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  • 5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead

    You probably know a few professional photographers, and you’ve undoubtedly found them to be an invaluable fount of information. However, there are a few questions that beginners commonly ask that they secretly despise. Let’s take a look at five of those questions, and what you can ask instead.

    #1 – Which camera should I get?

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead - small Sony camera

    You’re just starting out with photography. You’ve discovered your creative eye through your phone, and you’re looking to get serious. Photography sounds like a fun hobby – it gets you outside and allows you to share your unique view of the world with others.

    Perhaps you have some friends who are also photographers, and you don’t want to be left out when they start getting excited about apertures and bokeh. So where do you begin? You ask which camera you should buy, right? Wrong!

    Why pros hate this question

    Pros hate this question because it’s too vague. There are so many cameras out there, and they’re all designed to cater to specific needs. A camera is a very personal thing – much like a car – so others may find it difficult to advise your purchase.

    A pigeon judges the tourist with a camera in a city park.

    Do you want to shoot stunning stars at night (which would benefit from a full-frame camera), or do you want to build your fashion Instagram account? Are you looking to photograph wildlife (where a cropped sensor might come in handy), or are you interested in portraiture?  Will you be traveling a lot and need something small and portable (mirrorless)?  What is your budget? These all come into play choosing a camera.

    It also depends greatly on your experience. If you’ve never played with f-stops, ISO, and shutter speeds, then any entry-level camera that teaches you these things will serve you well. Practice with the fundamentals of photography, learn what you enjoy shooting, and get more familiar with what all the features actually mean.  Then you can make a much more informed decision or ask more directed questions.

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead - photo of a bunch of cameras and lenses

    What to ask instead

    Do a little research first in order to understand your own needs. Narrow down the type of photography that interests you, and identify the features that are most important to you. Use Google! Armed with this knowledge, you can then confidently approach a pro (preferably one who does the kind of photography what you’d like to shoot, as they’ll be more knowledgeable and helpful to you) and ask specifics to help narrow your choices.

    Here are some examples of good questions to ask:

    • I really want to shoot the Milky Way, but I can’t afford a full-frame camera. Do you know of a less-expensive model that does well in low light?
    • I want a super compact camera for my vacations that can take better snapshots than my phone. It would be great if it also has built-in wireless so I can upload photos on the go. What would you recommend?
    • I get a lot of beautiful birds in my backyard. I’d love a better camera to capture them and perhaps some of the flowers in my garden. Can you suggest a basic camera, hopefully, one with a flip-out LCD screen?

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead - red leaves

    Bonus tip

    Rent! Just like a test drive, you can easily rent cameras, lenses, and accessories from your local camera shop to try out equipment and find what you really like before you invest the big bucks. Many shops even have weekend deals (pick up on Friday, return on Monday) at very affordable prices ($20-100 range).

    #2 – Which is better: Canon or Nikon?

    So now you’ve narrowed down the type of photography you wish to pursue, and you even have a few ideas of camera models that might be good for that. As you continue to research, however, you see options from Canon and Nikon. But which is better?

    Why pros hate this question

    Pros hate this question because it’s a silly competition the really needn’t exist. Which is better, Toyota or Honda? Marvel or DC? Deep dish or thin crust?

    “Better” is such a subjective term, and asking this question really won’t give you a good answer. If you ask this of several photographers, you’re likely to get divided opinions, and this won’t help you in your final decision. Many photographers started with one brand, and they’ve simply stuck with it as it’s too expensive to switch (most brands are also deliberately not cross-compatible).

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead - a Canon camera

    The truth is, these are competing camera makers. One will pull ahead with some fancy technology, and the other will jump up to match, adding its own new feature to gain an edge. And guess what? There are other brands, too – gasp!

    Sony has been making amazing headway in its mirrorless department, and even Fuji has become popular with some photographers for their compact system. Just like camera models, they each offer different things, and it depends on the features most important to you.

    Do you want to take low light pictures with little noise? Do you care about good dynamic range? Is superb multi-point autofocus important to you? Do you like using knobs and buttons over a digital menu? Brands are more about the specific features, and while pros can sometimes be polarized on which is “better,” they’ll generally agree that certain ones will perform better with regards to a given feature.

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead

    Shot with a Canon camera.

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead

    Shot with a Fuji camera.

    What to ask instead

    Just like the cameras above, figure out what you want most out of the camera you’re looking to buy, and ask about specifics. This will help you steer toward the camera that would be best for you, and it will be more than just an opportunity for the photographer you’re asking to sell you on their favorite brand.

    • I want to shoot landscapes at sunset, but I worry about the sky being too bright while the foreground is all in shadow.  Which cameras perform better in these situations?
    • I find all of these menus far too complicated. Is there a camera that lets me adjust the settings more naturally?
    • Which brand generally has cleaner pictures at a high ISO?

