40 Tips for Photography

  1. A better camera doesn’t make better photos (it depends on the lens, I blogged about it).
  2. Don’t treat you camera like a baby. The DSLR is your work equipment like a air hammer for construction worker. Treat you camera right but do not overact.
  3. The picture is about the relationship about you and the subject and not you and your camera.
  4. Know how your camera works before you go out to shoot.
  5. Be ready for the shoot always. Don’t take your lens cap on the camera all the time and don’t switch your camera off every time after you made a shoot. (If you are worry about having a low battery get more charged battery’s with you than just one!)
  6. What light do you want? Morning light or evening light, they are beautiful while midday sun isn’t pretty good for photography.
  7. If it is needed put the ISO up. The noise isn’t what bad like in past. The noises reducing of modern DSLR’s are pretty well.
  8. Well auto ISO is your best friend. It can make you easier the picture you need.
  9. Sharpness is good but overrated. If your picture is sharp in “fill screen” on your laptop it is harp enough – you may not take photos for print magazines or commercials.
  10. Prime lens will make you think more about the object you are taking photos of.
  11. UV-filters are just protecting the lens – UV-filters are relicts from the analog times of photography.
  12. P-Mode isn’t just for beginners. It is about getting the shoot not about bragging how you made the shoot in M-Mode.
  13. You don’t have to rely on the rule of thirds but it will help you to make better photos.
  14. Don’t take pictures of everything. It is just waste of memory space you may need.
  15. Lens hoods aren’t necessity, you will get notice how and when you use them.
  16. Not using the lens hood doesn’t mean to storage it backwards on the lens you have some bag or pocket to put it in.
  17. Pack light because photography isn’t for ruin your back and it isn’t feels like fun if you carrying so much with you that you think your back get broken.
  18. Don’t get to much equipment while starting. You don’t 15 different lenses, 5 different flashes or 3 tripods. Start small, start with what you have and you will improve your skills because you have to improvise.
  19. Use the best tripod you have your legs – change the view get on the ground get up on a higher point do whatever you want but don’t shoot always on head height.
  20. Use the Zoom for convenience.
  21. Prime with 35mm is one of the most practical prime – Prime with 50mm looks better than 35mm
  22. Take a lot of shoots the possibility get the magical shoots is higher 😉
  23. Robert Capa: If your picture isn’t good enough you’re not close enough

  24. Andre Kertesz: Seeing is not enough, you have to feel what you photograph

  25. The best equipment doesn’t help if you’re not at the best spot.
  26. Spend time to consider what a good shoot is.
  27. Get a concept on what you are shooting or what you shot.
  28. Setting themes could help you to get focused on what you want.
  29. Well don’t drink or use drugs before or while shooting even it makes you more creative. That is not professional.
  30. Get up early. It feels pretty well to get up very early to get the magic shoot.
  31.  Photography is much a reflection of the person taking the photo (Do not shoot selfies with your DSLR you are not the subject)
  32. Direct or not direct that is irrelevant these are just methods. (see trevel photography). Take a soft shutter and don’t flash the people like in Men in Black. You are taking pictures not blind people or delete their memories.
  33.  Be critical of yourself it helps you to continue to improve your skills
  34. Be brutal when you have to delete awful images. You will not look at the photos you hate. Wait maybe I need it some day? NO you won’t, believe me! Just keep the good ones.
  35. Show only the best work.
  36. Take your camera always with you. The best shoot is the shoot you made not the shoot you missed.
  37. Changing colored pictures into B&W doesn’t make your picture interesting. B&W photography isn’t something you can use like a new haircut to look better. B&W photography is much more when just changing the colors.
  38. Social Media: Look at other people shoots to consider what makes the shoot good or bad.
  39. Social Media: Post your pictures online and let people critique your work you just can improve if you get feedback.
  40. Photography isn’t easy it can be a hard way!

