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.


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!

Winter Photography

The Ultimate Guide to Winter Photography

The Ultimate Guide to Winter Photography

Winter is a fabulous time to tackle new photography projects, learn fresh skills, and capture some amazing images, but it does pose a few challenges, especially for the outdoor photographer.

Whether you’re a novice, just learning the ins and outs of your camera, or a professional honing your skills, winter is the perfect teacher. This winter photography guide will help you stay warm, keep your gear in top form, and encourage you to shoot more creatively, despite the challenges of winter weather.

Read on or use the links to below to “jump” to each section:

Winter Photography Tips

Cold weather, harshly reflected sunlight, and snow are just a few of the challenges you’ll face as a winter photographer. Fortunately, none of these issues are deal-breakers — you just need to make a few adjustments to achieve the best results. Here are some general tips for taking better photos in the winter.

Shoot in RAW

Shooting in RAW format allows your camera to transfer all the information from the scene you’re shooting into a file that can be accessed during post-processing.

A JPEG file, by contrast, is a compressed file. The information included in a JPEG file is based on your camera’s settings when you click the shutter. Any additional information that has been gathered is discarded in order to save space.

Edits that are easily achieved with RAW images can be impossible to do with JPEG files.

Because winter conditions can often trick your camera into blowing out highlights, underexposing images, or giving everything a bluish tone, shooting in RAW provides more editing flexibility.

Shooting in JPEG will result in smaller files, but it can be nearly impossible to fix improper white balance or exposure issues in your JPEG photo. Photography Concentrate has a great overview of shooting in RAW versus JPEG, and how it affects the editing process.

Use a Versatile Lens

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Photo credit: Tara Schatz

When the temperature drops below freezing, the last thing you want to do is to change lenses in the field. Choose a versatile, multipurpose lens that can capture a variety of shooting situations. A 70-200mm works really well for capturing winter landscapes, portraits, and wildlife.

Focus Your Winter Shots Manually

Falling snow, scenes with little contrast, and foggy, overcast lighting will play tricks with your camera’s autofocus. To ensure crisp shots with a focal point of your choosing, switch over to manual focus.

Bracket Your Shots

One of the trickiest aspects of winter photography is achieving the correct exposure. Bright, snow-covered scenes tend to dominate your camera’s meter exposure reading, which will often underexpose your shots.

While you can certainly set your exposure value to +1 to compensate, bracketing exposures while out in the field will give you more choices when it comes time for post-processing. For an in-depth look at exposure bracketing, check out this article on Picture Correct.

Use a Polarizing Filter

Using a polarizer during bright, snowy conditions will reduce glare and add some contrast and drama to your sky.

The most common type of polarizing filter is screwed on to the end of your lens. It provides your lens with additional protection from moisture and damage, and can be turned in the field to achieve many different effects.

Get Out Early

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Photo credit: Tara Schatz

If you’re hoping to capture a beautiful, snowy scene, your best bet is to head out immediately after the snow stops, or even when it’s still falling.

Snow is a fickle creature, and once it blankets the ground, that snowglobe landscape will quickly turn a dingy grey and be marred by footprints, especially if you’re shooting in urban areas. The Golden Hour, shortly after sunrise or before sunset, is the best time to capture warm winter lighting. For frosty macro photography, head out at first light.

Camera Settings for Winter Photography

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Photo credit: Jamie Davies on Unsplash

While auto settings are great for snapshots, you will rarely capture winter’s drama without some manual adjustments. There is no time like a long winter to get familiar with your camera’s manual settings.

Sit down and read your manual, take some notes, and practice what you’ve learned. There are no hard, fast rules for which settings work best in a given situation. The best method is to experiment and see what works. Use the following tips as a starting point for adjusting your camera’s settings, but don’t be afraid to play around and have fun.

  • Exposure – We’ve already talked a bit about exposure, and while I definitely suggest bracketing your shots, you should also count on underexposed photos, at least when you’re shooting bright white snow. Use your camera’s histogram and adjust your exposure dial up a bit to compensate.
  • Shutter Speed – Shutter speed depends entirely on the effect you’re after and the conditions you’re shooting in. Fast shutter speeds will stop motion, and they are useful for freezing the falling snow, shooting in windy conditions, and capturing snowsports and wildlife. Gently falling snow may require a shutter speed of 1/150 to freeze motion. Blizzard conditions may require 1/350 or more. Slow down your shutter speed, and snow will appear as streaks of white across the frame, creating beautifully moody scenes.
  • White Balance – Auto white balance in snowy conditions will often lead to photos that are tinged with blue. The easiest way to remedy this is to set your white balance to the shady or cloudy setting. If you’re shooting in RAW, you will be able to further adjust the white balance in post-processing.

Taking Winter Portraits

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Photo credit: Tara Schatz

Winter is one of the best times to capture beautiful portraits, provided you plan ahead. The evening golden hour comes early in the winter—as early as 2 p.m. in some locations. Even cloudy days have the potential for magical and moody captures that you wouldn’t normally expect.

Many of the settings for winter portraits will be similar to those for general winter photography, and of course, experimenting is important for achieving your desired results. Here are a few winter portrait tips to help you make the most of the cold temperatures and snowy landscapes.

  • Add some color to your scene. Whether it’s a hat, a scarf, or an umbrella, a little pop of color will add liveliness to what may otherwise be a dull scene.
  • Make use of backlighting. Winter light can be absolutely magical, especially when it reflects on glittery snow. A little backlighting and a shallow depth-of-field will create beautiful bokeh and warm highlights.
  • Keep your model warm. It’s impossible to look or feel relaxed when you’re cold. Encourage your model to dress for the weather, with warm gloves, a scarf, and a hat. Bring along a thermos of hot chocolate, extra blankets, and some packets of hand warmers, just in case.
  • Use spot metering and bracketing. Shooting in winter conditions will likely cause some of your scene to be underexposed. Using spot metering will ensure that the subject’s face is exposed properly, even if the rest of your scene isn’t. Bracketing your shots is useful when the ever-changing light is causing you to question your exposure settings. As long as your model’s face is properly exposed, the rest can be adjusted in post-processing.
  • Have fun. Winter is the perfect time to experiment with playful poses. Ask your models to play in the snow, meander through the forest, or frolic in the park. Snow has a way of bringing out the child in everyone.

Tips for Keeping Warm and Protecting Your Camera Gear in the Winter

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Photo credit: Tara Schatz

Winter photography can be a lot of fun, but certainly not if you’re fingers turn blue, your lens is always fogging up, and you get water inside your camera’s computer.

Keeping your gear protected is just as important as framing that perfect shot, and if you’re not comfortable, you’ll have zero interest in shooting creatively. Here are a few tips to ensure that you love every minute of your winter photo shoot.