    Bonus tip

    Be sure to ask your questions of multiple people (preferably using various brands) to get a balanced viewpoint. Even with more specific questions, “best” can still be subjective.

    #3 – What settings/camera/lens are you using?

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead

    Okay, so now you have a good idea of what camera you want, and you’re excited to start shooting. You’re observing your pro photographer friends, and you want to emulate their setup.

    But what camera settings are they using?

    Why pros hate this question

    Pros hate these questions mostly because of context. While these can certainly be legitimate questions under the right circumstances, most pros are asked these under less-than-flattering implications.

    “Wow, that’s a great picture! What camera are you using?” This implies that the art of the photograph is completely removed from the photographer and can be accomplished through mere equipment alone. This will irritate a photographer faster than asking a chef if his food is so good because he uses expensive spoons and knives.

    Asking about settings is arguably better, as this provides insight as to how a waterfall was blurred into silky smoothness, or how a hummingbird was completely frozen in the shot. When pros receive this question, though, they often get the impression that beginners are looking for a silver bullet for how to take good pictures.

    Settings are very specific to the photograph. This question will only be useful to you if you’re looking to shoot the same kinds of things under the same conditions. And they are only helpful if you understand what the settings mean – and how to make adjustments for your specific situation.

    As well, megapixels has become this magic number that consumers have come to equate with quality. 24-megapixels is worth the extra $300 because it’s so much better than the 20-megapixel model, right? While more megapixels does mean slightly better quality, this number really doesn’t matter to the average photographer. Many pros don’t even pay much attention to this number (unless they’re in the business of fine art prints).

    Typical photographs are printed at 300 dpi (dots per inch). Even an 8×10 print (2400 x 3000 pixels = 7.2 million pixels) requires only 7.2 megapixels. 20+ megapixels don’t come into play until you’re talking poster prints. If you’re only looking to print a few images at home or share them on social media, you needn’t worry about spending more for a higher number; most modern cameras will easily have you covered.

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead

    What you can ask instead

    The camera never makes the photographer. Incredible images can be produced from the most elementary equipment. Know that a camera is a tool that only allows you to perform your job more effectively, but the art is still created by your vision. Know what you want to create, and ask informed questions of the tools – without the implication that the art wouldn’t be possible without them.

    Understand what the settings mean before asking about them so you know how best to apply them to your own work.

    • I admire your macro shots. I’ve been trying to accomplish something similar with my flowers, but I can’t seem to get mine as sharp as yours. What shutter speed are you using?
    • I know you do a lot of night photography. Which wide-angle lens do you prefer to use for those shots?
    • I’d like to start printing larger images for my wall at home. Your prints turn out really well. How many megapixels does your camera have?

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead

    Bonus tip

    A wise person once told me to never buy any equipment until you feel limited by what you own. Before you go drooling over someone else’s camera or lenses, ask yourself if an upgrade would afford you shooting opportunities you cannot already do (and that you’d actually want to do – that’s the hard bit!).

    And know that just because a pro has more megapixels than you (or a newer model camera, or a more expensive lens) they aren’t necessarily able to take pictures that you can’t. It’s your experience that separates you, not your equipment.

    #4 – How can I make money with photography?

    You have your camera. You more-or-less understand the settings, and you’ve gotten pretty good. Now, you want to see if you can turn these pixels into profit.

    So you ask a professional photographer you know how you can make some money with your photography.

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead

    Why pros hate this question

    Pros hate this question because many don’t know the answer themselves. Or they do, but they don’t want to disappoint you.

    The truth is that photography is a very difficult industry to break into, and it is seldom lucrative. With better cameras being more affordable to the average user, anyone can fairly easily take high-quality photos. In short, few want to pay you for pictures they could take themselves.

    It’s a troublesome question to answer because so many are struggling to find just the right path to that elusive pay check.

    Additionally, much like the above topics, there is no single perfect answer. There are specific types of photography that are more successful at earning a living wage than others (hint: they directly involve people), but a new photographer will find it challenging to see money out of their photography without a lot of hard work, effective self-marketing, and a niche business model.

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead

    Most pros have several sources of income. It’s rare that a single tactic will prove sufficiently effective.

    What you can ask instead

    Take a look at your local market to see what’s popular and where a need exists. Spend some time identifying what sets you apart from everyone else and build a portfolio with which to market yourself. Then you can approach those pros with specifics to help you develop your business plan.

    • I love photographing people at conventions in all of their colorful costumes. What do you typically charge for a single session?
    • I’d like to upload some of my photos to a stock photography site. Which ones give the best payouts to photographers?
    • How much do you charge for travel to wedding locations? Do you think I should offer free engagement sessions?

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead

    Bonus tip

    This day and age, the money is with people. If you have a fear of working with people, you’re unlikely to make a living at photography. Portraits, events, and weddings are far more likely to see income streams than landscapes, abstracts, and macro images.