Review – Amazon Basic 62-inch Tripod

Well I ordered the Amazon Basic 62-Inch Aluminum Ball Head Tripodbecause I lent my SIRUI T2204 Traveler Carbon tripod and needed shortly a tripod on the weekend. Well I don’t want to spend a lot of money because I own a very good tripod. If we are going to check the Amazon tripod it’s worth every penny you can spend on it. For someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money it is maybe the right tripod.

The tripod has a good surface feel and handling also it looks good. It seem to be valued for the price I think for similar tripod you have to spend at least $190.00.

I tested the tripod with two Cameras and two lenses it were weight about circa 1,400 gram up to 1,600 gram. I thought it wouldn’t fix the camera well, but it hold it fix.

Honestly it has a lot of negative points you should notice before you buy it:

  1. It smells, the rubber on the screws and feet are smelling heavy
  2. The lock of the tripod legs has just two level it is a little bit less
  3. If you pull out the center pillar it is hark a lot.
  4. If you want to fix the panorama board or the ball head it will differ to the position you prefer.
  5. The water-level of the tripd you also could forget and save money, because if you want to put your DSLR in scale you need a lot of time. I tried it with the intern water-level and a water-level hotshoe and for ONE picture it tooks 30 min. Well nothing for someone whos in a hurry 😉
  6. If there is any movement (steps or using the camera) the work of getting it in scale is past. It depends on the missing absorption of the ball head and center pillar. That can be very annoying specially at night shoots.
  7. The set screw for the quick release isn’t really high quality like the buttons at the leg lock.


Well I can’t compare the tripod to my SIRUI because the price of the SIRUI is up to €400.00 that is ten times more than the Amazon one. The amazon on is one cheap but good tripod you can use if you don’t care about the smell of chemicals should buy it. For me it is not a good tripod but this depends on my usage not about the tripod in generally. People who are professional photographers will not be satisfied with this one maybe it could be a backup for them but not more. The worst about the tripod is the smell but I would buy it if I need an easy good quality tripod for under $100.00 and its worth more. The tripods you can compare to this one has the same pro’s and contras like the amazon. So save money and buy the amazon one if you don’t need a professional ball head tripod.

IMG_7194 IMG_7195 IMG_7197 IMG_7198

The advantage of RAW-Files (1/2 )

Taking pictures in the RAW-factor isn’t just great for professional photographers also it can pays off for beginners and amateur photographers. You can use the pixel buffer of the camera raw information to get the maximum from your pictures.

Raw-files are like diamonds: the valuable raw information form the backbone of the images to develop an awesome result. Also some compact cameras use  raw files, for example the Canon PowerShot G7x a mega zoom camera.

Raw equal more image quality

The advantage of RAW-files compared to usual compacted jpeg image files is the big content of information. I try to explain it on some sample calculation: A RAW-file f. e. with a color depth of 12-Bit saved for any color (red, green or blue) each 4.096 brightness values (2^12). The result? almost 69 billion (68.719.476.736) possible color values! A jpeg just use 8 bit color depth and use only 16.777.216 color values. This isn’t the only advantage compared to jpeg-files – while a JPEG will lost quality conditioned by tonal value correction and white fader your RAW-file doesn’t already care about this steps.

Taking pictures in RAW

(Canon manual, I don’t use Nikon, sorry!)

It isn’t that hard to take photos in RAW. First of all you should turn on the P, M or B. I read that f. e. the Canon EOS 450D doesn’t take RAW-images files in the full automatic or other automatic modes. Well I know the Canon EOS 7D, Canon EOS 70D, Canon 7D Mk. II and Canon EOS 6D doesn’t care in which mode you are to take images in RAW-files. You should press the RAW/JPEG key to change it fast, or you go in the menu. Here in the menu you scroll down to quality, here you can change the settings. You have a range from RAW, MRAW or SRAW, you can additional use jpeg as backup or preview so you save the picture you took in two formats jpeg and raw. You can upload the jpeg also as well on image services or print the pictures direct from the camera this step isn’t possible with undeveloped raw-files. If you love continuous shootings you are maybe scared that the big raw files are slower as the smaller jpeg? Well honestly the raw is slower but that is depending to the high color depth and if you have a fast camera you notice it but not that much as f. e. if you are using a Canon EOS 70D or 7D and a high speed memory card  you will not notice that it is slower to take RAW-files as you would use a Canon EOS 100D or 700D, but don’t forget you can be more riskier with RAW-files because you can develop them better and you can make a higher detail zoom of the raw as with the jpeg.

