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A photographer I recently worked with asked for the best non-technical advice I could offer. The question momentarily took me off guard as it was quite the departure from the common inquiries on histograms, white balance, and aperture. My thoughts quickly shifted to the words of photographer Ernst Haas (1921 - 1986). When I was first starting out, this quote resonated deeply with me, and remains a powerful concept to this day. "There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are."

What Haas was describing is the real test of a photographer's artistic growth. When there is no grand vista or magic light, no double rainbow or brilliant sunset, do you pack away your camera, or look harder to find the photo that everyone else passed by? It's this part of our art that can't be explained in a technical guide, but has to come from within.

I encourage you to share these tutorials on social, bookmark, or print for your reference. 

 

How to Control Aperture and Create Images You Love

Controlling the aperture is one of the most powerful ways to improve your images. It’s also the topic that continues to perplex photography students everywhere. Rather than unnecessarily complicating matters, I prefer to demystify the subject. In this tutorial, I’ll reveal how both a wide and small aperture can be used to create consistent and beautiful results.


6 of the Most Essential but Underused Camera Features

If you are just getting started in photography, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find these six often overlooked features in the menu of your DSLR. While each one can be used to create professional quality results, extensive experience is not required to leverage their usefulness. Best of all, there’s no need to upgrade to a high end model. These settings are now found on even the most entry-level camera bodies. With the ability to take full control of your camera, you’re more likely to get the shot right at the time of the exposure.


How to Go Mirrorless Without Losing Your Wallet or Mind

Many of you have expressed interest in potentially switching to a mirrorless camera. Having been through that process myself, I know there is a lot to consider. To help with your decision, here is how I would recommend moving forward.


7 Landscape Photography Mistakes That Could be Ruining Your Photos

If your photos aren’t turning out the way you expect them to, new gear is not necessarily the answer. In fact, chances are you are making one of these seven common mistakes. Don’t be discouraged though; just as a musician needs time to refine their skills, so does a photographer. Once you recognize where the problem lies, it’s easy to make adjustments and achieve better results the next time out.


7 Travel Photography Tips Your Tour Guide Won’t Tell You

Beauty is hiding in plain sight, but only for those who learn to see beyond the obvious. To capture the heart of a region through your lens, you must connect with a place on a deeper level. This often involves slowing down and immersing yourself in the culture of those who call it home. By doing so, you become more than just a tourist with a camera, but a participant searching for truth and understanding. Every corner of this earth has its own unique characteristics, and the successful travel photographer exposes these differences in a way that others can relate to.


5 Creative Macro Photography Ideas that Really Work

Here are 5 quick creative tips to help you with your macro photography.


5 Ways to Create Dramatic Landscape Photos at Midday

Outdoor photographers are repeatedly taught to plan their scenic photography excursions early in the morning or late in the day. These magic hours we’re told, is the only light worth shooting in. Yet, what about those situations when being on location at sunrise or sunset isn’t possible? You can pack up your bags and go home with an empty memory card, or make the most out of every opportunity. Allow me to let you in on a little secret not found in most photo magazines. Some of the best landscape opportunities can be found at midday when the sun is high over head.


6 Ways to Use Color for Eye Catching Compositions

A painter only needs to look at their palette before applying color to the canvas. Photographers have a different challenge, as they must locate their tones by studying a scene. Of course, this can be easy to bypass when you’re thinking about shadow, highlight, depth of field, shutter speed, and all of the other technical details that go into a photo. Still, as the great painter Kandinsky said, “Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” To use it in your compositions can infuse your work with a new level of sophistication.


5 Simple Ways to Create Expressive Photos in Black and White

Can you visualize the world around you in black and white? It’s not easy to do at first with an array bright colors competing for your attention. Look a little closer however, and you may recognize the broad potential for expressive imagery. Of course, not every situation lends itself to this artistic style. There are however, certain characteristics you can look for, to identify the best opportunities.


6 Tips for Better Low-Light Landscape Photography

A glorious sunset will always attract a crowd of photographers. Yet the moment the sun dips behind the horizon, it seems everyone departs in a hurry. What they don’t realize is how exceptional the scene can become at dusk and into the early evening. The hours following sunset are actually ideal for landscape photos. Of course, working in low light isn’t without its fair share of challenges.


5 Ways a Telephoto Lens Can Improve Your Landscape Photography

It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but the most sophisticated compositions are often the simplest. For this reason, ultra wide angle lenses are not typically the ideal choice for outdoor images. By including too much information, you risk losing the subject to visual clutter. This creates a unique challenge for landscape photography. While it’s tempting to include the vast expanse of a splendid horizon, a stronger image may only contain a small portion of it. This is where a telephoto lens becomes an invaluable part of your kit.