    That doesn’t mean the latter isn’t possible, it’s just more difficult. And even those areas require marketing yourself to galleries, travel and tourism companies, and individuals. So get used to interacting with people!

    #5 – Thoughts?

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead

    You have some experience under your belt now, and maybe you’re even making a few bucks on the side. You have a general understanding of what makes a good photograph, but you want to take it to the next level.

    How can you improve?

    Why pros hate this question

    Pros hate this question because it’s also vague. You post an image on a photography forum with just the single word, “Thoughts?” While it’s great to request feedback on your images, this question puts a lot of work on the responder to generate a viable conversation about your photograph.

    This is also likely to garner some less-than-helpful (and possibly less than desired) responses, as it’s so open-ended. What type of feedback are you looking for, exactly? Are you displeased with the composition and you’re looking for pointers? Do you want some tips on ways you can make a person’s eyes stand out more? Gain more sharpness to that mountain landscape?

    In many instances, this is not actually an invitation for critique but rather praise. Therefore, you might receive criticism you’re unprepared to receive. Being clearer with your request can spare you and others some angst.

    What you can ask instead

    When seeking feedback, figure out what you actually want to know about your photo and direct your questions in that manner. Specifics help guide people answering you, and you’re more likely to get more and better responses.

    5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead

    It’s also perfectly acceptable if you just want to share your pictures without constructive criticism. Just make that clear so you don’t get any undesired feedback.

    • I really don’t like how this picture seems a bit fuzzy. Is there anything I can do to sharpen it, or should I do something different when taking the picture?
    • This was my first time shooting waterfalls. I’m not looking for criticisms at this time, I just wanted to share.
    • I tried doing an HDR with this sunset, but it looks a little fake. How can I make it look more natural?

    Bonus tip

    Feedback is a wonderful way to improve. However, be prepared to hear it if you put the request out there. Even the most thick-skinned of photographers can find criticism difficult to take. Listen to the feedback you receive, take each with a grain of salt (in the end, it’s your art), and try to not be defensive (it’s a natural reaction).

    It will doubtless be painful at first, but you will be a better photographer for it.


    Questions pros hate 15

    Those more experienced in your field are generally happy to help, and they welcome your questions. But they want to make sure you’ve done a little research on your own first so you understand what you’re asking. Assess what you enjoy shooting, experiment a bit, and possibly check out renting some gear.

    In the right context, and with the proper information on what your needs are, pros can be an excellent resource for improving your own skills in photography.

    The post 5 Questions Professional Photographers Hate and What You Can Ask Instead appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Source: DP School

  • How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

    Astrophotography has become increasingly popular in recent years, with good reason. There’s something about the night sky, stars, and The Milky Way that are fascinating to us. They remind us of how small we are and how huge the universe we live in really is. Photographing them can make for some pretty spectacular images.

    How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking - night photo with Milky Way visible

    Digital Noise in Astrophotography

    As camera technology has advanced, photographing the night sky has become possible for photographers of all levels and budgets. Low-light performance continues to improve, allowing us to photograph the stars at higher and higher ISOs. However, digital noise continues to be one of the biggest challenges for astrophotographers.

    There are a number of different approaches to dealing with digital noise in your astrophotography, from your camera settings to the way you process them in post-production.

    Digital noise is caused by a couple of things. Firstly, the camera sensor heats up as it exposes an image, causing an increase in noise. Secondly, an increase in sensor sensitivity, or ISO, can lead to more digital noise in your images. As both high ISO values and long exposures are going to lead to more digital noise, you’re going to need a strategy to deal with it in your astrophotography.

    path to the ocean with Milky Way in the night sky - How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

    Exposure Stacking

    There is a technique called exposure stacking that is very effective in reducing the digital noise in your photos. You take multiple exposures with the same settings, stack them into layers inside Photoshop, align the stack, then Photoshop will create an image based on the median of all the stacked exposures. The final image will show the parts of your exposures that are consistent through each layer, like the stars. Because digital noise is random, and changes from one exposure to the next, it will not be visible in the final stacked image.

    If you’re still following me, great. It sounds complicated, but I’m going to walk you through exposure stacking step-by-step and you’ll see it’s really not that difficult. It can take a little time to get right, but it’s totally worth it when you see the difference it can make in your night sky photos.

    Milky Way beach photo - How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

    Capturing the Stars In-Camera

    There are plenty of other articles that will teach you in detail how to take great astrophotography, so I won’t go into it here. However, there are a few considerations that are required to get the exposures correct in order to be able to use the exposure stacking technique later.

    1. You need multiple exposures with the same camera settings. You can take as many shots as you want, but I would suggest using a minimum of 10. Try to capture them as close together as possible to minimize movement of the stars between each exposure. The more time that lapses from the first exposure to the last, the more work will be required to stack them properly.