Bring Extra Batteries and Keep Them Warm

When the outdoor temperatures drop below freezing, your camera’s battery will drain very quickly. The colder the temperature, the faster your battery will be depleted.

Be prepared with one or two fully-charged batteries, and keep them in an inner pocket so they will last as long as possible. Lithium-ion batteries perform the best, followed by NiCad and NiMH. Avoid alkaline batteries altogether, as they perform very poorly in the cold.

Keep Your Camera Cold and Dry

Most modern DSLRs are designed to work at freezing or below-freezing temperatures without a problem, with the main issue being a quickly depleted battery. The bigger problem will be moisture.

Try not to breathe on your camera when shooting, and if your LCD screen does fog up, use a microfiber cloth to wipe it down. Don’t keep your camera inside your jacket, as the change from cold to warm and back to cold will create additional condensation on your camera.

Lastly, if you are shooting in wet snow or other damp conditions, consider using a heavy-duty plastic bag or a rain cover to protect your camera’s internal components.

Move from Cold to Warm Conditions Very Carefully

When you bring a cold camera into a warm space, moisture will immediately begin to condense onto it, or even inside it. You can prevent this by slipping your camera into a protective bag before you bring it inside.

Let it come to room temperature before you remove your camera from the bag. If your camera does develop condensation or moisture, remove the batteries, and let it completely dry out before trying to use it.

Dress for the Weather

Dressing for winter photography is just like dressing for any winter activity in the outdoors—you need to wear warm layers, wool socks, and sturdy footwear.

Protect your hands with a lightweight pair of touchscreen gloves, followed by a pair of over-mittens that you can take off when you’re ready to shoot. Lastly, tuck a few packs of hand-warmers in your pockets to keep your fingers and your batteries toasty.

Bring a Friend, or at Least a Cellphone

Winter conditions make for beautiful photography, but dangerous driving and hiking conditions. Bring a friend on your photo expedition for double the fun.

If you must go alone, be sure to tell someone exactly where you’ll be and when you’re returning, and don’t forget to pack a fully-charged cell phone in case of emergencies.

Winter Photography Ideas

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Photo credit: Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

Now that you know which settings to use and how to keep your gear safe in winter weather, here are some winter photography ideas to inspire you to get out and start shooting.

  • Photograph falling snow – It’s true what they say—every snowflake is unique, as is every single snowstorm. Head out in the snow to play with your shutter speed. Slow it down to capture streaks of white, or stop the motion to capture each snowflake in your scene.
  • Sunrise/sunsets – Late sunrises and early sunsets make it easier to get outside during the golden hour. Combined with the warm winter lighting, soft reflections, and clear atmospheric conditions, and you have the ingredients for some amazing sunrises and sunsets.
  • Holiday lights – Light displays can be a backdrop for some very creative shots, whether you’re shooting portraits, cityscapes, or close-ups of your Christmas tree.
  • Shadows – Take a walk in the woods on a bright winter day to capture the shadowy patterns falling across the blankets of snow.
  • Frost – Early-morning frost can be found on foliage and window panes—perfect for macro photography or capturing abstract patterns.
  • Winter Birds – As far as wildlife goes, winter birds are very accessible. Put up a winter bird feeder and practice capturing its visitors. All you need is a zoom lens and a sturdy tripod to become a wildlife photographer.

Recommended Gear for Winter Photography

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Photo credit: Galina on Unsplash

Aside from your camera and lenses, your winter photography kit should also include some essentials for keeping you warm and your gear dry. Here are some recommendations:

Gear to Help You Stay Warm

  • Sturdy insulated boots – Warm them up before putting them on, and if it’s really cold, slip some insole foot warmers inside for up to eight hours of warmth.
  • Wool socks
  • Thermal base layers
  • Traction cleats – These slip over your boots for easy walking on icy surfaces.
  • Hand warmers
  • Touchscreen gloves
  • Waterproof over-mittens
  • Balaclava – To prevent frosty breath from building up on your LCD screen.
  • A warm hat
  • Waterproof coat
  • Snow pants
  • Snacks and water
  • Portable first aid kit and emergency firestarter
  • Fully-charged cell phone – Keep this in an inner pocket so you don’t drain the battery.

Winter Photography Gear

  • A waterproof camera bag – Your camera bag should be easy to get into and 100% waterproof. The K&F Concept large capacity backpack comes with a dust-free rain cover, anti-theft zip pockets, and a shockproof design—perfect for photo shoots in all types of weather.
  • A carbon or graphite tripod – Metal tripods are hard to work with during the winter because they become so cold. A carbon fiber tripod will be lighter for easy transport, and your hands won’t freeze while you’re setting it up. If you do shoot with a metal tripod, consider buying tripod leg warmers to keep your hands from getting too cold. Also, make sure you have a quick release plate on your camera so you don’t have to screw and unscrew it from your tripod with cold fingers.
  • A rain cover – You can certainly shoot with your camera inside a plastic bag, but a dedicated rain cover will be much easier to use. Peak Design makes shells in three sizes to protect your camera from rain, snow, and dust while out in the field.
  • A polarizing filter – A polarizer is useful for shooting outdoors in bright sunlight and snowy conditions. It will reduce glare and reflections while adding contrast to your shots. Polarizing filters come in different sizes and screw onto the front of your lens.
  • A camera-cleaning kit – Aside from a small towel and some microfiber cloths to wipe down your lens, you should also carry Q-tips for cleaning your viewfinder, a lens brush for brushing away snow, and a small blower. Don’t ever breathe on your camera to clean it — you will only add moisture to the lens and elements.

Now Go Out and Start Shooting!

Winter is a spectacular time to experiment and grow as a photographer. Extreme weather, beautiful lighting, and of course snow, set the stage for some magical shots and enable you to play with your camera settings, composition, and techniques.

The challenges of winter photography—staying warm, protecting your gear, and shooting properly exposed images can all be overcome with preparedness and practice.

Street Photography

25+ Types of Photography To Try Today!

25+ Types of Photography To Try Today!

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced photographer, it’s likely that you haven’t experimented in every type of photography. It’s worth exploring different types to discover the ones you like and the ones you don’t. With that said, there are so many different “genres” of photography, it can be tough to know exactly what’s available.

That’s why we put together this massive guide covering over 25 different types of photography. In this guide, you’ll learn what exactly each type of photography involves and what gear you might need to get started. You’ll also find multiple examples for each type, so you can see what others have done and if you might want to try that type out for yourself. Follow along:

1. Abstract

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Abstract photography can result in incredibly-looking shots, but in theory, it can be tough to work. However, there are some easy ways to capture abstract photos.

