Category: General Photography

Photography Jobs

The 25+ Best Places To Find Photography Jobs

The 25+ Best Places To Find Photography Jobs

Turning your photography into a career can seem like a daunting task, but we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide of the best places to find photography gigs and jobs to help make the process easier. Whether you want to explore full-time or freelance options, we’ve got you covered:

Full-Time Job Boards

Finding a full-time photography job can take the form of many different positions, such as an in-house photographer for marketing companies, photojournalist, or content creation positions. Most of these job boards offer full-time, part-time, and freelance positions, as well as have resources to help you make the most out of your search.

Be sure to get creative with your search, and use keywords that describe the type of position you’re looking for. Exploring these job boards will help you discover what type of positions are open, so you can start preparing for your photography career.

1. Get Photography Jobs

getphotographyjobs.com

Start your search with Get Photography Jobs where you can find industry specific jobs. Get Photography Jobs operates like a typical job board, allowing you to search by keyword, location, or browse by an entire state. This site has an email newsletter that can send you jobs based on your preferences as they are listed, and their resources section is full of great sites for photography tips and tricks.

2. Indeed

indeed.com

Indeed is a comprehensive job board that allows you to search by keyword and location, as well as job type like full-time, part-time, remote, and freelance. While Indeed is not specific to photographers, it does have a lot of options, and it’s updated constantly.

Users have the option to apply through job links as a guest, or to create an account that saves their resume for quick applying. Indeed also offers email services that provide updates on each application’s status, and sends similar job postings when they come up.

3. Glassdoor

glassdoor.com

Glassdoor is a comprehensive job board aimed at helping people get started in their careers, as well as find a good company fit. Glassdoor allows users to see company reviews and statistics, which can help users determine if a company will be a good fit before applying.

Glassdoor utilizes email to send job suggestions when new positions are posted, and to send a newsletter with resources on helping find the perfect career. To get started with Glassdoor, simply make an account and start searching for photography jobs in your area.

4. ZipRecruiter

ziprecruiter.com

ZipRecruiter makes searching for full-time positions easy by allowing users to save their resume, to make applying to multiple jobs quick and simple. ZipRecruiter also offers resources for job hunters to find the average salary for positions in each field, and can be used to search for all kinds of employment like full-time, part-time, and freelance work.

5. SimplyHired

simplyhired.com

SimplyHired is a great search engine for anyone seeking full-time and part-time positions. SimplyHired allows users to search for jobs in any category, as well as in any location. To utilize this source for photography jobs use keywords that describe what type of position you’re looking for, i.e. real estate photography, content photography.

SimplyHired also has an easy-to-use resume builder on their site, which makes it easy to tailor your resume to specific job postings when needed.

6. Job.com

job.com

Job works like an automated recruiting company, and uses AI (artificial intelligence) to match your resume to jobs that will be a good fit for you. This is a great way to find multiple jobs that you’re qualified for quickly, and it can help cut down on the job search time.

Instead of sifting through job postings, Job is great for those with a strong resume that shows off their photography skills and areas of expertise.

7. LinkedIn

linkedin.com

LinkedIn doubles as a job board and social media platform where you can combine the power of networking to your photography job search. Apply to jobs posted on LinkedIn using your resume and portfolio, and at the same time, grow your professional network to discover freelancing or full-time gigs with companies you follow. LinkedIn also allows you to search professionals, chat with employees, and create organic connections with employers, so you can find the best fit for you.

Freelancing Gigs

Freelance gigs are a great way to find photography work and help diversify your creative portfolio. Freelance jobs can be one-off gigs or recurring positions with a company, but they are usually inconsistent.

Starting the search for freelance work can be intimidating, but the following sites are full of options and resources to help you get started.

8. Flexjobs

Flexjobs is a job search engine that specializes in remote, or work-from-home, settings. While Flexjobs offers options in part-time, full-time, and freelance, it is a great place to find freelance gigs that you can do without going into an office setting. Since it emphasizes work that can be done remotely or on a flexible schedule, Flexjobs is a great website to find photography gigs.