    2. Turn off Long Exposure Noise Reduction. This is probably called something like “Long Exposure NR” in your camera. It will cause each exposure to take twice as long when it’s turned on, meaning there will be twice as much movement of the stars between exposures. It also means you’ll be double-processing your images, causing a reduction in image quality.

    3. Make sure the stars in your photos are pinpoint. They need to be sharp and have as little streaking as possible. You can work out the maximum exposure time to create pinpoint stars based on the focal length of your lens using this tool.

    Import and Develop in Lightroom

    Again, there is a wealth of information about how to process astrophotography in Adobe Lightroom. All I do in Lightroom is check each exposure to eliminate any images that are unusable due to camera movement, do a basic edit, then open my selected images to Photoshop as layers.

    How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

    Use “Open as Layers in Photoshop” to do exposure stacking. Go to: File > Edit In > Open as Layers in Photoshop.

    The main things to remember here are that you make sure to sync your edits with all the exposures that you’ll be using and to avoid over-processing the images in Lightroom. Avoid sharpening and noise reduction at this stage of the process. Also take it easy on contrast, clarity, and dehaze. You can perform more creative edits on the final stacked image.

    Aligning and Stacking Exposures in Photoshop

    Ensuring your images are all aligned correctly is vital when doing exposure stacking. If they are not, you will end up with blurry stars. There are a couple of ways to align exposures. Try the auto-alignment method first and if it doesn’t do a good job you’ll need to use the manual method.

    Auto Alignment

    1. Select all layers.
    2. Select Edit > Auto-Align Layers…
    3. Select Auto. Click OK.

    How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking - auto-align layers

    Manual Alignment

      1. Make only the bottom two layers visible.
      2. Select the second layer and change its blend mode to Difference. You’ll see the image go mostly black with white specks. The white areas represent the parts of the two visible images that are not aligned correctly.

    How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

    1. Click Edit > Free Transform.

    How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking - free transform

    1. Click View and make sure Snap is unchecked.
    2. Zoom in on a corner, hold down command/control and move the corner box around until you see the white parts of the image line up and turn black. It will take some trial and error.

    How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

      1. Repeat with each corner of the image. You may need to go back to readjust a corner that you’ve already moved. It won’t be perfect, but try to get it as close as possible.
      2. Press return to exit Free Transform mode, then change the blend mode back to Normal.
      3. Make the layer you’ve just adjusted invisible and the next one up visible.
      4. Repeat with every layer, aligning each one with the base layer until they’re all aligned as well as possible.

    Stacking Layers

    1. Make sure all layers are visible and selected.
    2. Right-click on one of the layers and click Convert To Smart Object.

    How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking

    1. Click Layer > Smart Objects > Stack Mode > Median.

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    Finish up

    When Photoshop has finished working its magic, you should end up with an image that’s much cleaner with significantly less noise than you started with. Your stars probably won’t look quite as sharp when zoomed into 100%, especially if the alignment wasn’t quite right, but you’ll be the only person who looks that closely. Don’t forget to crop the edges that have moved during the alignment process.

    Now you can apply any other creative edits you might like to your image. You can either do this while still in Photoshop or save the image and apply the adjustments back in Lightroom.

    This may seem like a complicated process, but once you’ve done it once or twice you’ll get much quicker. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find the effort is worth it for the lovely, clean, noise-free astrophotography images it gives you.

    The post How to Reduce Digital Noise in Astrophotography Using Exposure Stacking appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Source: DP School

  • Photojournalist David Douglas Duncan dies at 102

    American photojournalist David Douglas Duncan, best known for his combat photography, passed away on 7 June in Grasse, France. During his career, he covered various conflicts, including the Pacific War, Korean War, and the Vietnam conflict. He shot for prominent media such as the New York Times, LIFE magazine and many other publications. Duncan was […]

    The post Photojournalist David Douglas Duncan dies at 102 appeared first on DIY Photography.

    Source: Diyphotographynet

  • The Fogtographer

    Justin Rosenberg is a photographer who loves fog! But that’s not all he shoots, in his own words he says ‘In my images, I aim to convey a sense of that hope in the struggle. Much of my work focuses on a single subject relating to a seemingly harsh/sparse environment. I’m often drawn to the […]

    The post The Fogtographer appeared first on DIY Photography.

    Source: Diyphotographynet

  • Is losing your camera the worst end to a trip ever?

    My family and I recently returned from a week-long early spring backcountry camping trip. This trip involved canoeing in snow squalls and an extended portage where the lake was still frozen solid. Physically, it was a challenge, but it was also an amazing family bonding experience with my wife and our 9 and 12-year-old kids […]

    The post Is losing your camera the worst end to a trip ever? appeared first on DIY Photography.

    Source: Diyphotographynet

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