One option is to move the camera around and give yourself a nice blur. This is easy to do in Shutter Priority mode. In this mode, you can set your shutter speed to 1/10th of a second or slower—offering up a stunning panning blur.

Slow shutter speeds allow a lack of light to work nicely, and minimizing your ISO level allows you to avoid overexposure in your shots. Circular items like flowers can truly shine with something simple like camera wiggling.

When it comes to lenses, variety is nice—but to start out, go with an 18-50mm or 18-135mm and tinker with different focal lengths on the same subject to see what you get.


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2. Aerial

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Aerial photography is generally used for capturing properties or city landscapes. Sometimes, an owner will need photos of the property from high above and may need to see if that property is a home, a building, or just land.

When it comes to a camera body, investing in a full-frame camera will ensure you capture a high-fidelity, wide image. Because these photos are taken from high above, you will want a long-range zoom lens – something like a 70-300mm lens is perfect.

You can capture aerial photos from a helicopter or by using a drone. If shooting from a helicopter or plane, make sure to avoid having your lens touch the window pane as that will transfer the vibration of the vehicle directly into the camera. Buying a circular polarizing filter will help reduce any visible haze or glare in your photos.


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3. Architecture

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Photographing buildings may seem simple but there are a lot of little things that can determine whether or not your shots come out as you envision them. You have to be sensitive to the direction of light because it can increase contrast and shadows and cause your camera to expose the scene incorrectly.

Architecture photography can also include capturing specific details of a building (inside or out) to show a specific design or pattern.

Going with a wide-angle lens is usually perfect for shooting buildings. A 14mm or 10-24mm are good options if you want to capture a wide space or entire building. A zoom lens can be helpful if you want to narrow in on a specific area of a building.


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4. Astrophotography

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Owning a telescope allows you to see the stars and thus see the world in a whole new way.

While just about any DSLR will work in theory, you’ll likely invest in wide angle lens with a wide aperture. This enables you to shoot faster exposures, allowing for better image fidelity and minimal noise. Either a 10mm, 12mm, or 24mm will work fine. A tripod is needed to ensure crisp images, and if you are shooting while hiking, consider a carbon fiber tripod to reduce the weight of your pack.

A remote shutter also allows you to avoid shaking by activating the shutter without a physical button press on the camera itself. In terms of core equipment, you will need a telescope alongside your camera and will also need a T-Ring and T-Adapter to connect the DSLR to the telescope.


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5. Baby/Family

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Being able to take photos of a young baby is something that parents look forward to doing. While the first photos of a newborn may be done with a phone, it’s natural to want to take some photos with a higher-end device.

If you want to focus on the baby, using a 50mm will work nicely. For a baby’s eyes, you should avoid using a flash. So be sure to shoot in well-lit environments only.


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6. Black and white

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Black and white photography is an art, and seeing a black and white photo adds a sense of timelessness to every photo you take. One of the biggest aspects of black and white photography is the composition of the shot (composition is important in all photos, but with this type, you have far less to rely on). There are no vivid/bright colors to distract from poor composition.

Most DSLRs can shoot in a monochromatic mode and it’s far better to shoot in RAW mode to bring out the highest level of details in your images. Combining black and white photography with something like street photography is a lot of fun and allows you to bring out the beauty of the world.


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7. Bodyscape

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A mixture of nude photography and landscapes, a bodyscape photo focuses on showcasing the shape of the human body. The key to bodyscape photography is to have an image in mind since shooting will require extensive planning and meticulous attention to detail. You have to know what you want before you shoot it, and if you have multiple people involved, that adds more variables to the equation.

Depending on what you’re trying to do, a 35mm lens should work at capturing a wider scope of the body, while a 50mm lens will put more attention on one part. Having stark contrast between skin tones and the background is also a way to make bodyscape photos pop off the screen.


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8. Concert

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Concert photography, much like any event with arenas or stadiums involved, requires a bit more planning. For both sports shooting and concerts, you’ll want to make sure you know the building’s rules for cameras.

Some venues will ban the use of interchangeable lens-cameras (unless you have a press pass), which limits you to point and shoots.

If you are close to the stage, then a 50mm can be a good choice. For shots of the entire bandstand, then a 35mm is ideal. If you are further away, then go with a 70-200mm lens.


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9. Event

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Event photography is incredibly popular and something that a lot of companies do in order to showcase corporate events. Things like trade shows, special dinners, anniversaries, and other celebrations all benefit from having high-quality photos taken.

Environments and their layout will dictate what gear you need. If you plan to take a lot of portrait photos, make sure to bring both a 50mm and a 35mm lens. Going with a wide aperture is usually best. This will allow you to blur the background and make subjects stand out.


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10. Fashion photography

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Fashion photography is a great way to capture the action on a runway or capture the stunning beauty of a model showcasing new attire.

There are a few key lenses to consider if you’re shooting fashion. A 35mm prime lens will give you wider-angle shots, while an 85mm is going to be better for closer shots. A 50mm lens is solid too and allows you to bring the environment into your shots.

For versatility, a 24-70mm is outstanding. This focal length allows you to get wide-angle and shorter telephoto shots. A versatile lens like this allows you to capture crisp shots without having to bring a monopod with you.


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11. Food

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As anyone who has ever passed by a fast food restaurant can attest, a well-taken photo can make any food look outstanding.

When it comes to food photography, prime lenses are typically your best bet (they can provide more light and detail). A good 50mm f1.4 lens is fantastic and a great way to get a bit of distance between yourself and the food yet still get a crisp shot. A wide aperture will also provide a blurry background, allowing the food to stand out more.


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12. Landscape

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Landscape photography is a great option for anyone who likes to travel, hike, or simply be outdoors.

For super-sharp shots, a 14-24mm f/2.8 is a solid choice. This wide-angle lens will allow you to capture an entire landscape. For capturing shots from far away, a zoom lens like a 70-200mm is a good option.

It’s also a good idea to carry a tripod when doing any type of landscape photography, as this will allow you to shoot at slower shutter speeds (to capture details in dark areas, make a body of water look still, or to shoot in the evening or early morning).


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13. Lifestyle photography

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Lifestyle photography is all about capturing life and its moments. For example, a family enjoying a picnic or a person playing in a field. All of these things show off just what it means to be human.

Anticipation is a big part of lifestyle photography. If you have someone jumping rope, then you know there will be a jump above the rope. By beginning your shots before the event, you give yourself plenty of coverage and can snag that perfect shot.

While you can use a flash, it is generally better to shoot outdoors with natural light. When it comes to gear, a solid 24-70mm lens allows you to blend both zoom and a low enough f-stop to blur out your background and make subjects stand out.