9. Freelanced

freelanced.com

Freelanced is a social network designed to help connect freelancers with gigs and opportunities. This site is great for creating a profile and connecting with professionals in your area, as well as sifting through job postings to find opportunities. Freelanced also enables you to post your portfolio and rate, so employers can find your information while searching for candidates.

10. People Per Hour

peopleperhour.com

To use People Per Hour, freelancers can navigate through the application process to become a certified People Per Hour freelancer. Upon application acceptance, freelancers can be searched by potential employers, as well as gain access to job postings on the platform.

People Per Hour is a great site for finding gigs that match your specific skill set, and their application process helps employers get to know more about you before hiring.

11. Upwork

upwork.com

Upwork is a site that does it all for freelancers. It handles the job process from start to finish, including hiring, sending files, messaging with employers, and getting paid. This website is great for freelancers who want to know more about the employer, and want to be able to do everything on one platform.

Upwork does charge a service fee, though, so it’s important to keep this in mind when using this platform.

12. Fiverr

Fiverr is a platform dedicated to freelancers where you start by setting up a “gig” for users to search and find the service(s) you offer. Users can hire you for a specific gig you create, and all billing is done through Fiverr.

Fiverr does charge a 20% fee, however, they do offer resources to help with your professional development. Fiverr is great for photographers who want to get matched with buyers seeking specific skills.

13. Craigslist

craigslist.com

Just like the original newspaper classifieds, Craigslist is a great source for finding freelance photography gigs. Craigslist is super easy to navigate, and you can scroll through all the postings that come up in the photography jobs section.

Since Craigslist has been around for a while, it is typically a solid resource for photographers to find one-off gigs and jobs. However, it is important to use Craigslist with caution, and never share personal information if a job seems too good to be true.

14. JournalismJobs

JournalismJobs is a site specifically for those wanting to work in the journalism industry, and there are tons of photo opportunities in this field. Not all JournalismJobs postings are for freelancers, but a lot of the journalism industry is fueled by freelance work, so it is a great place to start looking for these types of gigs.

15. The Creative Loft

thecreativeloft.com

The Creative Loft is a job board dedicated to listing jobs in creative fields, which makes it a great choice for photographers who are looking for freelance or full-time work. This site enables users to create a public profile, save preferences, and emails users new listings that fit their career needs.

16. GigBucks

gigbucks.com

GigBucks is all about helping you land your next micro job, which is a great way to fuel your photography side hustle. The job board specializes in short-terms jobs/gigs that range between $5-$50. This platform is a bit different than others listed here, since it allows posters to share their work and prices for buyers to easily find.

17. GoLance

golance.com

GoLance is a platform that helps connect buyers with freelancers, while also allowing freelancers to browse different job listings. Simply create a profile and then you’re ready to start your job search! GoLance also has great resources like the goMeter Time Tracker and enhanced work diary, so you can get ahead on all of your gigs.

18. Guru

guru.com

Guru is a freelance job board that allows freelancers to contact employers and send quotes for specific job requests. This platform is great for photographers who have a set rate, and it is an easy way to find side gigs or recurring freelance jobs. Guru also has a workroom feature that allows users to collaborate with other workers, and to get paid through their platform once the job is complete.

19. Workhoppers

workhoppers.com

Workhoppers does the matching for you when it comes to searching for jobs. Fill out your profile, and you’ll be on your way to receiving customized job listings that best fit your profile skills.

This is great for photographers who work in specific settings like weddings or sports, as well as for photographers with other skills like content creation or social media experience. Best of all, Workhoppers is a completely free service!

20. Facebook

facebook.com

The social media giant, Facebook, is not only a great palace to connect with friends, but it can also be a great resource to help photographers find freelance work. There are Facebook groups dedicated to job listings for freelancers, or you can post your own skills into a status for anyone in your circle to see.

Similar to Craigslist or any other classifieds platform, it is important to exercise caution when looking at jobs or opportunities on social media, but when used correctly, Facebook is a great way to connect for freelancing gigs.

Stock Image Contributors

Another way to turn your photography into a job is to sell your photos to stock websites. Each website has its own way of hiring and paying photographers, but most of them work off of royalties, so the more your images are used, the more money you can make.

