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Take Ten: An easy personal photography project to try

Looking for a personal photography project but don’t have a lot of time?

Maybe a Take Ten challenge can help.

Whether you are just starting out or have been working in the industry for many years, there can be periods of time when you are not feeling very creative and a personal project can be just the key to jump start your creativity. But let’s face it, life is busy!

Finding the time needed to dedicate to a personal project such as a Project 365 or even a 30-day challenge can seem almost impossible. This is especially true if you have a session to edit or piles of laundry magically growing before your eyes.

Perhaps a Take Ten challenge can be the perfect mini-project needed to get you out of that creative rut without sacrificing too much time out of your busy schedule.

What is a Take Ten challenge?

When I do a Take Ten challenge, I pick a subject then try to create ten different images. Achieving a variety of looks can be done with changes in composition, angles, backgrounds, lighting and editing. My favourite genre for this type of challenge is still life, especially flowers.

Looking for a personal photography project but don’t have a lot of time? Maybe a Take Ten challenge can help.



Looking for a personal photography project but don’t have a lot of time? Maybe a Take Ten challenge can help.



You could do this project with any type of photography, though.

How you can achieve a Take Ten project.

For portraits, you could try different poses that you wouldn’t normally do with your clients. With your kids, get them to see how many funny faces they can make or let them choose their poses.

Change your point of view by getting down low on the ground or up higher for a different vantage point.

Looking for a personal photography project but don’t have a lot of time? Maybe a Take Ten challenge can help.



Looking for a personal photography project but don’t have a lot of time? Maybe a Take Ten challenge can help.



Looking for a personal photography project but don’t have a lot of time? Maybe a Take Ten challenge can help.



If you like food photography, try different ways to photograph the same dish. You could start with preparing the food to the finished product or take the hassle out of cooking and buy something pre-prepared from the store. Even something as simple as a packet of cookies can provide several photography options. The possibilities are endless!

How to make it easier on you.

I love using my iPhone for this type of challenge because I can take the images very quickly. Then, I edit them later when I find myself out of the house with some time to spare. Some of my favourite edits have happened in doctor’s waiting rooms and it helps to pass the time quicker.

All the images in this post were taken using an iPhone 5C and edited using the Snapseed, Mextures and VSCO apps.

Looking for a personal photography project but don’t have a lot of time? Maybe a Take Ten challenge can help.



Looking for a personal photography project but don’t have a lot of time? Maybe a Take Ten challenge can help.



My set up was done using a combination of either two black foam core boards or two white foam core boards as well as a wooden cutting board. Each image was taken in the same location in my house, on a coffee table next to a large, north facing window on the left of the subject.

Looking for a personal photography project but don’t have a lot of time? Maybe a Take Ten challenge can help.



Looking for a personal photography project but don’t have a lot of time? Maybe a Take Ten challenge can help.



As you can see, from clean and simple to textured and dark and moody, each image is different although the subject matter is the same.

If you find yourself struggling to come up with ten different images, try thinking smaller and use a macro lens. Capturing so many tiny details can create many more opportunities.

Adding props to your images can help to add to the variety, too. For portraits, think hats, wigs and costumes. For still life, your kitchen can be a treasure trove of supplies. Try using cutting boards, plates, and utensils. For smaller subjects, craft supplies such as scrapbook paper can make wonderful backgrounds.

Whatever you choose to do for your Take Ten challenge, remember the most important thing is to have fun!

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Nikon D850 Review

Nikon D850

Perhaps one of the most anticipated camera releases of 2017 has been the D810 successor, the Nikon D850. Nikon’s high resolution camera body shook up the industry once again, this time with a strong punch, making the Nikon D850 the most versatile DSLR on the market. Thanks to its 45.7 MP sensor with a native ISO sensitivity range of 64-25,600, upgraded 153-point autofocus system, advanced 181,000-pixel RGB metering system, 7 fps continuous shooting speed that can be bumped up to 9 fps with a battery grip, a fully weather sealed construction and a bunch of other hardware and software upgrades, Nikon managed to pull out a camera that can satisfy every photography need – from landscapes and architecture, to sports and wildlife. In this review, I will be assessing the camera from many different angles and comparing to its predecessor, as well as its primary competition.