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14. Macro

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Macro photography is the process of taking super-close-up photos. For example, you might capture fine details of a flower’s petals or a person’s eye.

A short macro lens is good for crop sensor cameras, and a 50mm lens at a 2.5 f-stop will allow you to capture crisp images. A 40mm will work as well, and be better if you’re going to be closer to the subject.


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15. Medical

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Medical photography isn’t for the faint of heart – but does provide a valuable resource. Medical photos allow for illnesses to be documented alongside surgeries and procedures to remedy them.

For ultra-crisp photos of things like wounds to show damage, a prime lens is ideal. For something like a deep wound, using a zoom lens like a 24-70mm will allow you to get a shot of the wound from far away and then up closer to see the true impact of the wound on the body.

While smartphones may be an easy way to take medical photos in a pinch, they will be unable to provide much zoom in these cases. Depending on your settings, a flash may also be needed if you are documenting something in a dark room or simply need more detail in the shot.


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16. Micro

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Microphotography is a highly-specialized form of photography. It involves taking photos using a microscope and requires extra equipment compared to other forms of photography. Normally, a T-adapter is needed to allow you to shoot photos alongside a microscope. You will also need a T-ring to attach the T-adapter to the microscope.

On average, a T-ring will cost about $60 while a T-Adapter costs anywhere from $45 to around $80 on the low end with higher-end options costing $200 or more.


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17. Pet

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Cat photos have gone viral many times over and what pet owner doesn’t love taking photos of their pets?

Animals have their own way of doing things and that means you can’t always count on your pet to be the most cooperative subject. If your pet allows you to get up close to them with a camera, then you should be fine with a shorter-range lens. A basis kit lens like an 18-55mm will work fine. You do sacrifice image quality with kit lenses, so if your pet is friendly, then going with either a 35mm or a 50mm should work well.


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18. Photojournalist

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Anyone looking to make it as a photojournalist should consider investing in a full-frame camera. If you are just starting out or are at a low-end blog level for journalism, then you can get by with a crop sensor camera. But, make it a good one.

Something like the Canon 77D or Canon 80D will work nicely and won’t set you back too much (relatively speaking). A 24-70mm is a good lens option that provides a decent range in order to cover a variety of situations (your shooting environment and/or subject may change rapidly).

It’s definitely a good idea to invest in good glass since a journalist can never count on having a second chance to take a photo.


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19. Portrait

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Portrait photography is one of the most user-friendly forms of photography out there and a great choice for a beginner because it involves shooting still subjects. When it comes to portraits, a prime lens is always a good choice. This type of lens will give you a wider maximum aperture, making it easier to add light to blur out the background behind your subject.

There are a variety of lenses you can use for portraits. A 24-70mm f/2.8 can provide a solid blend of zoom and maximum lighting. If you are shooting in a studio, then a 50mm may be best. This lens will allow you to have consistent results among all of your photos.


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20. Product photography

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Product photography is another seemingly simple type of photography to get into. You can typically get started with a basic lighting kit. However, achieving proper lighting on products can be trickier than it looks. A certain amount of staging should also go into taking professional products photos (ex. Adding props or positioning a dress shirt so that the lines flow just right).

When shooting against a backdrop, make sure to set your white balance manually so that colors and tin are consistent across all of your photos.


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21. Nude/erotic

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Nude photography can be a touchy subject, but at its core, it is artistic. When it comes to proper gear for nude photo shoots, an 85mm prime lens works nicely and gives you fantastic sharpness. You can also use a 50mm lens and get a fair amount of detail, especially if you have a f/1.4 lens to blur out backgrounds.

A 70-200mm lens is also great to use if you want to bring out the detail of the body itself. Capturing something like goosebumps on an arm or belly can be stunning and easily captured with this type of lens.

If you are shooting someone in the nude, be sure to keep the room warm and comfortable. Setting up a home studio with spot lighting or even using a sharp contrast with something like the body against a black background can be stunning too.


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22. Real Estate

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Real estate photography is an intricate art form and something that requires a lot of instinct to do well. Every house is different and if you’re shooting in less than ideal conditions, you have to be very selective with the gear you bring.

Using a full-frame is certainly what you want if you’re in a high-end housing development, and a nice 18-105 lens would work perfectly. This lens gives you both wide angles and can zoom when necessary.


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23. Sports

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Sports photography is one of the most popular kinds of photography and also one of the most difficult. The fast speed of athletes, and in the case of team sports like baseball, basketball, soccer,and football, the balls themselves makes it challenging. However, shooting sports can be thrilling, especially when you’re a fan of the sport.

The gear you need will vary depending on the sport, venue, seating, and lighting situation. A flash may not always be permitted, and be sure to get permission from either the event organizer or the arena before bringing a DSLR.

An 18-135mm lens can allow you to get wider shots for things like soccer and football, while also having a healthy zoom range. If you’re going to be in the stands and far away from the action, then a 70-300 lens may be best. If you aren’t sure where you’ll be, then an even more versatile lens like an 18-300 might be perfect.


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24. Stock photography

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Stock photography encompasses a wide variety of subjects, so it’s important to have a jack of all trades approach to your gear. Versatility is key and as a result, having something like an 18-135mm or an 18-300mm lens is ideal. This allows you to get pretty much any kind of photo you want (within reason).

An 18-135mm is going to be solid for sports, portraits, buildings, and products. For things that require a bit more zoom (ex. like a sports photo taken from the nosebleed seats), then an 18-300mm would work well at both capturing the entire field and some player action.


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25. Street

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Street photography is a fantastic way to capture local culture and the people who make it great. Prime lenses, much like with portraits, are the best overall way to capture the beauty of the subject. They typically provide more light and capture more detail. This can be helpful when capturing details like the cracks in a wall or pavement.

The standard go-to lenses for street photography are the 35mm and 50mm. 50mm is perfect for tighter shots, while 35mm is better when you want to capture more of the environment.


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26. Travel

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Travel photography is another popular type of mainstream photography. Everyone enjoys a good vacation and what better way to savor the memories than with high-quality photos?

For family vacations where you want to capture the whole family in the frame, a good wide-angle will work wonders. While most cameras will come with an 18-55mm lens, kit lenses can lack detail and sharpness. For the best results, you should look at using a prime lens.

A 20mm lens with a 1.8 aperture is a fantastic choice. If you want to get a wide variety of shots with a single lens, then either an 18-135mm (on a Canon) or an 18-140mm (on a Nikon) are ideal. These lens ranges will provide both wide angle and telephoto zoom shots, enabling you to capture pretty much anything.


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27. Underwater

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Underwater photography is tricky but doable. It is a good idea to take some scuba diving courses so that you feel comfortable when shooting underwater. Diving with someone is also a smart choice, and be sure to learn your equipment above ground.