21. Getty Images

Getty Images is a stock image website that pays contributors through royalties. To apply, you can download the app and upload your sample images to be accepted by the website. Once accepted, you can check out the creative briefs by Getty Images and start uploading content that users are looking for. The more relevant your photos are, the more money you can make.

22. Shutterstock

shutterstock.com

Shutterstock allows you to upload your work and get paid every time your content is downloaded, and you can make even more money by referring contributors and customers. Shutterstock is a great platform for working on your professional development because they have tons of resources to help you succeed in selling your work. Shutterstock has easy to use tools on their site, so you can track your earnings and strategize to make your work even better.

23. DepositPhotos

depositphotos.com

DepositPhotos uses an application process to be sure your photos meet their requirements, and they pay on a commission-base. After being accepted as a contributor, you can start uploading your work and making money each time your images are downloaded. DepositPhotos allows you to contribute to multiple stock photo websites, as long as you aren’t an Exclusive Author for their site, which means you can start racking up your sales in stock photos.

Real Estate Photography Jobs

Another creative way to make money from your photography is to get started as a real estate photographer. While a lot of real estate photography is freelance, there are some sites that look for contributors and are easy for you to get in contact with. Real Estate photography requires some practice and special equipment, but once you have some experience, you’ll be ready to turn your skills into freelance gigs.

24. Obeo

obeo.com

Obeo has an application process that helps photographers partner with them to shoot their real estate listings. Once your application is accepted, you can set your own schedule and conduct shoots on your own time, which makes it a great platform for those seeking flexibility in their schedule. Obeo allows you to work as little or as much as you want, so your freelancing can be seen as a side gig or closer to a full-time job depending on your needs.

25. RocketPhoto

rocketphoto.com

RocketPhoto allows you to create a profile, so realtors can find you and book you for their photography needs. You also have full ability to set your own pricing and schedule. It’s free to create a profile on RocketPhoto, and they even offer upgrades to access their professional development tools to help you grow your business and expand your contacts.

26. Zillow

zillow.com

Zillow is one of the biggest real estate platforms, so there is a lot of opportunity when photographing real estate properties for them. You can apply to become a certified Zillow photographer, and their program offers training that will help you succeed in the field. Once accepted as one of their contributors and you complete the training, you’ll be on your way to taking jobs and adding to your freelance lineup.

Whether you’re looking for a full-time, part-time, or even freelance gig, there is a world of opportunity out there to turn your photography into a money-making venture to support your goals as a photographer. Utilizing the job boards in this article will help you get started, but never stop improving your skills and upgrading your gear to get the most out of your abilities!

To stay in tune with the best tips and guides on photography, make sure to check out the Grid50 resources area, and if you’re looking to pick up some new gear, Grid50’s marketplace is the go-to place to find the best deals on new and used photography equipment!

What It's Like Being a Woman Photographer

What It’s Like Being a Woman Photographer: Breaking Into an Industry in 2020

What It’s Like Being a Woman Photographer: Breaking Into an Industry in 2020

In this article, we hear from several female photographers on their perspective and experience getting started and working in the mostly male-dominated, photography industry.

Ever since I was a toddler, I had a fixation with cameras and the stories they capture. As a
young girl, I took photos of my dolls and labeled them “professional portrait sessions”. At age sixteen, I captured portraits of friends and uploaded them to social media. My business blossomed and slowly snowballed into a career.

Breaking into the portrait industry has taught me a lot about my strengths and weaknesses
as a woman in the field. While there have been some struggles, there are also the opportunities to tune into natural gifts. The challenges can be heavy but the rewards always outweigh them. This article touches the tip of the iceberg of my experiences as a portrait photographer.

The Challenges of Being a Woman Photographer

The male-dominated field involves technology and knowledge of equipment. I have been
quizzed on the spot in condescending ways. I often feel as if I have something to prove.

Demeaning and Derogatory Comments

Experts have gone straight to critiquing flaws in my skillset or composition without giving the perspective a second thought. I once took my camera to the shop to check if a lens was broken or just needed calibration. The man helping me fiddled with my camera then said “You have it set to manual? That’s surprising.”

Photography is an art and art is subjective. This disadvantage in the field stems from not
only having more male professionals but a saturated male audience.

