then set your camera to Shutter Priority mode.

Slow shutter speeds are what’s needed in order to add blur to images. To achieve this, always shoot at a shutter speed slower than your focal length. For example, if your focal length is 35mm, then shoot at a shutter speed 1/35th of a second and slower.

The slower your shutter speed the more blur you can expect in your photograph.

Car blur photo

Photo Credit: Dan Ginn

For sharp images, select an f-stop between f/8 – f/16. This allows for more of your image to be in focus and keeps everything crisp and clear.

Look For Relationships

Looking for relationships is the process of identifying two or more components within a frame that add to your main subject. These components then work in conjunction with one another to make the image more compelling for the viewer.

Here’s an example below with a shot of the Empire State Building:

Empire State Building and American flag photo

Photo Credit: Dan Ginn

Because of its history and size, The Empire State Building is impressive in itself. But there are millions of photographs of the iconic monument, and alone it’s just another photograph of something people have seen before.

But with the American flag, flying high alongside it, the image starts to tell a story. It’s a photograph that highlights the strength of the world’s largest superpower. The American flag flows proudly in front of one of the countries greatest architectural achievements.

That subtle addition to the photograph gives it more depth, especially with the flag being in the foreground and the Empire State Building in the background. This is why looking for relationships within your frame is important. Here’s an exercise for your next shoot…

When you find an interesting subject, before taking the shot, look around the frame and try to identify something that can work well with it and make your image better.

Looks for pairs, juxtapositions (two things placed side-by-side for comparison), for example. If you can’t find a relationship, don’t take the shot and move on to the next scene. This will train your eye to be more observant when shooting.

Know Your Lighting 

When shooting urban photography, you will have to work with the light around you. This is means you will have little to no control over the quality and kind of light available. Most often, you’ll be working with a natural light source.

Knowing the different types of light and what you can do with them creatively will help you take better shots. Here are some different types of light and how you can best utilize them for your photography:

Bright Sun

A bright sunny day, with a clear sky, can be both problematic and advantageous. If you’re planning on doing an urban portrait shoot, for example, harsh bright light is your worst nightmare.

If you place your subject facing the sun, they will struggle to see and start to squint. If you put them with their back to the sun, they will become silhouetted and underexposed in the image. You can use off-camera flash and reflectors to combat this issue, but not every photography has access to these tools or the experience yet to use them properly.

However, for candid and urban geometry, bright light is your best friend. Because of buildings in the area, the bright light will create deep, dark shadows. The contrast between the highlights and shadows makes for some really artistic photography. See the example below:

Dark urban photography

Photo Credit: Dan Ginn

Bright Overcast Day

A bright cloudy day doesn’t offer the most creative light, but it does have other benefits. The clouds act as a huge softbox for the light source (the sun) and create softer, more evenly spread light.

Woman urban portrait photograpy example

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This is the best time to get out and shoot some urban portraits as your subjects will be lit well and you can also incorporate the urban environment without the distraction of harsh light.

For candid shots, you lose the element of creative light. This isn’t a bad thing as your photography should be more dynamic than just highlights and shadows. But you will need to ensure your subjects are really worth photographing, otherwise, you risk having flatly lit, uninteresting photographs…

Bad urban photography example

Photo Credit: Dan Ginn

Shooting at Night

Don’t make the mistake of thinking urban photography is only reserved for day time shooting.

Even if you don’t have an external flashlight, you can still shoot at night. There are plenty of light sources that can illuminate your subjects.

Areas that have lots of neon lighting are wonderful for all types of urban photography. The variation of color, along with a strong subject, creates some of the best urban photography to go out and shoot.

Urban portrait photography

Photo Credit: Dan Ginn

Also, don’t be afraid of bumping up your ISO. Today’s cameras can be set at a high ISO without adding too much grain to your photograph. Even still, don’t be overly worried about grain. For gritty, urban styles, grain can actually be a fantastic addition to your photograph.

Recommended Gear for Urban Photography

Camera settings

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“The best camera is the one you have in your hand”, as the popular saying goes among photographers…

There’s a good argument to say that the quote is correct. However, it’s also true that certain types of cameras will help you to achieve the photographic results that you want.

For urban photography, it’s best that you have something small in size and light in weight. You will be doing to do a lot of walking. Having a big heavy camera and lens will put a lot of pressure on you. The consequence of this is that you probably won’t shoot for long periods or you will risk muscle pain.

Mirrorless cameras are your best option.

They are small but can still produce the same, if not better, quality photographs as DSLRs. Brands such as Fujifilm, Sony, and Nikon all have fantastic mirrorless options that are popular amongst the urban photography community. The most important aspect of your gear is the lens that you use. Here are some of the types of lenses that will suit you best in different circumstances.

Wide-Angle Lens

A wide-angle lens tends to range from 16mm – 28mm. This type of lens is perfect for those of you that want to photograph the urban landscape. It allows you to capture more of the scene, without adding too much distortion to the frame.