Every manufactures use another RAW-factor 

If you want to develop your RAW-files on your computer it is necessary to have a RAW-converter because it is not possible for all the software on the market that can display jpeg also display RAW-files. Canon f. e. use the .CR” or the old RAW-format .CRW. Nikon for example saves the RAW in files ending with .NEF and the Pentax beginning with the K10D saves the RAW next to the own format in .DNG-files (digital negative picture) the .dng is an open RAW-format of Adobe.

Next: The advantage of RAW-Files (2/2) [Software, Developing with Lightroom CC]

Waiting for it

Well honestly I thought about buying the Canon OES 6D because it is a full frame camera! That is the reason for buying it well and the reasons for using the wide full spectrum of the photography world again.

My Canon 70D after a shutter count of 85.486 counts after 19-20 months. Sometimes it is time for a new one. I really love the Canon EOS 6D but than I read something about the new 7D Mk. II. Well first I got in my mind it is no full-frame, but than the facts:

  • 65 point cross-type-AF
  • GPS
  • HDR
  • 150,000 px metering sensor
  • Dual DiGic 6
  • 10 frams per sec
  • Cf + SD slot
  • Dual pixel cmos AF
  • dual-axis electric level
  • comprative playback function
  • multiple exposure

Well a lot of facts that made me to think about to stay at APS-C camera and I do. I hope I don’t will not repent this purchase.

Now I am still waiting for my new Canon EOS 7D Mk. II… I guess the next days I will not post a lot because of testing my new DSLR… I am sorry for it in advance. 

3 Tips for Portrait Photography

Well portrait photography is maybe one of the most taken photography styles. The faces of people can tell you a lot but it have to transport to the recipient (beholder). I collected some advices to take photos. Just try it.

Tip 1 – Focal length

The focal length should be between 50-100 mm in the most cases. This is the ideal focal length to focus on your motive. It is advisable to use a prime lens. You can open the diaphragm further than a zoom lens. Well, you maybe notice I am not a friend of prime lenses but in this case I am, because the prime lens offers you more intensity of light and less depth of focus. You can use the small depth of focus as a stylistic device. A good prime lens for your entrance in the world of portrait photography is the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM lens for the advance users I would prefer the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2 L USM.  As I was at the time to start with portrait photography I had a friend he told me that the best focal length is 85 mm for portrait. Well the 85 mm f/1.2 USM is a little bastard for portraits but I wouldn’t suggest this lens for beginners.

Tip 2 – Create with Light

You have to appreciate the light situation right and ( ‘or’) influence on the situation. It is essential to work with the light right because it will influence to the result. In the portrait photography many photographers take indirect lighting for illumination uniformity. Indirect light will make a smooth and indirect light will make smooth shadows that will be fine for your motive. But even hard light (direct) can be a great stylistic device! It depends on the situation and you just have to try it. Work with light like it is your camera or model.  If the ambient light is not enough and you have to use the Speedlite try to use the Speedlite indirect. You can angle the camera flash to a white wall or use a diffuser. You will be surprised about the effect of indirect flashes. Well this isn’t working with the build-in flash you have to get an external flash for example Canon Speedlite600 EX-RT.

Tip 3 – Sharpness

If you are taking portrait photos you should focus on the eyes than the eyes are next to the lips the most important part. The work with low depth of focus respectively a wide open diaphragm is desirable in the portrait photography. Don’t hyperbolism it!  Why? Well, an example: if you open the diaphragm as wide as possible you run risk of that the eyes are focused but the ears and the nose are out of focus. Maybe this is your stylistic device? Just try it and compare the pictures on a screen (Computer, TV, Laptop) not in the Live View mode on your camera.

