Risin and Kellingin – 29 Jun 2016 – Flickr

"The Wandress walks in the Faroe’s wet wilderness,
She looks to the North and can’t help but stare,
Trapped in cold stone, yet still very villainous,
The Witch and the Giant, the larcenous pair.

"We’re taking this land to use as we please!"
Said the Witch and the Giant as they left in the night
But these hardy islands proved not easy to seize,
And too soon came back their enemy, Sunlight.

The Wandress still gazing contemplates this day
and the evil that truth and light makes scurry away."

~Nick Parkison

The sea stacks, Risin og Kellingin, Faroe Islands. Myth has it that the Giant (Risin) and the Witch (Kellingin) came from Iceland in the night to steal the Faroes and take them for themselves. This task was harder than they expected though, and they turned to stone when the sun rose.

Photo collaboration with Nick. Kinda funny how this looks like a black and white with a color pop, but really, it was just that gloomy! haha The next day was clear and sunny though, and we hiked out to the end of the tall cliffs in the clouds (which are over 1,000ft tall, the view was incredible). The Faroes’ weather is very unpredictable!

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How to Use a Travel Photography Shot List to Come Home with Better Photos

Checking off your travel photo listWant to bring back travel photos that your friends actually enjoy viewing on Facebook? Want to make sure you don’t miss anything when visiting a new culture? Then it’s time to make a list!

We all have our easy ruts we fall into when photographing, but travel, for me, is about expanding my view. That’s why I take a travel shot list and try my darnedest to get at least one of each shot when visiting a new location.

What’s on my list?

Here are some tips for you to help make a travel photography shot list for your next trip. Feel free to use my list and add to it with your own ideas.

1 – People – old, young, and in-between

Spread out your people photos between age ranges. I’ve seen a bazillion images of old ladies from Cuba, while often missing are people like me; middle aged and fairly normal, even a bit boring. Round out your people photos with more variety, is all I am saying.

Portraits in Bhutan

What’s not to love about those shoes and that smile?

Kids are an easy target as they often love having their picture taken. You will need to be aware, though, that not all parents wish for their children to be photographed. That’s the crux of it; parents worry how the images this stranger just took will be used. Sometimes all it takes is a simple “Hello” first to the parents to gauge if taking photos is okay. If language is a barrier, you can also point to your camera, then to the children with an inquisitive look on your face. Either way, no matter the answer, respect the parent’s choice.

Peruvian kids

Kids playing in Inca ruins, Peru

Delhi street market scene

Street scene in Delhi, India with people my age.

Men at Red Fort, Delhi, India

People watching at the Red Fort, Delhi, India

2 – Food – preperation, presentation, social aspect

Food brings us together. It’s a basic need we can all relate to, even if we don’t know exactly what we are about to eat.

Cooking at a Sikh Temple

Inside the commercial sized kitchen at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India

Don’t just shoot the Instagram-worthy image of a plate of the amazing new delicacy you are experiencing, find a way to shoot the preparation of food. Get behind the counter (where it’s allowed) to see how it’s cooked, and where it comes from. As you plan to share these photos (why else are you taking them?), you may find that a large, and often hidden, swath of your friends and followers have a strong interest in food prep.

Buddhist monastery kitchen in Nepal

The full kitchen at a monastery, high in the Himalayas of Nepal

3 – Architecture – old, new, juxtaposed

In some locations the old and the new architecture matches, Bhutan comes to mind. I watched artisans paint a brand new home with traditional patterns and motifs from the nearby 400 year old monastery. Everything there fit a certain style.

Buddhist Temple in Punakha, Bhutan

Looking up at the Punakha Temple, Bhutan

Then we have countries making vast changes from the old style to what constantly evolves as modern – think of Tokyo or Dubai. Look for the differences even where you think there is just one style.

4 – Water – how is it used?

While food brings us together, water is even more vital to our lives. In California we are familiar with our current drought, but forget that not every place has this problem. Some places are quite extravagant with their use of water, while it is a scarcity in others.

Water in use in Nepal and India

Scarcity of water in Kathmandu means water lines, while a woman in Varanasi, India, washes her clothes in the river.

How do the locals use water? Do they wash their laundry in the rivers? Are there fountains everywhere? Are their cities built along waterways, or with vast ports?