City landscape

Photo Credit: Dan Ginn

Standard Lens

A good 35mm and 50mm should be used for your candid urban photography. 50mm tends to create images in the same fashion as what the eye sees. Both a 35mm and 50mm will allow you to have depth and context in your image.

Photo of black and white cadillac

Photo Credit: Dan Ginn

Telephoto Lens

We would advise you not to use a telephoto lens for urban photography. They’re big, heavy, and not well suited to this genre of photography.

If you’re shooting architecture, they don’t allow you to get much into the frame. For candid photography, a telephoto lens is easy to spot and will bring you lots of unwanted attention.

This kind of lens is best suited to wildlife or sports photography, or other situations where the photographer is unable to get close to the scene and subject. This is unlikely going to be the case with urban photography.

Primes or Zooms?

The great lens debate; Primes or Zooms?

On the one hand, prime lenses tend to be sharper, while on the other, zoom lenses provide you more flexibility. With a prime lens, you’re encouraged to get closer to your subject, it certainly makes you think more about your scene and your angle of view. But because a zoom lends you more range, it means you can capture the shot quickly and without as much hassle.

For inexperienced shooters, it’s best to get a zoom lens that ranges from 18mm-55mm (a standard kit lens). But more advanced photographers should opt for a prime lens such as a 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm.

Become a Better Urban Photographer & Have Fun!

Urban photography may be challenging at first for those new to the style. Capturing city buildings, people, and geometric shapes in a visually compelling way and/or in a way that tells a story beyond the picture itself, can take time (just like many other styles of photography).

It takes practice and experience to know what to look for and how to capture the best scenes. Using the tips and knowledge above, though, will help you get started. It’s up to you to take it from there and challenge yourself.

But remember, photography is all about having fun.

Yes, you should take it seriously and always aim for high standards, but if it’s not enjoyable then what’s the point? Put on some comfy shoes, get ready to explore, and start creating some awesome urban photography!

DSLR Tips for Beginners

10 DSLR Tips & Tricks for Beginners

10 DSLR Tips & Tricks for Beginners

You have probably come a long way from when you first got to shoot through a DSLR. The rush of excitement and reverence may have dimmed, but the warmth of holding your own lingers on. And you got it right – the possibilities with your DSLR are endless.

You’ve landed here because you are ready to embark on the exciting adventure of photography with some serious camera skills. Whether you’re a beginner or a camera pro, understanding composition and creativity is important.

Ready to take great photos? Let’s dive right into some tips for better shooting.

1. Know your Camera Inside Out

If you want to add the “wow” factor in your pictures, you must understand how your camera works. Whether you have a top-of-the-line DSLR or not, the key to beautiful and iconic photos is your creativity skills, but for that you need to have complete knowledge of your camera settings.

Your camera is like any other tool. You must be familiar to it like an extension of your hand. If you don’t utilize your camera to the fullest, it’s going to limit your creativity.

Know Your Camera

Be it reading the manual or going through the viewfinder, do whatever it takes to gain an in-depth understanding of your camera’s features and functions. You must be familiar with all the camera settings: be it the power switch or the shutter release button.

Click on the menu to get familiar with camera settings – whether it’s aperture control or flash button, the focus mode and the creative modes your camera offers, acquaint yourself with everything.

2. Master Your Technique

You can own the most expensive camera and it’ll still be useless if you don’t ace the techniques. Remember, technique comes with understanding: once you get through the first part, you can move to learning its behaviors and modifying your technique accordingly.

Photography is a lot more than pressing a shutter release. The background is as important as the picture itself. It can either enhance or distract your focus.

Another technique for skilled photography is light. So the art of light is important when dealing with good photography. Learn how your camera behaves in a variety of light situations. Have you noticed how the landscape shot differs during dawn or twilight?

Does your camera let you take better portraits or better landscapes? Does your camera come with an interchangeable lens, and when do you feel the need to change the focal length? Can you achieve your required depth of field in your DSLR?

Polishing your DSLR skills will come with mastering control over its functions. You must aim to remove camera auto settings, as you cannot learn if you keep depending on them to do most of your work.

3. The Dilemma of Shooting in RAW

If you are even a tad bit serious about your photography, your focus will be on image quality. As a photographer you will face the JPEG vs. RAW dilemma quite often. JPEG images are processed within the camera, while RAW images are uncompressed and unprocessed – making them of a higher quality. This leaves a lot of room to play in post-edit.

Step up your photography game and decide the image file for your photos depending on your situation and purpose. For post-processing adjustments, choose RAW. Shooting RAW is considered the standard as it causes no noticeable deterioration. JPEG is similar to an instant polaroid. For any immediate and lower quality purpose, you can choose JPEG.

Just know that shooting in RAW allows you to keep a lot of image details which helps you fix the exposure, colors, sharpness and a variety of other things in the image. If post-processing and editing interest you just as much as shooting does, RAW should be your best friend.