Underwater, you won’t have perfect visibility and you will need to know where things are within a moment’s notice. When it comes to proper underwater photography, a higher-end GoPro can work nicely, but it will be limited in settings and image quality.

For pro-grade shots, something like the Backscatter Canon 5D Mark IV will work nicely (an underwater camera housing).


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28. Wedding

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Wedding photography is another extremely popular type of photography, especially for freelance photographers. Nearly anyone who gets married wants the occasion documented with high-quality photos. Thus, hiring a wedding photographer is considered one of the biggest parts of the planning process.

There are many things to consider if you are shooting a wedding. You’ll likely need to capture a variety of different shots (like portraits and action shots of people dancing) in multiple lighting situations (outside, in a reception hall, etc.). Having a versatile zoom lens or multiple prime lenses will ensure you have the coverage for each situation.

A 50mm f/1.2 is ideal for getting shots of the bride and groom on their own and to blur the background out. Spacial awareness is important too, and if you don’t have much room to work with, a 24-70 f/2.8 lens is an alternative.


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29. Wildlife

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Wildlife photography can be a risky game if you aren’t careful. The biggest key to safety is to keep your distance and make sure to use long zoom lenses whenever possible. An 18-300mm lens is fine for getting a mixture of your entire environment as well as animals.

If you know you’ll be quite a distance away, then going with a 200-500mm or 80-400mm lens is great. Image stabilization is a must for wildlife because without it, you will likely have blurry photos.


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Picking the Right Type of Photography

Ultimately, what you decide to shoot comes down to personal preference. If you’re the outdoors type, shooting landscape or wildlife photos might be a good fit. If you love music, then maybe concert photography.

You really just need to get yourself out there and experiment with every type of photography you can and decide what feels right for you. There is no right or wrong decision, and experimenting is ones of the reasons why photography is so much fun!

Let us know in the comments below what types of photography you shoot, or if you’re a beginner, what types you’re most interested to try out!

Lifestyle Photography

Lifestyle Photography 101: Everything You Need to Know

Lifestyle Photography 101: Everything You Need to Know

Lifestyle Photography continues to trend in 2018. Authenticity is what the industry is looking for, not just personality. Candid moments and careful planning might seem like an oxymoron, but this is exactly what you need for snapping the best slices of life.

In order to become a successful lifestyle photographer, you need inspiration, the right equipment, and patience. At first glance, the idea of snapping everyday photos of people and places seems like a breeze. What many people miss, in between those “life moments” is the amount of downtime and planning necessary to capture that moment.

If you’re reading this guide to improve your skills at capturing life’s energy, passion, and joy, then you’re in the right place. Everything you need to build a solid foundation as a lifestyle photographer will be discussed in full detail throughout this guide.

We’ll cover the definition of Lifestyle Photography, list photography ideas, cover recommended gear, blogs to follow, and more. Follow along:

What is Lifestyle Photography?

You may have noticed some photographers include themselves in this category, but only photograph still life. Others focus primarily on family photos and candid interactions.

You’ll notice a lot of flexibility as to what is exactly defined as “lifestyle” photography. Take Mark Delong’s portfolio (a lifestyle and celebrity photographer), for example:

mark delong portfoilo

His work blurs the line between catalog photography, travel photography, and lifestyle photography. There is definitely an audience out there seeking this style of photography, it just might not be what you think of when defining the category.

For the sake of this article, we’ll define lifestyle photography as capturing people, places, and things in candid moments. It has to have some sort of human connection to it.

The important part here is to be authentic and not stage anything you shoot.

Lifestyle Photography Ideas

Life happens all around you. It’s your job as a photographer to be in the right place at the right time.

If you’re new to lifestyle photography, then you’ll find that it can be difficult finding subjects. Finding that combination of interesting, exciting, and unexpected is the ultimate goal. Here are a few ideas to consider:

That “Inner-child”

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If you want an environment that is loaded with these three qualities, look for a place where children gather. A playroom, amusement park, or playground are all great places for creativity and expression. Nothing is staged here, just pure unbridled joy and curiosity on display.

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Expect the Unexpected

You shouldn’t set out on a mission to capture any specific moment or interaction. This is especially true for photographing children. What you should do instead is go into your session ready to capture anything.

You can try to prepare for hired photoshoots by taking a survey of the clients, learn about kids’ personalities, life stories, etc. This also works both ways, it’s a good idea to collaborate your photoshoots with parents and young adults. You might be inspired by their ideas—after all, it is about capturing their most precious moments.

Ideally, you should set aside a few hours to get to know your clients. Being able to have a conversation and relax with them will make snapping their pictures easier. You don’t want them to constantly have it in the backs of their minds that you’re there taking to take pictures.

For children, it’s definitely a challenge to sit in the back of their rooms and take candid photos. Toddlers might be a little less concerned with your presence, especially if they’re distracted by an activity, their parents, etc.

Capturing the curiosity and competitiveness from a family trying out something new together is a great idea. Other things like swimming, karaoke, sports events, building furniture, and holidays are always good environments to be a fly on the wall.

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Be Dynamic and Ready

From the start, your camera should be set and ready to shoot. There’s going to be a small window of opportunity when you first arrive where you’ll be able to capture some candid shots before anyone notices. Even if your arrival is planned, you should start out in scout-mode, looking for shots.

Those shots where children are laughing and playing in the background before you approach are timeless. Remember, you don’t want to spend all day looking for good shots, but you also don’t want to rush anything. It might even be worthwhile to plan your photoshoot around a lunch or dinner. This can open up opportunities for you to sit behind and observe meal-prep, conversation, sharing, clean-up, etc.

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Lifestyle Photography Camera Settings

While there are no specific settings to lock yourself into when shooting lifestyle photos, the settings below will help get you started (then, you can tweak from there):

Shutter Speed

If you use a slow shutter speed, you’ll likely end up with a blurry image. That’s why we recommend a fast shutter speed, especially if you’re snapping pictures handheld.

Start with a shutter speed between 1/125 to 1/200 of a second. Your shutter speed will also depend on the sync speed of any flash lighting you are using (many have limitations on how slow or fast they can sync). If you’re trying to capture a fast-moving subject (like a person running or riding a bike) you may need to use a quicker shutter speed (like 1/1000 of a second).

Aperture (F-stop)

Your aperture setting will depend on the lens you are using and what needs to be in focus. If you’re trying to achieve a blurry background, you will want to use a fast aperture (ex. f1.2 to 2.8).