Infinity pool and Dubai

An infinity pool 23 stories up in the Burj al-Arab, Dubai, UAE

Old water storage tank overflowing and leaking

In the woods of Oregon, there is often way too much water.

5 – Transportation – private and public

How do people get around? At home we have our patterns, and often don’t see the other forms of transport we might use. But when you travel, it will hopefully be obvious how the people there transport themselves.

Tuk-tuk ride at night

Tuk-tuks in Amritsar, India, are the easiest way to get around town.

It might a passel of buses, camels, rickshaws, taxis, or Maseratis.

Also, how are goods moved? Does your location have shipping traffic and a lot of cargo? From continent to continent, the methods for moving goods from here to there can be vastly different.

Boating on the Ghanges River

Boating along the Ghanges River in Varanasi, India

6 – Commerce – macro and micro

When I think of macro-commerce I think of things like whole industries like: agriculture, tourism, and banking.

With micro- commerce, I think of markets and vendors, where money actually changes hands. Who’s selling what, and who is buying? Is there a special technique to transactions?


Try to capture both the large scale, and intimacy of commerce, and show how things may be very similar, or very different from what you are used to back home.

7 – Nighttime

When the sun goes down, don’t stop shooting! Learn to find light, and exploit its unique qualities during the night. Maybe you have some moonlight or some neon in your location. No matter the source, there is still light at night.

Balanced Rock, Arches National Park, at Night

Balanced Rock in Arches National Park, Utah, USA takes on a new look at night.

Does your location shut down when the sun hits the horizon? Or does it rally for an all-night bender?

I found the markets in Aqaba, Jordan come to life once the heat of the day was done. I also found that the town had way more neon signs than I ever expected, but hadn’t bothered to notice while touring in the daylight. Get out at night and explore.

Noel in Aqaba, Jordan

Neon in Aqaba, Jorda


8 – Religion

How different parts of the world practice religion has always fascinated me. There isn’t a single part of this globe, that does not have some nod to the local religion, in some aspect of their lives.

Minaret of a mosque in Oman

Colorful minaret in Jebel Shams area of Oman

It may be subtle, such as a small altar to burn incense, or it could be the overt repetition of churches across a city. Travel is a time to break out of your routine and try new things. Stick your head (respectfully) inside a temple. Tour a mosque. Visit a cemetery to see the influence of religion on those in the past.

Buddhist monks in ceremony, Bhutan

Photography inside many Buddhist temples in Bhutan is banned, but on the night of this retreat for monks from all around the valley, I was allowed to shoot the ceremony.

Military tombstones and flags located in Eastern Washington, USA

Military tombstones and flags located in Eastern Washington, USA

9 – Landscapes – natural and manmade

I love landscapes, so they come easy to me. But, I have not always been a fan of cities and people. So, it takes me some effort to really appreciate the organization and layout of a nice cityscape. But it’s always worth it to bring back a mix of both in your images.

View of Canyonlands National Park at sunset

No people to see. Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA.

Photographers and Cho Oyu, Nepal

A few people give a sense of scale to Cho Oyu, the 6th highest mountain in the world, Gokyo, Nepal.

Sunrise view of Seattle, Washington and Mount Rainier

Here there are a lot more people in Seattle, Washington, USA

I am reminded of the craze for photos of Iceland. I’ve seen my fill, and rarely was a single cityscape in the mix. Black sand beaches with ice, waterfalls, all that stuff shows up – but most photographers have left out the manmade landscape. Include it! At least once.

10 – Icons – clichés big and small

I know people who refuse to shoot iconic locations. “They’ve been over shot and I wouldn’t be caught dead shooting them,” is a common refrain. Ignore those people.

Taj Mahal and reflection

The classic Taj Mahal view.

You’re traveling, so have fun. Shoot the Eiffel Tower if you’re in Paris. Hit up Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, and why not get a reflecting pool image of the Taj Mahal, or a cigar smoking lady in Havana? Do it. Get a posed photo of Masai Mara villagers, a llama in front of Machu Picchu, pretend to push over the Tower of Pisa.

Heck, even get a photo of that same waterfall everyone else visiting Iceland has shot.

That being said, you probably shouldn’t share only the cliché shots. Unless you’re on assignment to shoot something highly unique, go ahead and hit the clichés, then move on to the rest of the list. Better yet, look around your cliché location for something new to bring back and share.

Tourists at teh Taj Mahal

The not-so-classic view of the Taj Mahal, but a lot more fun.