4. Here Comes the Tripod

Camera Tripod

You are lying there waiting for the sparrow to return to its nest and start feeding its young ones so you can get the perfect shot, but she flies in right when you rest your hands, and in the ensuing panic to position the camera correctly once again, the opportunity is gone.

It may be a fidgety subject, a spur-of-the-moment video shoot, or a long exposure shot (like busy night-time traffic) that will make investing into a good quality tripod, one of your most sensible buys even if carrying it seems a drag.

5. Factoring in ISO 

International Organization of Standardization (ISO) refers to the level of sensitivity of your film to light. Increasing light sensitivity also means a faster shutter speed. ISO increments take place in doubles with every stop on a digital camera, implying that ISO 200 gives twice the light sensitivity of an ISO 100. But how does light sensitivity translate into our image?

Well, increasing ISO values result in an increasingly bright photograph, giving us room to capture images in dark environments. As the values go progressively higher, the image starts to turn grainy, compromising image quality and detail.

What does that tell us now?

ISO 100 (the lowest value) is good for photography in bright daylight or sunny environments; cloud cover would require us to go two or three times higher; while non-flash, low light photography would necessitate values as high as 1600 giving us a noisy image.

6. Getting Familiar with Autofocus 

Camera Settings

As the name implies, this one takes care of you, rather than the other way round. There are two primary autofocus modes: One-Shot or Single-Servo, and Al-Servo or Continuous.

One-shot mode is good for when you are shooting a stationary object; you can easily take a good sharp image of your unmoving subject this way. It is also good for low light photography. Al-Servo mode on the other hand, focuses well on a moving object like birds in flight or running children.

There is also the Autofocus Area Mode. While the autofocus modes determine where the lens shall focus, the area mode decides the camera’s target. You can choose a single autofocus point, or a cluster of them (that are visible through the viewfinder).

If your object of desire takes up a significant part of your screen and is maintaining a fairly stable position, you ought to choose a single focus, more specifically the one in the center as it is gives the most precision, resulting in a sharper image.

You can select this point by directing it at the center of your object of interest, then press on the shutter release halfway to activate and lock the focus.

7. Metering it Right

When the camera determines the aperture and shutter speed, depending upon the light and ISO, it is known as metering. In days of old, the photographers would have to use a hand-held device to measure the amount and intensity of light, which the DSLR camera does on its own today.

If you switch to the manual mode of your camera, the bars visible to you have a scale beneath them, centered at zero in the middle of your view.

Bright light would make the bars on the positive side of the zero move towards the right side of the screen and vice versa. The automatic metering would fail when there is more than one light source or obstructions cause different intensities of light to be present, because a camera tries to average out the light intensity of the entire frame.

This default metering mode of your camera is the evaluative metering mode. The other two most common modes are center-weighted and spot metering modes. The center-weighted is desirable for headshots or portraits, whilst spot metering is good for zoning in on small objects of interest like a lone bird.

8. Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority

Aperture is the opening of your lens when taking a picture, and it controls the amount of light that gets into the camera. In the aperture priority mode, you control the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed.

So if you wanted to capture an image close to you (in a shallow depth of field) in sharper focus (with the background blurred somewhat), you would choose a fast aperture (say f/1.4).

Shutter Priority mode lets you choose the shutter speed which in turn controls how motion is captured in the image. The camera decides the aperture for the best exposure.

In order to capture a frozen image of a high-speed object, like the bullet train, we would choose shutter speed in excess of 1/2000, but if we wanted some blur to our moving object, then we would experiment at slower speeds, depending on the speed of our object.

9. Know All the DIY Hacks and Tricks

You might think about getting expensive gear for your DSLR, but you really don’t have to break the bank. Want to add some level of interest in your photos? Explore some fun tricks to create interesting visuals just by learning DIY photography hacks.

A shiny new lens or a pricey softbox is not always necessary to get the perfect image. There are various inexpensive tricks that can get you some cool, fun photos. You can use tinfoil to make a reflector or use wooden panels to create neat backdrops. Using squirt bottles can create a rain effect.

10. Learn to Read the Histogram

A histogram is a graphical representation of the pixels exposed in your photograph. If you wish to make the most out of your DSLR and pursue photography seriously, learning to read the histogram can be of great help. The great thing is that many DSLRs now have histograms that react to scenes in real time.

Histogram

Imagine the histogram as a bar graph all squished together with no spaces between each bar. A histogram can help you judge the exposure of an image in most cases. If you know how to read it, you can avoid underexposure, overexposure, and loss of detail in your photograph.

As you work with these tips to perfecting your shot, you must also know that experimentation goes a long way – take multiple images (delete the useless ones after every session!), change your angle and perspective as you go (by changing your own position or the camera’s, etc.) and see what you can make of your results by tinkering with them using the trusty old Photoshop!