Image retouch with Photoshop Elements 13

The new Photoshop Elements 13 delivers a better retouch: Also larger image noises vanish without a great effort, the automatic retouch works perfect.

Step 1 – Selection

First of all you have to select one or more areas in your image which should disappear. Click in Photoshop on the lasso (f.e. set up 4 pixel soft edges). Draw the lasso about the areas you want to change/disappear. Take care that your selection is around the whole part you want to vanish.

Is the selection to tight you just can draw it back while you hold the >>Alt<< key. You also can tight up the selection with the new >>selection-improvement-brush<< this tool isn’t that smooth like the lasso. Choose >>edit, fill selection<< with the option >>quick content<< – the selected area will be disappear almost without a trace.

Tip: In Photoshop CC you select >>edit, fill selection<< with the option >>content based<>color adjustment<< a n innovation (June 2014).

Step 2 – Refine

Still see disturbing colored stains or traces? First of all you have to remove the existing selection with CMD + D (Windows: Strg + D). After that you have to switch to the >>area repair brush<< with smooth edges and the set up >>content based<

Tip: You can withdraw the action and try it again – sometimes the result will be better. You can slide the selection or deform or you can just change the grading.

Step 3 – Tight conditions

If you have to areas which are tight together on the image you just can try to take a tighter selection. This is sometimes really annoying because you may have to repeat the selection with the lasso tool until you have the right selected area.

Step 4 – New level

If you have still selected booth areas with your lasso you can deselect one of your areas. Press CMD + J (Windows: Strg + J) to put you selection on a new level. Now you can select you area more tight.

Step 5 – Result

Use again >>edit, fill selection<< with >>quick content<

Tip: to remove small noises in the image you just can take the tool >>area repair brush<< or the >>repair brush<< with the option >>content based<

SIRUI ET-1204 Travel Tripod Kit – Rave Reviews from DPReview!

Sirui Professional Tripods

It’s always great to see product reviews that give in-depth reports on the features, benefits and field use of tripods. And it’s extremely rewarding to have the review find your product to be of very high quality at a “very reasonable price.” Plus, to be favorably compared with a tripod that is more than twice the price, is an added bonus!

We are pleased to present the latest review from DPReview.com, on the SIRUI ET-1204 Carbon Fiber Tripod Kit. We have included a few excerpts from the review and suggest you see the full review at:


The SIRUI ET-1204 Travel Tripod

“The new Sirui ET-series of tripods is a budget-conscious line of travel tripods from a company already known for offering the best bang for the buck in support equipment (see our review of their K-40x ball head). What sets these ET tripods apart from other Sirui offerings…

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Lightroom: Use default settings 5 Tips 2/2

Step 3 – Set up own default settings

You are always changing images with the same default settings? Than you could save these options as own default settings.

First of all you have to adjust the control of the desired value. Go to the defaults and click on the plus sign right up in the control panel. The following dialog looks complex but as a general rule you just give a name and click on create. This setting you will find in the section “user settings” as a new one-click-setting.

Tip: You want to optimize an existing? Just change the control after you adjust the control you click with the right on the default setting and then on >>update with topical settings<<.

Step 4 – Exporting

Save a default setting as file. You can use this file on other iMacs, Computer etc. or you can share the file with friends. You click on some default setting with the right and select >>export<<. This step will create a new file with the file extension >>.lrtemplate<<

Tip: With the option >>import<< you also can add free default settings from the internet in your Lightroom.

Step 5 – Default settings for keynotes and co

Drafts you also can find in the program areas >>slide show<<, >>print<< and >>web<<. There you can set up default settings like how big and how many images should be show up – additional border, shadow, cutline and more.

The same tips hold good for this area like in the developing tool (Step 1 to 4): Hold the cursor on a default setting in the bar on the left and you see the preview in the control panel. You can click on the default and change the draft – and save it as a new, own draft.