11 – Wildlife – domestic and truly wild

My daughter’s obsession with taking photos of cats in Morocco sticks with me as a reminder to not ignore the domestic animals, along with the wild. I’ve photographed big cats in India and Africa, tarantulas in Peru and breaching whales in Alaska. But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t convey the fact that the town of Essouira, Morocco, with its fresh fish markets, is a haven for cats of all kinds.

Breaching humpback whales, Alaska, USA

Humpback whales in Alaska, USA

FIghting Hippos, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Fighting hippos in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

What about the beasts of burden? The donkeys, llamas, horses and camels? Put those on your list as well.


12 – All the pretty plants and flowers

Some of us just don’t care that much about plants. A green thing giving off oxygen at home is the same as a green thing giving off oxygen halfway across the world.

Rhododendrons in the Himalayas, Nepal

Rhododendrons at 14,000′ up in the Himalayas

But, I had no clue there were rhododendrons in the Himalayas of Nepal, much the same (but smaller), as both the ornamental and wild versions, I knew in Washington state growing up. When you get down to the tropics, the plants certainly get exotic, don’t they? Grab their wonderful colors and adaptations to share with friends back home.


This list can be just a start for your own customized version. Take it, shape it, make it your own. Put your favorite things on the list, but also keep those that don’t interest you. Growth as a photographer comes from trying new things and shooting new subjects.

Lastly, when it’s time to share your trip photos, I would suggest using 2-4 images from each category when making an online album. This will force you to pick only the best and it will give your viewers a good cross section of what you saw on your travels.

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Pro Tips for Designing a Successful Website

Designing your site can sometimes be a daunting task, but we are here to help. Website design expert and Zenfolio partner Shari Warren provides site design and training service through her company Warren Creative Design. We asked her for some insider tricks on how to create a stunning website or portfolio.


Getting Started

"The first task when designing a website is to determine the structure and organization of the web pages needed. This process can be done in many ways, such as a bulleted list with categories and subcategories, a rough pencil sketch on paper, or a diagram drawn in a graphics program with boxes and lines to represent the pages (referred to as a site map)," Shari said.



"A portrait or wedding photographer’s website will typically consist of the homepage, portfolio galleries, client galleries, about page, and contact page. It may also include additional pages such as testimonials, blog, investment and session prices, FAQs and what to wear."


"A fine art photographer’s website will have a homepage, portfolio galleries, about page, and contact page. It could also have pages for awards and achievements, show/exhibit schedule, classes and workshops."


Determining Your Site's Look and Feel

Another great tool to help you get started building your Zenfolio site is our Getting Started Guide. Some photographers can hit a roadblock when trying to accurately reflect their brand through the design. Here are Shari’s suggestions to achieve this.


"Any photos that are not their personal best should be edited out and left off the website. Then the task is to determine the right colors, fonts and layouts that truly best showcase their work. Once the site design is established, it is important to use the same design, colors and fonts for their other promotional materials so they are consistent in their brand identity."


There are several easy ways to edit the look of your Zenfolio site—presets, themes, layouts and page options. We recommend trying our presets if you’re looking for a quick way to apply a template. Once you have one in place you can customize it. Check out our help guide for more information on using presets. See below for two preset examples.



Selecting Images for the Homepage

Once you have decided how you want your site to be represented, the next step is is choosing the images to feature on your homepage. Here’s what Shari recommends.


"For portrait or wedding photographers, the homepage photos should represent a selection of their best work from each of their portfolio galleries. And for fine art photographers, the photos would also represent the specialties they shoot, which should include some of their best sellers to date. I recommend no more than 10-15 photos for the homepage. Visitors’ attention spans are extremely limited when web browsing (think of your own time spent when viewing websites), so you have to show your most stunning images in the first 3-5 photos on the homepage. This exercise forces the photographer to only select images they feel best represents their unique style."


Once you are ready to begin working on your homepage, this guide covers all the tools and options available to help you create an amazing first impression.


Choosing a Site Design

It’s important for photographers to stay up-to-date with design trends. Even if your photos are current, if the design looks old your visitors will wonder if the body of work on the site is old too. Below, Shari covers the popular current website design trends.


