Discover the wide range of photography techniques and how-tos in this varied selection of articles. You'll find tips on photography gear and travel, plus shooting techniques and solutions to common problems.
Think about the core elements that make up all landscape photographs
What are the essential ingredients for a great landscape photograph? While in the process of developing an online landscape course, I’ve been asking myself this question in order to help photographers improve their work. There’s an obvious list of elements that make up any strong photograph:
Use these techniques to add a feeling of motion to your images
As a visual storyteller, I sometimes look at my video-shooting colleagues with more than a little envy. They carry only one camera (albeit a big one) with one zoom lens of incredible range and speed; they not only capture sound, but seem to be able to shoot in pitch-dark conditions as well; and most enviable of all, they can record movement and the passage of time.
Your best images come when you see the photograph as a whole
Why do people climb dangerous mountains, and why are people so obsessed with the quest for adventure? These are common questions among people who don’t climb mountains. And for that matter, I’m also asked about what pushes me to pursue adventure photography. Couldn’t I have opted for any number of less dangerous photo careers?
A retrospective exhibit explores the influence of Eliot Porter on Robert Ketchum's work—and Ketchum's departure from it.
When Eliot Porter set aside his microscope and picked up a view camera, leaving behind his biochemical research at Harvard University to pursue photography full time, he couldn’t possibly have known the impact his work as a photographer would make. Porter not only inspired generations of color photographers, but also helped fuel an environmental movement responding to a growing awareness of the effects of industrialization on the landscape.
Use preparation and common sense to negotiate today's heightened security concerns
Today’s environment of heightened security and stretched tensions can make travel with photo gear more challenging. Since the regulations of various countries, airlines and border crossings are diverse and dynamic, my recommendations are guidelines only. That being said, two things will put you in good standing no matter where you travel: use a combination of common sense and courtesy, and do your homework.
Four professional photographers share how they travel light in the field
Getting the image sometimes involves leaving equipment back home. When you’re hiking six miles into the wilderness or climbing up to a higher elevation, the weight of the gear you carry makes a big difference. All the best equipment in the world means little if you’re too physically spent to hold the camera steady. Some of these items weigh only a few ounces individually, but all this gear combined can result in photographers carrying pounds of gear on their backs or over their shoulders.
Master new skills, explore spectacular locations and make new friends who share your passion as you learn together from experienced pros
The day begins with a predawn breakfast surrounded by fellow photographers who are chatting quietly about lenses, plug-ins and graduated filters. You yawn and stretch, eager to greet daybreak and the magical light. It’s the first day of the photographic workshop you’ve been looking forward to all year, and you listen while Lonnie Brock, who with Roger Devore founded The Nature Workshops, describes the area that the group will visit for the sunrise shoot.
A conversation with National Geographic's first field photographer editor
The National Geographic Society and its magazine have long been a patron and showcase for some of the world’s most respected photographers, particularly in the categories of geographic exploration and world cultural and natural history. The magazine embarked on a significant overhaul this year, engineered in large part by its new editor. Chris Johns not only holds the distinction of being the current editor-in-chief, but in being the first field photographer to be named to this position of responsibility in the history of the magazine with its characteristic yellow border. This is a point that Johns seems quick to dismiss in modest fashion, but it’s apparent that his agenda involves a take-charge, can-do approach to revamp the magazine for the 21st century. For obvious reasons, we at Outdoor Photographer find the photographer-turned-editor story line to be particularly noteworthy and timely.
The night my father pulled out the slide projector was always a special event for me as a young boy. As the eldest, I had the responsibility of retrieving the carousel from the closet and setting it up on the dining room table while he hung a white sheet on the wall. The whir of the fan and the sharp click of the projector were accompanied by my brothers’ voices as they jostled for a good position on the couch. With the lights turned off, I’d hold the remote control, counting out the seconds in my head, as each image was projected on the makeshift screen. The photographs, large and vibrant with color, made the power of photography seem all the more magical.
Why reports of the death of film may have been exaggerated in this digital age
It's time to face facts. Everybody who's anybody is shooting digitally these days. Nobody is talking about film anymore. Do they even still sell film? It's all about the digital workflow. What was once called "taking pictures" is now known as "digital capture." Prints have been replaced by "output." Apertures and shutter speeds are passe‚—practically unnecessary. Fix it in post! A $10,000 camera? No problem; everybody has one. If you don't, you're behind the times. You must be a geezer. Must be afraid of change. If you want to be successful, you must shoot digital. Right?
Carlton Ward uses photography to share Gabon's biodiversity with the world
Imagine having the opportunity to photograph in wildlife-rich Gabon in Central Africa. You’ll be in the company of scientists, specialists in areas including entomology, botany and ornithology. Then, add the chance to create your images using high-end digital SLRs, an assortment of quality lenses and lighting gear. It sounds ideal.
One of the reasons I’ve been photographing since I was a kid is because it’s fun. I’m guessing that’s why you enjoy the medium, too, and why you read a photo magazine. Digital photography, especially, has reinvigorated the craft, restoring the fun I had when I first started taking pictures. Anyone who has known me for a while knows that when I’m excited about something, I like to share it with everyone. With that in mind, I’d like to help you use the new technology for digital photography without the fear of doing it right or wrong, but just to have fun with the process. You really can’t screw it up. If you take a poor picture, you can see it immediately in the LCD. No harm done; just delete the shot and try again. Not sure how to use a histogram? Try some different exposures of the same scene and compare the histograms and see what happens. Photography is a visual medium; the LCD makes digital technology visual, too.
Think beyond local camera club contests and consider some of the premier nature photography competitions in the world
Photo contests can be a successful way to get your images published, and some of the premier nature photography contests are monitored by publications, making them ideal for working your images into print as well.
Now you can get more out of all lenses, even making low-priced optics perform like the best
When I first started photographing seriously years ago, I wanted to expand my lens choices for my SLR, but I couldn’t afford it. So I did the best I could, buying budget lenses that weren’t sharp wide-open (but were useable stopped down), inexpensive "preset" lenses and so on—maybe not the best lenses in the world, but they worked and I got by.
Discover how a tripod produces sharper pictures and better, bigger prints
Beyond stability and sharper pictures, the greatest benefit I’ve found in using a tripod is that it makes me slow down. It forces me to evaluate a scene more carefully. Rather than snapping a shot and walking away, I observe a scene with much greater care. The slowing down of the picture-taking process has resulted in consistently better photographs. Before I commit to positioning my tripod, I look at varying aspects of a scene—lighting, contrast, tones and composition—without feeling as if I’m rushing.