I have also received comments stating, “You’re sure you don’t want a career in front of the
camera?” Even if they had complimentary intentions, it’s disrespectful and belittling to my work. The same context of telling a woman she should smile more.

Sometimes I feel guilty for wanting to get into high fashion or editorial work because I
don’t want to contribute to the unhealthy beauty standards of women. I’ve dipped my toes in the modeling industry from both sides of the lens and I’ve experienced the ridiculous practices they expect from women to maintain shape/size.

I have reached a crossroads by not wanting to contribute to the negative but I’m also very allured by the creativity and boldness of the fashion and beauty industry.

Many of the other women photographers we interviewed for this piece also have received demeaning and derogatory comments when working in the field. Here are just a few of their responses:

“As with any other job, being a female in a male dominated industry can be a little challenging in the way that we are not taken as seriously as our male counterparts. It is definitely something that can be overcome and is getting better every day with more and more female photographers getting out there and showing their talents.”

Tina Butera
Lifestyle, Family, & Portrait Photographer at Tina Butera Photography

“I think the biggest con of being a female photographer, particularly in New Hampshire which has a largely male corporate workforce, is just not being taken seriously.”

Kelly McCaskill
Owner & Lead Photographer at Ridgelight Studio

“Being a woman has made me have to work even harder to prove myself. There have been times people have assumed on shoots that I am a photo assistant and not the principal photographer. In the past, I even kept my photo off my website so prospective clients could only judge me on my work.”

Agnes Lopez
Food, Lifestyle, & Commercial Photographer at Agnes Lopez Photography

“I faced a lot of discredit even when I have explained I have won more than 50 international awards. Female aren’t expected to succeed, at least not in a market dominated by men…My most negative experience was when a guest stood up to me during the reception and simply asked me ‘Do you want to see my d*ck?’ in the most creepy way.

I simply left him waiting for my answer and ignored him the rest of the evening. He was the groom’s cousin and even had a speech after that. I really really hesitated to let the couple know but he never talked to me again so I didn’t.”

Amber
Adventure Elopement Photographer at Zephyr & Luna

“It doesn’t matter whether I am behind the camera or in front of it when I am modeling for my content, I have been catcalled hundreds of times almost for every photoshoot I have done outdoors. Street harassment is never a compliment and it also gives me a strong feeling that female photographers aren’t taken seriously as professionals when they are out there doing the hard work.

The most outrageous experience I had happened when my friend and I were shooting a campaign on Parisian streets a couple of years ago. When the cat-calling ended with us being spit on and cussed out by a couple of men who were denied to be a part of our ‘sweet lady shooting’.

It ruined our entire day and the most disappointing part was that we felt helpless, as even when police arrived, those guys were gone and the police just asked us to chill, because it did not constitute a crime that needed to be reported. Unfortunately, for some people, female photographers with cameras are just girls playing games that can be caught off guard and objectified at any time.”

Katie One
Fashion Photographer & Blogger at KatieOne.com

Being a “Bitch”

Another challenge faced is on the frontlines of business. Young girls have been raised with learned politeness that has clashed with running my business. People attempt to demand extra inconveniences of my effort and time. Friendliness can be mistaken for an appeasing personality. When I am stern and professional, I am “bitchy” or “bossy”.

It took awhile for me to learn and accept that I am the boss. I use my discretion to decide who I would like to work with. Entitled clients are not worth it. People that disrespect my prices and time are not the clients I want. In addition to entitlement, I have had blatant fraud artists attempt to scam me with counterfeit cashier’s checks.

Here is an example of the same scam artist, using a terrible script (it’s the misspelling of “wedding” that gives him/her away):

Test Messages

Fear of Safety

The most extreme weakness for being a woman in the portrait photography industry is fearing for my safety.

In severe cases, I have felt very vulnerable. I have received “queries” from men to photograph them nude. I have experienced attempts to lure me to isolate areas, offering me a significant amount more than my listed rates. I immediately deleted the more disturbing emails because they caused me distress, reminding me of a horrifying experience I had as a teenager on a photoshoot.