Additionally, if lighting is a concern, a fast aperture can allow you to capture a brighter image (since a fast aperture allows more light to come through the lens)

If you need a wide image to remain in focus, you’ll need to use a slow aperture (ex. f8 to f11).

Experiment with different settings to find the best result.


Ideally, you want to use the lowest ISO setting possible. However, when shooting in a dark environment or even on a cloudy day, you may need to bump up your ISO level to ensure your image is properly exposed.

Increasing your ISO allows you to brighten an image but doing so will add more noise to your image and degrade the quality of the final result.

Some cameras handle higher ISO levels better than others (ex. Less noise in higher settings). As a rough example, though, the image below provides a better look at the lighting increase with each ISO setting as well as the noise added:

iso example


Again, you will need to experiment to find the best results. But with most cameras, you will begin to see noticeable noise at ISO 800 to 1600.

Recommended Gear

These recommendations fall outside of basic gear like your tripod, a nice neck strap, extra batteries, memory cards, etc. Here, we’ll focus on gear that gives you an edge or makes your adjustments easier. Having great lenses and lighting make a world of difference when it comes to lifestyle photography.

Best Lenses for Lifestyle Photography

Prime lenses should be your go-to for lifestyle photography. Prime lenses minimize guesswork and allow for quicker intuitive snaps. Getting impressive depth of field and bokeh on shots is less of a problem. Even outdoor shoots work great with prime lenses.

It’s hard to be a lifestyle photographer without a 50mm prime, for example.

50mm lens


If you’re set up in a home for some play time with kids, TV time with older siblings, or in the kitchen with the parents, you can get amazing depth and background blur that takes any busy details out. This accentuates those candid moments, bringing them to life.

35mm vs 50mm


Wide-Angle Lens

Outside of prime lenses, it’s good to have at least one wide-angle/focus lens (like 10 or 11 to 18mm). This lens makes for great multi-scene captures. If you want to get an entire living room, a cross-section of two rooms, or across a field, this is what you need.

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The image above was taken with a wide-angle lens (Source)

Lighting Equipment Suggestions

Don’t assume that just because you’re going for more authentic shots of your subjects that natural lighting is all you’ll need. We want to capture authentic moments in their best setting.

Don’t look at it as staging an event, look at it as setting the stage for one.

Speed Lights

Speed lights, also called TTL flashes, help control the lighting in spaces that aren’t well-lit or have unreliable lighting. Outdoor spaces are where you’ll need a speed light the most.

ttl flash


Speed lights are also a handy tool to get the perfect amount of backlight for scenes in dark corners. They probably won’t be the best solution for young children trying to play with their toys, of course.

All the major brands have their own that perform the same, but make sure to find one that has tilt and swivel motion.

Light Modifiers

light modifier


There are a number of methods you can go with to modify the harshness or softness of the light in a room. You can use reflectors, scoops, domes, and softboxes. All are made to refocus your light and give you better control.

A traditional lightbox kit can be bought for as low as $50 online.

UV Filters

UV Filters are a must-have for controlling light in outdoor settings. When shooting outdoors, you already have to struggle with exposure levels enough as it is. Throw in the issue with UV exposure and color values and you have two big factors that amateur photographers struggle with everytime they shoot outdoors.

If you’re in open shade, your subjects will have a bluish tint to their whites and neutrals:

photo in shade

The image on the left was take in shade. Notice the blue tint. The image on the right has been color corrected. (Source)

It’s all about how certain materials absorb UV light and reflect it back. Rather than trying to fix all of this in post-production, an aggressive UV filter can balance everything out. This results in a more accurate exposure and proper flash levels.

Don’t forget that you can also apply UV filters to the flash as well. This will require some experimentation to find the best color balance and light for your outdoor shots.

Tips for Taking Better Lifestyle Photos

With a solid setup, you will be equipped to take the best pictures on a technical side. When it comes to being mentally-ready to take these pictures, you have to prepare as well. This means arriving to your photoshoot with the right attitude and mindset.

Lifestyle photography is about being in the moment. This includes you too. Not just your subject.

For example, if your client or project involves capturing morning routines and midday activities. Then, naturally, you would want to be there as a guest. Sit at the table with them, have breakfast, talk with them around the coffee table, etc.

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View your job as more of a documentarian than a photographer trying to snap good pictures. The tips below will help you do just that:

Get Everyone Involved

It’s easy to become content with always sticking in the background. The truth is, though, the most successful approach would be to include your subjects in what you are doing as much as possible. You don’t need to direct them or even suggest what they should be doing.

Just give them a basic overview of what they can expect a day with you will look like. This prevents awkward, tense, or confused energy during your session. Your clients should know what they’re getting and what you will deliver.

Time, Money, and Expectations

Yes, taking pictures as a lifestyle photographer will vary from day to day, but it’s good to have an established base. The client should know how payments will be calculated and how long they can expect the session to go.

Be mindful of scheduling conflicts and the day’s expenses. This is without accounting for potential delays or rescheduling due to uncooperative children, weather, etc. Do your best to convey to the client that this isn’t an exact science and you are flexible.

Being too rigid or cold as a photographer is rarely good for business, let alone as a lifestyle photographer.

Wardrobe and Props

We mentioned how some fabrics can interact with the sun’s UV rays outside. Choosing clothes for a photoshoot should be two-parts client’s decision and one-part the photographer’s decision. That is, you should only be there for refining or providing suggestions to help bring out their best qualities.

Not many clients will understand things like color theory and how to play with lighting, so be their guide.

Watch the Background/Backdrop

With all the attention on what’s happening in front of you, it can be easy to forget what is hidden in the background. Depth of field can help you avoid unattractive clutter or business from TVs or patterns. Keep your position in mind when waiting for a great moment to capture.

If there are no flat or blank surfaces behind your subjects, try going for a top-down or bottom-up view. These are fun angles when doing lifestyle photos because they emphasize the third person POV (either a short or tall person looking over).

Smile and Enjoy Life!

It’s hard to capture all the great moments around you when you are operating like a technical robot. It shows up in your photos too. If you’re in the mix, laughing, playing, and having fun with your clients, they will forget about the camera. The best shots are made when eye contact and genuine emotion is recorded.

It doesn’t matter if you’re:

  1. On a luxury yacht shooting young people diving into a pool.
  2. In front of a playpen getting the wide-eyed curiosity of a toddler who just stacked up a group of blocks.
  3. At a wedding manning a tripod in silence, panning to capture all the emotions as it proceeds.

You have to be present in the moment to truly capture it.

It’s your job as a photographer to make your clients look good, but it’s also your job to turn them into time-travelers. With your photos, they can return to that exact moment in their life and relive it all over again.