"Most of the photographers I have been working with are looking for a clean, modern, elegant website with either a light- or medium-toned neutral color theme. The full screen or photo strip layout is a popular trend for the homepage, and grid layouts, similar to the Instagram or Pinterest layouts, are popular for the galleries. That being said, there are opportunities to strategically add some graphics or textures in the header, footer and even backgrounds to further complement the photographer’s style."


Making your site user friendly is a great way to make a first impression and conveys a sense of professionalism. Shari has five tips on how to do this.


Easy Navigation

"Make sure your menu items are clear and that only important info is included. Too many menu items can confuse your visitors. If you have many galleries or custom pages, consider using drop down menus where appropriate."


Simplify Your Pages

"Only show photos and text that are important. Too much visual clutter looks unprofessional and disrupts the viewing experience."


Large, Readable Fonts

"Make sure your fonts are at least 13 pixels or larger so the text can be easily read by viewers of all ages. You should also view your website on a mobile phone to be sure your text is large enough to read. Limit your choice of fonts to three or less, and be consistent using those fonts on all pages, including custom pages. Use decorative fonts sparingly, and only use them as an accent or main headers."


Curate Your Photo Galleries

"It is more impressive to show 20 to 25 of your best images than 80 photos of varying quality. Visitors don’t have a large attention span and will not keep scrolling to view all your work. If you do need to show a lot of images, consider creating sub-galleries for a more streamlined viewing experience."


Backgrounds and Colors

"Limit your color scheme to neutrals, or if you want to use non-neutral colors, be sure the colors don’t clash with the colors shown in most of your photography. Using a graphic or textures, such as in a header, can add to the personality of your website. But again, be sure they work with your genre of photography and do not appear more important than your photography, which should be the focus of your website."


This article explains how to customize your site menu, which will improve site navigation for your visitors. If you’d like to edit the color scheme and font in your theme, we recommend editing your theme in Theme Designer. You can learn more about Theme Designer here.



Design Mistakes to Avoid

Now that we have covered best practices and elements of good design, let’s discuss what design mistakes to avoid. We asked Shari to share the common design mistakes she sees.


"Design Mistake #1. Using a dark or all-black color scheme on a portrait or wedding website. When you shoot portraits or weddings, you are capturing a joyous occasion and memories full of light, colors and emotion. Those dark colors overshadow those sensitive moments and don’t let your photography shine. Dark colors work well for more dramatic and moody fine art, architectural, industrial or sport event photography.


Design Mistake #2. Script or italic fonts for paragraphs of text. While these font choices can be fine for occasional headers or testimonials, they are generally difficult to read, especially on mobile phones.


Design Mistake #3. An ugly logo. Having a clean, professionally designed logo is necessary if you want people to trust that your work is professional. If you don’t have the graphic skills to design a nice logo for yourself, ask some of your colleagues to recommend a graphic designer that they trust. You can also find a designer online. Remember that your logo is an investment in your brand that you will use for all promotional materials and social media for years to come as you grow your business."


So what qualities does Shari think make a photography website great?


"A great website has beautiful and compelling photography that is showcased, organized and invites the viewer to see more and provides a call to action to contact the photographer for services or to purchase their photos."



Shari Warren of Warren Creative Design has provided design, training and business consultations to hundreds of Zenfolio photographers since 2011. With her background as an art director in the software and publishing industries, she brings a creative, objective eye and marketing savvy to help portrait, wedding and fine art photographers showcase their photography and set up their websites and shopping carts to help accomplish their business goals.



Taylor McGregor, a native of Silicon Valley, is a customer service representative at Zenfolio. She has a BFA in photography and graphic design. Her passions are photography, the great outdoors, and racking up frequent flier miles.


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3 Ways to Simplify and Learn Photography Faster

It’s not always easy to be a photographer, seeing all of the great photo opportunities around us, and wanting to capture them all. Recently, I was working with a student of mine, and she wanted to know how to handle changing settings quickly from one situation to another.  Her example was trying to go from photographing landscapes, to trying to focus on a bird or other wildlife that may quickly enter the scene. While some seasoned photographers may be ready for a situation such as this, it’s certainly not easy, and for someone just learning, I would argue that it shouldn’t be attempted at all.

24-120mm. Shot at 120mm, 1/160, f/4, ISO 1400. Knowing how the lens behaves at both ends of the zoom, I knew I could use this lens for wide angle shots in close, but zoom in as the flower girl was coming down the aisle and still get an interesting shot.