Here are a few of the leads:

Clients Text Messages

When I decline to travel to their home, they become upset with me. I’ve been called terrible names and threatened when I decline or choose not to reply. I’ve been told to “eat a cup of sh*t, you stupid f*ck” after refusing to take nude photos of a man.

Being a woman in general, I’m always taking into account to not meet people in isolated areas, especially men. This influences the hesitation I feel to someday invest in my own studio because it would be a private, personal setting. I fear being mugged of my equipment, assaulted, kidnapped, or killed because I am a one-woman show, freelance photographer.

The Pros of Being a Woman Photographer

Woman Posing for Photo

Photo Credit: Madison Stringfellow

Enough with the doom and gloom, there are many advantages to being a woman in photography. For example, models often seem more eager to work with me and trusting of my motives.

In Los Angeles, there is a community “blacklist” consisting of (mostly) male photographers that have been reported for sexual harassment and/or exploitation. This list exists within the social media community, typically circulated via Facebook groups. Woman to woman there is a general understanding that I am creating to create, not to sexualize.

Another advantage is the neurology of a woman’s brain. Our wiring is designed to be more active than a male brain, always scanning for details and assessing emotions (Different Brains, Different Behaviors: Why Women Lead Differently Than Men, 2017). I will immediately notice anything from a hair tie around someone’s wrist to a traffic cone in the distant background. I can easily connect with my subject and deliver a portrait that captures raw feelings.

Women tend to have a natural fashion sense and that helps when clients want input/opinions on coordinating outfits. We can be more intuitive to beauty, especially features of other women. I can fix hair or give facial instructions to realign a subject’s expression.

Girl with hat

Photo Credit: Madison Stringfellow

I empathize with wanting to look the best you can. Women are our own worst critics. We often notice other aspects of beauty such as hair, eye expressions, and smiles. Whereas men tend to notice body features and their appearance first. I have worked with male photographers that have delivered me images of my face mid expression change, but my cleavage was bulging out. I asked myself if they even looked at my face when editing.

Men and women see the world differently. A woman’s work can manifest from feminine
energy and opposite perspectives. I personally don’t take anything at face value which leaves me constantly looking for a deeper message. This encourages visual storytelling about lives through portraiture. I place more poignant value on candid photographs as opposed to stills.

Women Holding baby

Photo Credit: Madison Stringfellow

Women have been recorded to have stronger emotional skills than men (Are Women More Emotionally Intelligent Than Men?, 2011) which helps in connecting to people on an empathetic level.

Agnes Lopez, a food, lifestyle, and commercial photographer, shares a similar viewpoint based on an unfortunately poor experience she had working with a male photographer:

“I used to work as a wardrobe stylist for several stock photography companies before I became a photographer. So I have worked with a lot of male photographers in the industry. I remember working on a shoot and the photographer got really frustrated with the young model. She started to cry and the photographer looked over to me to help calm her down and get her to do what he needed her to do.

I thought to myself, how can you get a good picture of someone if they are terrified of you. I would always observe the photographers and would think how I would do things differently or even better, haha. So I decided to pursue photography myself.”

One of my favorite parts about photography is the people I meet, along the opportunities I stumble upon. I’ve worked with minor celebrities and clients that have become close friends. I tend to focus on humanity in my work before technicalities.

The road with photography is infinite. It can range from suburban portrait photography,
high fashion photography, celebrity photography, travel photography, brand photography, photojournalism, activism, etc. It is very empowering to be a creator and have my work appreciated and acknowledged. I hope to someday create a platform I can use to raise awareness and encourage progression.

Girl Holding a dog

Photo Credit: Madison Stringfellow

The best thing about photography is there is no cap to growth. Technology development is accelerating and creativity is limitless. My advice to anyone working in photography is to never be an expert. Don’t bind yourself to the idea that you have mastered the skill. Always practice, learn, experiment and improve. Always innovate. Always create!

As Katie One, a fashion photographer and blogger, puts it: “There is always someone to doubt you, to think that you are not a ‘serious’ photographer and think of you as ‘a girl that plays with a camera’ but that should never get you. You are the boss and you should always find a way to do what you love the most.

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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

27 1

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)

18hyrm0oydk9ojpg

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

DIY Camera Hack 06

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.