Lifestyle Photography Blogs to Check Out

We want to include some useful resources that you can refer to whenever you’re stuck, uninspired, or looking for the next big step as a photographer. These blogs and specific articles are great references to check on when shooting lifestyle photography:

Get Out There & Start Shooting Lifestyle Photos!

As with everything, practice makes perfect. When it comes to lifestyle photography, practice helps you learn the best settings to use and how to prepare. It may also come with a side of the “feels” or potential life-long connections.

Falling in love with your subjects (in a platonic way, of course) is easy when your job is just an extension of your passion.

Product Photography Ideas

10 Product Photography Ideas to Copy for Your Next Shoot

10 Product Photography Ideas to Copy for Your Next Shoot

Shooting on a white background doesn’t always have the “go to” for product photography. You should aim to mix it up a bit and consider the uses of your product photography (will the images be used for an e-commerce shop, advertising, or social media?).

To help you come up with some ideas for your next shoot and inspire your creativity, we’ve put together this list of 10 product photography ideas for you to try out. Give them a look, and if you have any of your own ideas, leave them in the comments below to help out the rest of our community here on Grid50.

Shoot on a White Background

I know! We just said there are other options besides shooting on a white background. But, we at least need to list the most obvious and most popular choice for product photography.

Shooting on a wide background is the “go to” choice for most photographers capturing products for an Amazon shop or an e-commerce website. The white background allows the product to stand out and ensures the background is not distracting.

There are many different ways to shoot against a white background. Keep in mind, though, all methods will still require a bit of editing. Even when shooting against a well-lit white background, the background will not be completely white in the final image. The images levels will need to be brought up in post.

Here’s the basic process for shooting against a white background:

  • Set up the white background. You can do this by:
    • Using a photo lightbox. These are relatively cheap and work for smaller products.
    • Using a white muslin or paper backdrop. A white seamless paper backdrop is usually best but it can be tough to store.
    • Using white foam board. This can be purchased for under $10 from Walmart.
    • Using a white piece of paper. If the product is small, you may even be able to get away with just a few sheets of paper.
  • Set your camera’s settings manually. When adjusting your settings, you should:
    • Set your camera’s ISO as low as possible. This will reduce grain in your images.
    • Set your exposure manually. Make sure your histogram shows that the white or black levels are not blown out.
    • Use a tripod. More than likely, you’ll need to shoot at a low shutter speed which will result in a blurry image if you’re shooting handheld. Using a tripod will eliminate this problem.
  • Shoot your image
  • Edit the image using Lightroom, Photoshop, or a similar editing program. For some shots, you may just be able to bring up the levels of the image but for others, you may need to remove the background completely and replace it.


White Background Product Photography Example

Image source: New Balance

White Background Product Photography Example

Image Source: Rudy’s Barbershop

Shoot on a Colored Background

Shooting on a colored background can not only give you a different look but it can make editing easier when shooting lighter products. Let’s say you’re shooting a light product such as a white t-shirt and you want to replace the background completely.

Shooting this on a white background and editing it later will be difficult since the white shirt will blend into the background. You will have to spend a lot of time manually selecting the product in order to delete the background.

A workaround can be to actually shoot on a colored background such as a light tan or gray background. Bright green backgrounds are often used for this purpose, but when shooting light objects, especially white clothing, it can cast a green hue onto the product which can be difficult to remove later.

However, by shooting on a  light tan background, it’s much easier to remove the background in Photoshop. You can use “Select Color Range” to select the tan background and remove it that way. Or, if you’re simply using the selector tool, the tool will have a much easier time discerning the background from the product making it easier to select.


Colored Background Product Photography Example

Image Source: Glamour

Colored Background Product Photography Example

Image Source;: Wired

Shoot in an Organic Setting

Now, we’re moving beyond the standard e-commerce shop look. In this idea, you would actually place the product in an organic setting as it might be seen. This can be great for additional images on a product listing or for use on social media or in advertising.

An example might be shooting a bottle of shampoo in the bathroom.


Organic Setting Product Photography Example

Image Source: Kicks on Fire

Organic Setting Product Photography Example

Image Source: 1800 Vodka

Use Props or Add in Complementary Products

Going right along with the idea above, you can also add some props to the frame. If again you’re shooting a shampoo bottle, you might throw in a colorful shower cap, bath bombs, or any other products you might see in the bathroom.

You don’t want to distract from the product but you want to set that stage a bit. On top of using props to create a unique shot, you may use the opportunity to subtly add in complementary products.

For example, with our shampoo bottle, if this company also sells hair conditioner or body wash, you may add those to the background of the image.


Product Photography Example

Image Source: Amazon

Product Photography Example

Image Source: Bacardi

Shoot All Products at Once

While this idea won’t work for every company’s line up of products, this type of shot can be great for use on a company’s website (such as the featured image on the homepage), for advertising purposes, or on social media.

The idea is to shoot a group of products all in one shot. For example, if you’re shooting a line of scarves, you could lay the scarves one over another and shoot them in a horizontal, landscape shot. If you’re shooting a line of bathroom products, you could line all of the products up in a “v-shaped” line on the bathroom counter.

This idea is great for showing off product lines.


Product Photography Example

Image Source: Dove

Product Photography Example

Image Source: Things Remembered

In-Use Product Shot

Another idea is to capture the product in use. For example, if you’re hired to shoot a bottle of lotion, you may shoot someone applying it to their leg. If it’s a pair of headphones, you may shoot someone sitting on a couch and listening to music with the headphones.

These are great opportunities to showcase products in advertising and for posting on social media.


In-Use Product photography Example

Image Source: New Balance

In-Use Product photography Example

Image Source:

Shoot Different Angles

This might seem like an obvious one, but often companies only shoot products straight on. If you’re hired for a job, you should recommend the company to take multiple angles of their products. Potential customers often want to inspect the product as closely as possible and having multiple different angles will allow them to do that.

Consider what aspects of the product are important to capture. For example, photographing the side of a lotion bottle may not be necessary but photographing the side of a phone would be (since it would show help show the thickness of the phone and the button placement).


Different Angles Product Photography Example

Image Source: Autonomous

Different Angles Product Photography Example

Image Source: Amazon

Shoot Close-Up or Macro Shots

Running right along with the idea above on shooting multiple angles, make sure to shoot close-ups as well. This gives you the opportunity to really show off the fine detail of the product.

For example, on a pair of jeans, you might take a close up of the pocket stitching, the pants zipper, or the button.


Close-Up Product Photography Example

Image Source: The Jeans Blog

Close-Up Product Photography Example

Image Source: Odyssey

Take a 360 Degree Shot

360-degree photography is becoming more and more popular. Having a 360-degree image allow potential customers to really inspect the product and view from any angle.