24-120mm, shot at 120mm, 1/160, f/4, ISO 1400. Knowing how the lens behaves at both ends of the zoom, I knew I could use this lens for wide angle shots in close, but zoom in as the flower girl was coming down the aisle and still get an interesting shot.

While many of the camera manufacturers want to make photography sound easy (anyone remember “So advanced, it’s simple”?), the fact is, photography is a craft, that despite the advances in technology, takes some time to master. Different photographic situations call for different settings, different lenses, or even a completely different approach to the subject matter. If you’re a hobbyist with only one camera, it can be impossible to be ready for all of the possibilities as they happen.

So here are three ways to keep it simple while you’re learning photography, and stop the overwhelm.

#1 – Focus on one subject at a time

I’m a strong advocate for keeping things simple. First off, if you’re planning to photograph landscapes, wildlife, or portraits, stick with that one goal.  It is easy to get distracted by other subjects that come along. Those opportunities can seem like gold when they pop up, and they can be, but if you’re already set up to shoot a landscape photo at ISO 100, f/16 aperture, and 1/20th shutter speed, quickly switching to settings suitable for capturing a bird in flight is not an easy process. It will likely end in you being frustrated, capturing photos that don’t quite meet your expectations, or worse, don’t come out at all.

Even now, 20-plus years after beginning my photography career, I try not to do too much at once with a camera. I focus on what my goal was when I first decided to pick up the camera and head out. If I’m planning on photographing a landscape at sunset, that’s what I do. The only time I will try to be ready for two separate subjects, is when I have two cameras. For instance, if I’m photographing a landscape, but there are waterfowl nearby and I want to be ready for that, I have a second camera set up with a telephoto lens, so I can grab it and try and get the shot. Even this requires me to at least temporarily put my initial subject, the landscape, aside for a bit.

Wildlife image taken using a fast shutter speed and a telephoto lens.

This shot of the blue heron was taken with a 400mm lens, using continuous AF, and 1/1250 shutter speed.

The image of the waterfall (below), and the image of the great blue heron (above), were both taken at the same location.  However, for the shot of the waterfall, I needed to use a neutral density filter to slow down the exposure. There is no way I’d have been able to remove the filter, and be ready to photograph the heron, even if both shots could have been captured with the same lens. Not only would my shutter speed have needed to be drastically faster to stop the flight of the heron, I would also have needed to use continuous AF to capture its flight sharply, while I always use one-shot AF when photographing landscapes.

Knowing there may be wildlife nearby, I mounted a Nikon 80-400mm lens on one camera (on a strap on my shoulder), while I had a second camera with a shorter lens, set up on a tripod to capture the waterfalls. If I only had one camera, I would have needed to choose between one subject or the other, and then move on. Rare is the occasion when you can jump so quickly from one subject to a completely different one using only one camera.

Landscape image using a slow shutter speed and wide angle lens.

This shot was taken with a 16mm lens, using one-shot AF, and a 0.6 second shutter speed.

If you’re working with only one camera, don’t try to do too much.  Pick one subject and work that until you feel you’ve accomplished what you wanted, then move on to another subject. Yes, it’s difficult to be set up to catch a sunset and watch a beautiful snowy egret land nearby and start fishing, leaving you itching to try and catch it, but chances are it will fly away again while you’re still fiddling with your settings. Meanwhile, the sun is still setting, the color is fading, and you’ve likely missed a shot or two there as well.

#2 – Use only one lens

Back when I took my first photo course in college, my professor was adamant that each student use only a 50mm lens. I didn’t understand why at the time, but I do now. It’s important to understand how your lenses behave, so you’ll know which one is right for the job. As photographers, many of us become gear collectors, always wanting another lens, to allow us to photograph the way we saw another photographer do it. But before you start collecting lenses, it’s important to recognize what each lens can do for you, and to truly understand that, you’ve got to use each lens extensively.

Wide angle lenses expand perspective.

Using a wide angle lens, I was able to emphasize the ice in the foreground, while pushing the bridge to the background at the top center of the frame.

I currently have seven camera lenses in my kit right now. At any given time, there may be four or five in my camera bag when I’m out photographing, depending on what my planned subject is, or what contingencies I want to be ready for. But, as usually happens, it’s rare that most of those lenses will see the outside of my bag once I get where I’m going. While each situation is different, I often find that one lens will usually handle what I want to do when I get to a location. So unless it’s one of those rare times when a situation calls for both a telephoto and a wide angle look, usually only one of those lenses gets mounted on the camera. While in the above example I broke this rule and used two cameras with two different lenses, that is not usually the norm for me.