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Photography Life

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Why Hyperfocal Distance Charts Are Wrong

Hyperfocal-Distance-chart-landscape

One of the most misunderstood parts about landscape photography is the correct way to fit your entire scene within a photo’s depth of field. Where do you focus? What aperture should you use? You might think that these questions are easy to answer with a hyperfocal distance chart, where you provide your focal length and aperture, and the chart tells you exactly where to focus. There’s only one hiccup — if you want the sharpest possible results, these charts are spectacularly wrong. For most landscape and architectural photographers, that’s a big deal. This article explains everything about hyperfocal distance charts: what they are, why they fail, and where to focus instead.

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Photography Life

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FLM Ballhead Review (CB-58 FTR, CB-48 FTR and CB-32 F)

FLM CB-58 FTR

As a landscape and travel photographer, I heavily rely on tripods. After making a number of wrong purchasing decisions early on in my photography career, I realized that a solid tripod and tripod head are very important – sometimes even more important than choosing a camera or a lens. A poor tripod setup can create many headaches and really mess up images, and tripod heads play a big part of that. Many cheap tripod heads sag even after they are tightened. Some can barely hold gear and shake like crazy in wind or when they are touched. Others have poor plates and attachments, making them very frustrating to use in the field. Unfortunately, many of us go through a number of bad tripod heads before realizing that we should have gotten something solid to begin with. For the past seven years, I have been very happy with the Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead. In fact, after using the BH-55 for a few years, I ended up buying a few more ballheads from RRS for other needs such as travel. However, after attending a few trade shows and seeing other options from other companies, I wanted to see if there was something even better than the RRS ballheads that I have come to trust and love. I bumped into FLM at Photo Plus New York last year and after talking to the company, I decided to give their ballheads a try and see how they compare to RRS. Thanks to FLM Canada, I was able to obtain three ballheads to test, the CB-58 FTR, CB-48 FTR and CB-32 F. In this review, I will go over these three ballheads in detail and discuss their pros and cons.

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Photography Life

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What is Rembrandt lighting and how to get it with one window

You know it but it’s worth restating – light is extremely important in photography.

In fact, using light creatively may be the most important difference between a snapshot and a purposeful, well-thought-out photograph.

A great way to learn how to use light creatively is to look at master artists’ use of light. Perhaps one of the greatest artists to study is painter Rembrandt van Rijn.

Rembrandt’s portraiture paintings specifically display a very distinct use of natural light. This lighting has evolved into a popular photographic technique known as Rembrandt lighting or the Rembrandt triangle.

But what exactly is Rembrandt lighting? Why is it so desirable?

Simply put, Rembrandt lighting is achieved when there is a tiny triangle of light falling beneath your subject’s eye on the shaded side of their face.

The reason this lighting technique is so popular is because of the dimension and depth it adds to portraiture. That is what makes a photograph so interesting and pleasing to the eye.

Another important aspect of Rembrandt lighting is the mood it creates. Usually this lighting technique is expressed best in a dark and dramatic portrait, making facial expressions important.

It typically wouldn’t make sense for your subject to have a big cheerful smile in this dramatic light. Make sure you set the right mood for your subject when using this effect.

The two most important things to consider for Rembrandt lighting are light and composition/subject placement. With subject placement, your subject must be placed in a way so that light is falling on their face in the right way.

Pick your light source.

Rembrandt lighting is most easily achieved with directional light. This means that the light should be coming from one direction or one source (i.e. one window).

It’s easy to believe you have bad light in your home. Remember though, one window with light coming in is all you need to use this technique.

Place your subject.

Once you’ve picked your room with directional light, the next step is to place your subject in front of your window at about a 45° angle. If your window is slightly higher than the eye level of your subject, the effect is much more defined.

Once your subject is at a 45° angle to your window then you need to make little tweaks to their face placement until you see the light falling just right. Also, remember that the closer your subject is to the light source, the more dramatic your image will be!

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modern day photo with Rembrandt lighting by Lauren Penland 4

modern day photo with Rembrandt lighting by Lauren Penland 4

Mind your exposure.

Be purposeful with your exposure. Because the lighting is so dramatic, there’s a good chance of overexposing or underexposing.

Make sure that you are exposing for your subject’s skin. It may mean losing details in the shadows but many prefer this creative effects in order to set a darker mood. Just make sure you are not losing detail on your subject’s skin.

Rembrandt lighting is no doubt a flattering and interesting way to light your subject. Even if you feel this effect may be too dramatic for your taste, it’s still a great exercise to try out!

Challenge yourself with Rembrandt lighting and see what you can create!

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The works not in the public domain are being showcased purely for educational purposes and all copyright and other IP rights remain with the original artist and/or licensee(s).

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