5 Effective Methods of Creative Composition

It seems everyone has a camera these days, so you may be wondering, “How can I separate myself from the pack?” The answer does not involve a better camera, or a more expensive lens. In fact, the most important part of your equipment actually can’t be purchased in a store. It’s your own unique vision, and perspective on the world, that makes all the difference. The following five elements of creative composition are starting points to help you better express your point of view.


How to Improve your Photography in 21 Days

The web is saturated with top ten lists of how to be a better photographer. Heck, I’ve even written a number of them myself. Yet, one has to wonder, how much better can someone really become after reading just one article? Wouldn’t a larger transformation involving several weeks or months be necessary? Depending on your current amount of personal bandwidth, you may not like the answer. There are some shortcuts, but ultimately you are looking at a minimum of 21 days to really make an impact.


10 Basic Photography Guidelines to Live By

A young George Washington detailed 110 rules to live by, ultimately leading him to the first Presidency of the United States. Inspired by this, I decided to list the 10 guidelines that have consistently helped in my photography career. I hope they help you to reach new heights in your creative pursuits.


The Battle is Over: My Micro 4/3 Camera Outsold my Full-Frame DSLR

The battle is over, and full frame cameras have lost the race. Here’s why.

I’ve been selling photos through a high end stock agency for the last two years. In my collection are images from a full frame DSLR, an APS-C DSLR, and several Micro 4/3rds cameras, and after tallying my sales for an entire year, it turns out my highest selling image was taken with the Olympus OMD EM10. That’s right: the entry level OMD model.


Photo Enlargement: The Great Resolution Hoax

Upon emerging from Penn Station my gaze immediately focused on a fantastic billboard mounted to the side of a large building. Swarms of commuters hurried past as I took a few photos. Steam from the subway system swirled around me, but I stood motionless. It wasn’t the actual scene I was intrigued in, but the way the poster challenged how we think about photo enlargement and resolution.


Lightweight Mirrorless Camera Advantages: Tipping the Scales of Success

Statistically speaking, mirrorless camera advantages include the possibility of dramatically improving your percentage of keepers. It’s simple really; by carrying a camera at all times, your photo opportunities increase while the success ratio soars. Now some may argue that by packing light, you’re sacrificing image quality. A number of ISO comparisons can be found that back this claim. Yet, these studies are shortsighted; merely comparing apples to apples. What they fail to take into account is just how different shooting with a mirrorless camera is. To understand how this actually translates in practice, one needs to step back and look at the bigger picture. Remember, a camera’s IQ is only as good as the person controlling it.


Full Frame vs Micro 4/3 Revisited with Pro Olympus Lens

Months ago I shot a head to head comparison with my OMD EM10 and a Canon 6D. In that test, the 6D image was clearly sharper, but the lens used on the EM10 was not necessarily known for its quality (17mm f2.8). Many readers on the 43rumors site mentioned the need to shoot it again, but with a better lens. Fast forward to a few months later, and the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 is now my go-to lens for the mirrorless system. The optical quality of the 12-40 is no secret as it’s one of the highest rated options in the micro four-thirds line. What a difference a lens makes, as this time, the results were vastly different.


From Full Frame to Micro Four Thirds

My photography gear has evolved quite a bit over the years. While size is the most obvious difference, that is only a portion of the story. My path is likely quite different from others you may have read.


10 Days Around Iceland with a Mirrorless Kit

It was the trip of a lifetime, 10 days around the beautiful country of Iceland. Despite the promise of spectacular landscapes and wildlife, I did the unthinkable and opted to leave my full frame Canon camera home. I still took pictures of course, turning out over 7000 captures. In my bag were the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and E-M10 along with two pro lenses, the 12-40mm f/2.8 and 40-150mm f/2.8. I also brought a 1.4 tele-extender, a variety of filters, and lots of batteries. The only thing missing was the mirror inside the camera, and the extra weight of a DSLR kit. For those interested in potentially making the move, here is how it all shakes out.


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Photographing Butterflies with the Olympus 40-150mm f2.8

The macro capabilities of the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 are eye-opening. Coupled with the OMD E-M1, I was able to capture sharp, colorful butterfly images at the Sweetbriar Nature Center. It’s so convenient to have the ability to shoot macro without carrying an extra dedicated lens.

If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
— Albert Einstein