When you pull your camera out of the bag next time and select lens to use, stick with that one lens. Really get to know it. If it’s a zoom, shoot at only one end of it. The next time you use it, use the other end. Learn how to make that lens really sing. Find out what it’s really good for, and what it’s not good at. Do this with every lens you own, if you own more than one. When it comes time to purchase new glass, you’ll have a much better understanding of where your kit comes up short, and what you need to buy. In addition, you’ll also be building on my first point, focusing on one subject. Too often, new photographers miss opportunities because they are busy changing lenses because they think they need one over another. If changing lenses is not an option, you won’t waste time with it, and can focus on making great photos with whichever lens you find on your camera.

Telephoto lenses compress perspective.

Telephoto lenses compress perspective. Want to make the sun or moon look really big in relation to a building or structure? Back away from your subject a bit and use a telephoto lens to compress the perspective and distort the size relationship.

In the two images shown above, the same bridge can be found in both, and both shots were taken from roughly the same spot. One was taken with a 16mm lens, and the other, with a telephoto lens at 290mm. Wide angle lenses expand perspective, emphasizing the foreground and pushing background objects back, while telephoto lenses minimize foreground and tend to flatten perspective. Using only one focal length will also help you to compose more effective images. Zooms can at times make you lazy. Zooming from a wide angle to a telephoto lens changes the image profoundly, and it’s important to understand what effect that can have on your image.

Telephoto lenses compress perspective, while wide angle lenses enhance it, and each perspective communicates something different to the viewer. There are reasons to use both wide and telephoto lenses, but only working with them extensively will help you recognize the situations where each is most effective.

#3 – Don’t accessorize

For the lighthouse image- Shot at 16mm, f/16, 15 seconds, ISO 64. I simplified my composition down to two elements, the reflection in the foreground, and the lighthouse in the background. Knowing the lighthouse would be there regardless of where I stood or how I zoomed, I focused on getting the reflection right, and letting the rest of the composition fall into place.

Shot at 16mm, f/16, 15 seconds, ISO 64. I simplified my composition down to two elements, the reflection in the foreground, and the lighthouse in the background. Knowing the lighthouse would be there regardless of where I stood or how I zoomed, I focused on getting the reflection right, and letting the rest of the composition fall into place.

One of the great things about digital photography, and today’s technology, is the many cool new tools available to help with your picture-taking endeavors. It’s great to be able to connect to a camera from your smartphone, and do things such as time lapse or long exposures, but often times, these accessories are one more thing that can go wrong, or distract you from actually taking photos.

There are only three accessories that I use regularly. One is a time controller that plugs into my camera directly, second is a tripod, and finally, a set of neutral density and graduated neutral density filters, used to help control exposure. I didn’t even begin using the filters until a few years ago, more than 15 years into my photography career. Both images below used nothing more than a remote shutter release. In the case of the Milky Way image, on the right, I set my camera to manual for a 15 second exposure and used the remote release as I would the shutter button, simply to avoid touching the camera. For the image on the left of the star trails, while that becomes a bit more complicated in processing, in reality, it’s just a lot of 30-second exposures. I simply set my camera to continuous drive, and locked the shutter button on the remote down. Simple.

Minimize accessories

Even for images such as these, the only accessory I used was a time controller, with only the shutter button locked down.

It’s important, when learning photography, to focus on the basics – aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, and understand how they affect your images. It’s too easy to get caught up in all the bells and whistles and how cool they are, and forget that the end result is what matters. In my mind, if the accessory isn’t contributing in a way that affects the final image, then I don’t need to use it. I’m not saying that accessories are bad, or even unnecessary, but if you aren’t sure how to achieve a proper exposure yet, put off purchasing that shiny new toy, and really learn your camera.

I would even advise you to stay away from the special modes on your camera, such as HDR, or star trails mode (I do that manually in post-production), or multiple exposure mode. Yes, they can look cool, and do great things, but again, understanding the basics of exposure is paramount. If you don’t understand basic exposure, using the bells and whistles won’t help you make music.

I find that simplifying the process as much as possible helps me come away with the best images possible. What do you do to help simplify your photographic process?

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