In most cases, you will need a rotating table to do this type of photography. Here’s a helpful video to show you how to take 360-degree photos:

Take a Ghost Shot

This type of shot can work well for clothing. You will need a mannequin or a model to do it. The idea is to shoot the product, in this case, let’s say a t-shirt that is placed on the mannequin.

To create this shot, you would set the lighting and shoot the image as normal but later in editing, you would remove the mannequin from the image. This would leave just the shirt so it’s “floating” in the image.

It also gives the clothing a more “3D” look and overall it more eye-catching.



Ghost Product Photography Example

Image Source: Uniqlo

Ghost Product Photography Example

Image Source: Amazon

Now, it’s your turn. We want to hear your ideas for shooting product photography. Leave them in the comments below!

The Best Place to Sell Used Camera Equipment

The Best Places to Sell Used Camera Equipment

The Best Places to Sell Used Camera Equipment

Looking to get rid of some of your used camera equipment but still get the most amount of money for it? Then, you’re in the right place.

In the post, we’ll cover some of the best (and worst) places to sell your used gear so you know where to get the most back for your equipment and which places to avoid. So, let’s right into it.

Sell Your Camera Gear at These Places to Get the Most Money:


Grid50 is a marketplace website catered specifically for photography and videography people. The site lists all different kinds of camera equipment including lenses, lighting, DSLRs, pro video cameras, and more.

It’s similar to eBay in that people can list their own used or new equipment and browse hundreds of listings of equipment to buy from.

However, unlike eBay, you’ll keep a lot more of your money when you sell your gear on Grid50.

Whereas eBay charges 10% of the final sale value, Grid50 only charges 3.5%. So if you sold a camera lens for $100, eBay would take $10 of that sale. Grid50 would only take $3.50.

grid50 screenshot

This can add up when you list an expensive piece of gear (and we all know how expensive camera gear can be) or when you sell multiple items. You’ll keep a lot more of your money when you list and sell on Grid50.

Additionally, since it’s marketplace website built specifically for photographer and videographers, there’s likely a good chance there’s someone looking for exactly what you’re selling. In other words, there is a target market of potential buyers and you’re not limited to selling to only a specific geographical area as you are with a site like Craigslist.


Craigslist can sometimes get a bad rap. While there have been some horror stories from people meeting on Craigslist, these are rare and Craigslist still remains one of the best places to buy and sell camera equipment.

If you’re worried about meeting someone in person, just make sure to meet in a public place. If you’re buying or selling an expensive item, bring a friend or two along and keep your money in your car at first.

Personally, I’ve bought and sold over 100 items on Craigslist and I have never had a problem.

Probably the biggest advantage of Craigslist is that there are no listing or selling fees. So you’ll keep 100% of your sale.

In addition, with Craigslist you don’t have to worry about shipping the item. Which in a lot of cases, can be more convenient than shipping. You can simply meet up with the potential buyer to sell your gear.

Lastly, you won’t have to deal with Paypal transaction fees as you would if you sold your gear on Grid50 or eBay (Paypal charges $0.30 + 2.9% of the total sale value on transactions).

Avoid Selling Your Camera Gear at These Places


eBay can be a great place to sell your gear if you want to get rid of it fast since the marketplace website has such a large number of users.

However, if you want to make the most amount of money from your sale, then you should avoid eBay.

As mentioned above, eBay charges 10% of the total sale fee. So if you sell an item for $100, eBay will take $10. If you sell something for $1,000, they will take $100. It should be noted, however, they do have a max fee of $750. So if you sell a really expensive item, the most you will be charged is $750.

ebay listing fees

That is still a lot of money, though, and it adds up when you sell expensive items or list multiple pieces of gear. The large percentage that eBay takes from your sale could be money invested into higher-quality camera gear, additional lenses, etc.

Your Local Camera Store, KEH, B&H, or Adorama

All of these places are camera stores that will buy your used camera equipment, then turn around and resell it for a profit.

In order for any of these places to make a profit, they have to buy your gear at a low enough price point to ensure they can resell it and still make a decent enough profit for it to be worth their time and investment (they often will clean the equipment afterwards, take quality pictures, list the item online, and keep it in their inventory until the item sells). There’s also a certain amount of risk if they can’t sell the item.

This concept means that you won’t get top dollar for your equipment from any of these places. Therefore, you can expect to earn about half of what the used value of your equipment is worth. So if you could sell your used camera for $500 on eBay or Grid50, you might get one of these places to give around $250. Of course, it varies by each store.

If you need to get rid of your gear fast, either because you need the money right away or you don’t want to hold onto the equipment until it sells, then these places are probably your best bet.

But, if you want to get the most money back from selling your used camera equipment, these places should be avoided.

Tips for Selling Your Used Camera Gear

Include the Original Box

When listing your camera gear online, if you have the original box it came in, make sure to include that in the item listing and even include a picture of the box.

Listings that include the original box tend to sell more quickly (and for a higher price) because it shows the owner is organized and likely took good care of their equipment. The original box may also be helpful to the new owner in terms of warranty information.

Clean Your Gear

Clean up your gear as best as possible. If you’re selling a camera lens, make sure to wipe the glass clean. If you’re selling a camera body, try to clean any dust and debris out from the cracks. It only takes a few minutes but it will make your listing more attractive to potential buyers.

Take Quality Pictures

It might seem obvious, especially to many of you who are photographers, but taking the extra time to take a few quality images of the gear you’re selling can help it to sell more quickly. Buyers appreciate when there are a lot of detailed pictures. It puts any worries at ease that there may be damage to the item.

While many of us don’t have a professional studio, there are still a few things you can do at home to capture quality photos. First, make sure the image is well light with natural lighting. You can do this by snapping pictures near a well-exposed window.

Next, make sure the image background is a solid color and free from clutter. Messy backgrounds can distract the buyer and they may not click on your listing.

Lastly, take multiple pictures from different angles. This will give buyers the chance to really inspect the item. If there are any scratches or other damage to the item, make sure to include those so they buyer knows what to expect.

Be Detailed & Honest

It will do you no good to leave out any important details about the condition of your gear. The buyer may receive an item that wasn’t properly describer and you’ll then be in a dispute over the item. Which will likely result in a return and refund of their money.

To make sure the buyer knows exactly what they are getting, be as detailed as possible about the item you’re listing. If there’s something wrong with it, just be honest. State that X feature doesn’t work or there is a large scratch on Y.

In conclusion, if you want to get the most from your used camera equipment, try selling it on Craigslist or listing your gear on Grid50. Signing up for Grid50 is free and you are only charged when and if the item sells.

We hope this post was helpful to you, and if you have any tips for selling used camera equipment, leave them in the comments below. We’d love to hear them!